Free Meals in FE

If you are aged under 19 on the 31st August 2022 or aged 19+ and meet the age eligibility of the Mainstream Discretionary Bursary you may be eligible to receive a free meal at College.


To be eligible for free meals under the Government scheme you must be enrolled on a full time course, funded by the ESFA and you or your parents must be in receipt of one or more of the following benefits:

  • Income support
  • Income based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income related Employment and Support allowance( ESA)
  • Support under part IV of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Child tax credit (provided your parents are not claiming Working tax Credit) and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190 as assessed by HMR&C
  • Working tax Credit run-on paid for 4 weeks after a person stops qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit with Net earnings not exceeding £7400 per annum.

Students eligible under the Universal Credit Transitional protection arrangements.  Students who were already receiving free meals at 1 April 2018.  Any student who becomes eligible for free meals after the threshold has been introduced will also continue to receive free meals during the Universal Credit rollout.


Evidence of family income being within the threshold of £16,190 per annum. This may be evidenced by presentation of a Tax Credit Award Notice or documentation from HMRC showing actual income for tax year 2021-22.

Parent or nominated guardian’s evidence of Child Benefit & DWP Letter confirming receipt of a means tested benefit.

Parent or nominated guardian’s evidence of the learner being in receipt of free meals since April 2018.  This may be a letter from the local authority or previous school/education provider.

All applicants will be required to provide recent evidence showing that they are in receipt of a qualifying benefit. Learners aged over 20 with and EHCP will need to provide evidence of a benefit in their own name.

Applications for Free meals in F.E.

A student is only eligible to receive a free meal under the Government scheme when they, or their parent/ guardian have made a successful application to the College by returning a completed Mainstream Bursary Application form.

Exceptional age group for Free Meals in F.E.

Students aged over 19 and continuing the same level 3 course they began aged 18.

Students aged between 19 and 24 on 31st August 2022 who have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan) are entitled to a free meal if they meet the financial eligibility criteria.

Getting your meal at College

Students will be allocated a minimum of £4.00 for each day they are timetabled to be in college. There is no cash alternative. Credits will be loaded onto the Student ID card. Students must have their College ID card to get their meal. Students cannot get a meal with temporary ID cards.

Credits not spent at the end of each day will be withdrawn.

Students are advised to purchase nutritious meals. The credits cannot be spent on items such as: cookies, cakes, fizzy drinks or confectionary.