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Discretionary financial support

The Discretionary Learner Support Fund

The Discretionary Bursary (DB) and discretionary Learner Support Fund (dLSF) are funds allocated to the College by the government to enable us to help students in financial difficulty with the costs associated with studying at College.

Who can apply?

  • Any student whose household income is below £28,000 can apply. Income will be assessed from the evidence you supply, this could include P60, Tax Credits Award Notice and Benefit Award Notices. 
  • If students are aged 16–18 and living with parents this will be based on the household income.  If the student is aged 16–18 and living independently or is aged 19 and over, calculations will be based on the income that the student (or where applicable the student and their partner) received. 
  • Awards under the DB and dLSF are subject to attendance and behaviour criteria. Awards will not be made where a student’s attendance is below 90%.
  • The DB and the dLSF are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis

Eligibility does not guarantee that an award will be made. 

Who cannot apply?

Students will not be eligible for assistance if they are:

  • Under 16 years old on 31 August 2020
  • Mandated to undertake a course of study by Job Centre Plus 
  • A learner who is in prison or young offenders institute on day release 
  • An asylum seeker aged 19 or over 
  • On a higher education course 
  • A learner who is on a waged Work Based Learning program or waged apprenticeship
  • Over 19 and undertaking a level 3 or above course*

What can the DB and dLSF help with?


To be eligible for help with transport the student must:

  • Have an income below £28,000 
  • Live more than 1.5 miles walking distance from the campus they attend 
  • Be studying at the College nearest to their home that offers their chosen course 
  • Be using public transport

Travel awards under the DB and dLSF are subject to attendance and behaviour criteria and awards will not continue to be made where a student’s attendance is below 90%.


The DB and dLSF can help with essential kit, equipment, uniform, UK trips, books and food (food assistance is only available for 16-18 year olds with a household income below £16,190). Where possible the College will purchase these materials on the student’s behalf to secure the best possible price.

Please note we are unable to offer refunds.

Non consumable materials paid for by the DB and dLSF schemes remain the property of the College and students may be requested to return them at the end of their course.


The dLSF may be able to assist with the cost of childcare if students are aged 20 or over at the start of their course. Students will be required to make arrangements with their own local OFSTED registered childcare provider. The College’s childcare contribution will not exceed £60 per full day (£35 per half day) and £20 per afterschool club per child and is only payable for the days/hours that the student is in College or on placement. Payment for childcare will be made direct to the childcare provider by BACS and will not be released unless signed College agreements are in place with both the learner and the childcare provider. The primary contract remains in place between the student and the childcare provider, the student remains liable under that contract should the College not agree to release funds for sessions where the student did not fulfil the criteria.

If students are under 20 when the course starts they should apply to Care to Learn for childcare assistance.


The DB and dLSF are attendance based awards; attendance will be monitored regularly. Failure to achieve 90% attendance may result in funding not being available or being withdrawn.

All equipment/uniform/kit/books purchased from the DB and dLSF remain the property of MidKent College. When the student’s course finishes or if they withdraw from their course they may be required to return all items.


If you believe your application has been incorrectly assessed, you have the right to appeal. Your appeal must be in writing and should include details of the additional information you would like us to consider. Please address appeals to: Student Finance Hub, MidKent College, Medway Campus, Medway Road, Gillingham, Kent ME7 1FN.

*Students who are taking advantage of the 19+ Advanced Learner Loan should apply for help through the 19+ Advanced Learner Loan Bursary.