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16-18 Bursary fund

16-18 Bursary Criteria 2023/24

If you are 16-18 years old, you may be eligible for a 16-18 Bursary Fund to help finance your Petroc college course. The 16-18 Bursary Fund is available to financially assist learners who are from households on a low income with costs incurred by attending college.

The intention of the Bursary is to assist as many learners as possible from a finite fund and is operated on a first-come, first-served basis. The Bursary can be used for payments and ‘in kind’ support, including help towards transport costs and equipment related to courses of study. It can also be used to assist learners who may be classed as vulnerable with the support of a Mentor and the costs of attending college.

If you wish the fund to assist with equipment or books please ensure the Advice & Guidance Centre has received confirmation from your lecturer of what is required for your course.

To be eligible to receive a bursary the learner must be aged 16 to under 19 on 31 August 2023 or a learner aged 19 to 25 and has an Education (EHCP) assessed by the local authority, satisfy residency criteria and be enrolled on an ESFA, European Social Fund (ESF) or publicly funded programme.

The Bursary and criteria are split into two levels.


The First Level (known as the Standard Bursary):

The Standard Bursary is for learners being supported by parents/guardians whose household meets one of the criteria below:

  • In receipt of one of the following benefits: Income Support, Income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support. Allowance, the guarantee credit element of Pension Credit, Child Tax Credit (providing you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190), Universal Credit with income below £7400, Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
  • A gross household income of below £35,000 (evidenced by a Tax Credit/Universal Credit Award notice).

The Second Level (known as the Enhanced Bursary):

Parent or guardian income is not counted for the Enhanced Bursary. The Enhanced Bursary is only for learners who are:

  • Young people in care, including unaccompanied asylum-seeking young people.
  • Care leavers.
  • Young people in receipt of income support or Universal Credit because they are financially supporting themselves and anyone who is dependent on them or living with them, such as a child or partner.
  • Disabled young people in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit who are also in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DSA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP)(must have both).


Below is more information about the different bursaries available to students aged 16-18 as well as how to apply for a bursary.

Help available for a Standard Bursary

For eligible learners, a meal up to the value of £3.50 can be obtained from the college food outlets for each day they attend college. Learners will use their student ID card to access this.

Free college meals are only available for students being supported by a parent/guardian in receipt of one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190, as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC))
  • Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for 4 weeks after someone stops qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit with net earnings not exceeding the equivalent of £7,400 pa (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

A free breakfast will be made available to all learners eligible for the 16-18 Bursary.  This will be accessed with the learner's college ID.

Learners who live more than three miles from the college are able to apply to the fund for assistance with funding a bus pass. Learners must apply via ‘myPetroc’ for a travel pass in the first instance and then we are able to match this with your Bursary application. Find out more about travel to college.

Where learners are required to have equipment/clothing/books related to their course, i.e. chef’s whites, steel toe cap boots, the fund will contribute 80% towards the full cost of the kit (in some cases the full cost may be capped).

The fund will contribute 80% towards the costs.

50% of the cost of trips organised as part of the student’s programme can be covered. The learner is required to provide evidence of the trip to the Advice and Guidance Centre once they have paid their deposit.

If a student has a particular hardship, they can make an application to the fund via the Student Support Team who will assess whether any hardship payments are appropriate. They can be contacted on 01271 852468, 01884 235350 or at studentsupport@petroc.ac.uk.

Help available for an Enhanced Bursary

Where learners are required to have equipment/clothing or pay for trips and fees related to their course, this will be identified during a meeting with the Enhanced Bursary Mentor in the first half term. Funds will then be either paid directly to the faculty or to the learner who must make the payment.

Learners who live more than 3 miles from the college are able to apply to the fund for assistance with funding a bus pass. Learners must apply via ‘myPetroc’ for a travel pass in the first instance and then we are able to match this with your Bursary application. Find out more about travelling to college.

A college mentor will be available to help Enhanced Bursary students access the help they need. This amount will be allocated pro-rata for learners who start late in the year or finish early.

Where the Enhanced Learner is required to have equipment related to their course, e.g. chef’s whites, steel toe cap boots, they may request funds to cover these expenses by supplying detailed breakdowns. 

Application process

You can apply for a Standard and Enhanced Bursary by logging onto your myPetroc student account, using your student login details. Only the learner can do this application - parents and guardians cannot do this through the parent portal.

Once you have logged in, you will need to scroll down to the blue 'Services' heading where you will be able to click on ‘Bursary/LSF Application’.

It will then ask you a series of questions. You will need to check whether you (or your parents/guardians if you are 18 and under, or under 24 with an EHCP living with your parents/guardians) receive any benefits or are on a low income. 

If you are 19 and over in the September you start your course, you will be given the opportunity to select what you would like assistance with. Please ensure at least one of these boxes is selected, there is no limit to how many boxes you can check. 

Once you have submitted your application, you will have an alert to upload bursary evidence. 

Evidence required:

(Please check the evidence criteria for the appropriate Bursary)

Means Tested Benefits

If you receive any of the benefits listed below, you will need to supply an official letter from the awarding organisation (e.g. Council, Benefits Agency, The Pension Service). This needs to be dated within the last three months.

  • Income Support
  • Income based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Employment Support Allowance (ESA - Income related)
  • Pension Credits
  • Housing/Council Tax Benefit

Universal Credits

If you receive Universal Credits, you need to log on to your online Universal Credit account and take a screenshot of the page that has your name on it. Please click on your most recent payment date. Then scroll down to the section ‘What we take off (deductions)’.  Please also copy this section and send the two pieces of evidence to us.

Tax Credits

If you are receiving Tax Credits, please submit your most recent Tax Award Notice. We will need to see the whole of the front page that shows your name and address and the page that shows your income for the financial year. (This is normally on page 2 or 3). Please send screenshots or pictures of these two pieces of evidence.  


If you are Employed, we will need to see one of the following:

  • Three of your most recent payslips.
  • Your P60.
  • Tax Credit Award Notice (see above for evidence required).


If you are self-employed, please send evidence of your most recent tax return.

Enhanced Bursary evidence

If you qualify for the enhanced bursary (please see criteria for details), you will be contacted by Petroc who will assist you with the evidence required and funding allocations. 

Please note: Completion of the application form does not guarantee funds. Learners must produce relevant income/benefit evidence. Learners attendance must also be in line with the criteria as laid out by the Learner Rights & Responsibilities Policy and they must be making satisfactory progress. Funds are a finite amount and therefore on a first-come, first-served basis.

Once you have completed the online application, you must upload evidence via your MyPetroc account, email the evidence of your entitlement eg. benefit/low income/care status etc to bursaryevidence@petroc.ac.uk or take it to either the Advice & Guidance Centre at North Devon or Mid Devon, where your application can be approved. 

Benefit and care evidence needs to be dated within three months; tax credit evidence needs to be the current tax year’s award, clearly showing the income for the previous tax year. Without this evidence, your application will not be processed.

When your income evidence is shown to the Advice & Guidance Centre, a member of the team will assess your financial eligibility. In most cases, this can be done within 14 days and will be confirmed by email, a message on your MyPetroc or verbally depending on how you presented your evidence.

With the exception of help with transport and free college meals, payments will normally only be made if 100% attendance is maintained and suitable progress has been made on the course. This is based on the cost of the equipment that the tutors have supplied to us (receipts do not need to be supplied).

Because attendance needs to be checked, payments are not usually released until after the October half term. Please note that the Bursary is intended to reimburse the learner a percentage of the costs - it is the learner’s responsibility to ensure they purchase what they need for their course and we will reimburse once we have checked attendance.

Learners payments are conditional on complying with the attendance criteria as laid out in the Attendance and Punctuality Policy. Learners’ attendance will be checked 3 weeks after their start date and payment will be processed if attendance is at 100%. Payment can then be made once bank details have been submitted.  Payments cannot be paid if the learner does not supply their bank details. Learners can supply their bank details by their MyPetroc account once payments have been allocated. It may then take up to 10 working days to arrive in the designated bank account.

If a learner falls below 100% attendance in the first 3 weeks, they will then need to demonstrate improvement which will be considered on an individual basis.

Need further assistance?

Please get in touch with the Advice & Guidance Centre:

North Devon
01271 852422
Mid Devon
01884 235345
16 18 Bursary Information