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Help and Support

West Thames College can help pay for course-related expenses such as the cost of:

  • Equipment
  • Special kits
  • Books
  • Art supplies and photographic materials
  • Travel and course trips
  • Exam fees
  • Childcare

How much support you may get depends on your circumstances. Students aged 16-18, aged 19 continuing students, and students aged 19-23 with a final EHCP in place may qualify for regular payments from the bursary fund. Adults on funded courses or in receipt of an advanced learner loan may qualify for travel and childcare costs, hardship funding and residential support.

  • Bursaries and other financial assistance

    The Financial Support and Free Meals guide shows how you can access support, eligibility information is shown below:

    For students who are aged 16 to 18 on 31 August 2023; aged 19 and on the 2nd year of their course, you may be eligible for the Vulnerable Bursary or Discretionary Bursary

    For students in further education aged 19+ on 31 August 2023 and studying a funded course at entry level, Level 1, 2 or 3, you may be eligible for the Discretionary Learner Support (DLS)

    For those aged 19+ on the first day of your course studying a Level 3, 4, 5 or 6 qualification, you can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to help with the costs of a course. Your eligibility for this loan does not depend on your income and there are no credit checks. You will have to pay your loan back when you have finished your course and are earning over £27,295 a year. To help with travel, childcare or other course-related cost, additional support is available via the Loan Bursary.

    Welfare Fund: For students who are not eligible for the DLS or a bursary and who are in severe financial difficulty.

    Ready to apply? Visit  

  • Help with travel costs

    16+ Oystercard: Free travel on all London buses and trams and half price on tube and overground. Eligible if you are aged 16, 17 or 18 on 31st August 2023.

    18+ Student Oystercard: Eligible if you are aged 19+ on 31st August 2023 and you are studying a full-time course. 30% discount on all adult travel cards, bus and tram pass season tickets

    Apprentice Oystercard: Offers apprentices aged 18+ a 30% discount on all adult-rate travel cards, bus and tram pass season tickets.

    For more information, visit:

    Bus and Tram Discount Photocard: Get a 50% discount on all London buses and trams. Excludes train travel. You can get this card if you have been in receipt of income support, job seekers allowance or employment and support allowance (ESA) or Universal Credits for at least 13 weeks. Get a paper application form from the Post Office or Jobcentre Plus offices

    Disabled persons Freedom Pass: Gives people with disabilities (including epilepsy) free travel on London buses, trams, tube and overground.You can apply via your local council.

    16-17 railcard: Gives you 50% discount on season tickets, peak, off-peak and advanced fares. (Available from September)

  • Free meals at college

    Students aged 16-18 as of 31st August 2023, Students aged 19 continuing the same course and students aged 19-23 with an EHCP may be eligible for free meals at college if they or their parents/guardians are in receipt of:

    • 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))

    • Universal Credit with net earnings not exceeding the equivalent of £7,400 pa

    Ready to apply? Visit:

  • Other sources of financial support

    Care to Learn (C2L): Helps young parents (aged up to and including 19) with the cost of Ofsted registered childcare and related transport costs. For details contact the Learner Support Helpline on 0800 121 8989 or go to

    You can also speak to the college nursery on 020 8326 2318. Additional Learning Support: Additional help is available for adult students aged 19+, contact inclusion department for more information, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

  • Part-time work

    Job vacancies are displayed in the Student Services area. A careers adviser will help you search for vacancies, give advice on CVs, job applications, writing letters and making phone calls.

    Please note your benefits may be reduced as the result of your income


If you're ready to apply for financial support or free meals, you can do so on the following link:

For more information call the student welfare and support adviser on 020 8326 2412 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

You can also contact the Information Centre to arrange a confidential appointment. You can also talk to the student welfare adviser when you enrol or come for an interview.

Advanced Learner Loan Eligible

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