Financial Support | South Bank Colleges
Language icon

  • Course fees

    pdf Guide to course fees (145 KB)

    Certain groups of learners are eligible for full funding from the ESFA (Education and Skills Funding Agency – the government body that provide statutory funding to the college) for their course fees. This means they are not required to pay towards their fees.

    If a learner is not eligible for ESFA funding, they will be required to pay fees to cover registration, tuition, examinations, and equipment costs

     Age  Full Funding  Note
    16-18 No fees payable

    See additional costs below.

    Your age is calculated based on the 31st of August of the current year

    19+ age calculation is your age on the first day of your course
    19 to 23 year old learners Studying an Entry Level or Level 1 learning aim to progress to a first full Level 2 qualification. Excluding English, maths and ESOL)
    19 to 23 year old learners Studying their first full Level 2 or first full Level 3 qualification see link below
    19 to 23 year old learners Studying their first full Level 4  Without having a Level 3
    19 to 23 year old learners In the workplace studying a Level 2 qualification with max prior accreditation of Level 1, intention to progress to full level 2  
     19+  Studying GCSE English or maths, where they do not have these qualifications at grades A* to C  
    24+ Studying up to a level 2 qualification in order to move into work, in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA) in the Work Related Activity Group or universal credits and mandated to undertake skills training. Those learners aged 24+ who are unemployed and in receipt of a different state benefit will need to self-declare a need for training to enter employment.  

    Funding regulations from .Gov

    Additional Costs for 16-18 year old learners

    Students may incur additional charges for some elements of their study programme at the discretion of South Bank Colleges. Examples of instances where these charges might apply are below.

    1. Where clothing or equipment is necessary for the stundet’s health or safety. A charge may be made for clothing and equipment that the learner retains, but only if the learner also has the option of borrowing the clothing or equipment free of charge.
    2. For the sale of learning materials in bookshops, or similar facilities in the college, that enables learners to secure discounts on books, stationery or similar materials.
    3. Fines for the late return of library books or other disciplinary fines (provided such penalties have been made known in advance).
    4. Deposits on lockers, ID cards, keys, library cards or smartcards and equipment that are fully refundable except in cases of damage or theft.
    5. Photocopying and printing, including computer printouts, are not fees.
    6. The recreational use of leisure and other non-academic facilities where the activity taking place is not a requirement of a course syllabus or not part of a student union membership free entitlement.
    7. Travel, board and lodging and other additional costs. This includes any tuition costs, associated with field trips and similar activities that may form part of, or be outside the requirement of the course syllabus or agreed study programme.
    8. Optional extra activities where the activity is taking place outside a required part of an agreed study programme. In this case charging is at the discretion of the institution that would otherwise meet the cost of provision. Examples of optional extra activities include theatre, cinema or museum visits or other day or residential visits that are not a requirement of course syllabuses.
    9. The provision of replacement certificates.
    10. Provision of a statement of results for former learners.

    Additional Costs for learners aged 19 or over

    Exam fees may be charged where the student is:

    • resitting an exam which has previously been taken and failed,
    • where attendance and/or coursework fails to meet the levels set by the College as determined by the Curriculum Director
    • the exam is being retaken with the intention of improving their grade or
    • re-marking of a public examination at the learner’s request.

    The decision to charge these fees will be made by a member of the College Leadership Group, while taking into account any mitigating circumstances.

  • Paying your Fees

    As a general rule, all tuition fees due must be paid to South Bank Colleges in full prior to the commencement of the course to which the fees relate.

    There are certain circumstances where the learner will be able to enrol for their course without a payment being made, as follows:

    • The student is on a course that is fully funded
    • The student is being sponsored by their employer and presents at enrolment a purchase order or a signed letter on headed paper from their employer agreeing to pay the learner’s fees;
    • The student is eligible for and has applied for an Advanced Learning Loan
    • The student has to pay a minimum of 50% of the total fees due and set up a recurring card payment (RCP ) plan of 3 installments for the remaining balance.

  • Advanced Learner Loans

    Aged 19 or over and thinking about further education?

    You may qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan. These loans help you to pay the fees charged by colleges and training organisations. Most students aged 19 and over, studying at Level 3, 4, 5 or 6, will qualify for these loans from the UK Government. It’s easy to apply, your household income isn’t taken into account and there’s no credit check. You won’t have to pay anything back until your income is over £25,725 a year.

    Do I qualify?

    To qualify you must be:

    • aged 19 or over on the first day of your course (there’s no upper age limit)
    • living in the UK on the first day of your course and have lived in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for three years immediately before this unless you meet one of the exceptions detailed in the ‘Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Students’
    • studying with a college or training organisation in England approved for public funding
    • enrolling on an eligible course at Level 3, 4, 5 or 6, this includes A levels, Access to HE Diplomas and other Diplomas and Certificates.

    These loans do not cover Degrees or other forms of Higher Education (HE).

    For information on funding for HE go to

    Applying is easy

    Apply online or download an application form at

    Making the right choice

    It’s important you consider your own circumstances and look into all options for paying for your course before choosing to take out a loan. If you want advice on managing your finances you can get impartial money advice from the Money Advice Service at

    How much can I get?

    The amount you can get depends on your course, the fees charged by your college or training organisation and maximum amounts set by the Government.

    The minimum loan amount is £300.

    You can take out a loan for the maximum amount to cover your fee or you can pay all or part of the fee yourself.

  • Fees paid by your employer

    If your fees are being paid for by your employer or other organisation you will need to provide a letter from the organisation stating that they are agreeing to pay your course fees. The finance department will then invoice them directly. If you are self-employed you will need to provide evidence from HMRC to verify your status.

  • Help with Childcare Costs

    South Bank Colleges offers a Childcare Bursary to home learners (not international students) who are:

    • Aged 19 or over
    • Unemployed and in receipt of benefits, or employed but on a household income of £27,000 or less per year
    • Resident in the UK for 3 years

    Priority will be given to:

    • students enrolled on a course for 2023/24
    • students aged 24+ (L3/4) who have taken out a loan
    • students in the second year of a 2 year programme, who were in receipt of Childcare Bursary in the previous year
    • students with a disability or learning difficulty
    • lone parents

    Breakfast and After-school club funding is available for children at primary school aged 4-11, although older children with a disability or learning difficulty will be eligible.



  • Bursary Scheme

    Don’t be deterred from applying to South Bank Colleges due to money worries. Full-time students on a low income or from a low income household may be eligible for a bursary. There are two types of bursary awards at South Bank Colleges: vulnerable bursary and a discretionary bursary. The amount you are awarded varies depending on your age, length of course and personal circumstance. However, awards are usually in excess of £500 per academic year.

    If you are in care, a care leaver or in receipt of one of the following in your own right: Income Support, Universal Credit, Employment Support Allowance (with Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments) you could be eligible for a payment up to the value of £1,200* over the academic year from the vulnerable bursary.

    *For students participating on a study programme that lasts for 30 weeks or more, if they need that amount of support. Students on study programmes of less than 30 weeks will be paid a pro-rata amount. Students will receive the amount they actually need to participate and will not receive the full amount if not required.

       Fund  Age
    Advanced Learner Loan Discretionary bursary 19 or above at 31 August before the academic year in question and studying Level 3 or Level 4; bursary is only payable after the loan is approved
    Adult Discretionary bursary 19 or above at 31 August before the academic year in question
    Young Person Discretionary bursary Under 19 at 31 August before the academic year in question
    Vulnerable Young Person Vulnerable bursary Under 19 at 31 August before the academic year in question

    Bursary funds are extremely limited and as such an award is not guaranteed, even where a learner meets the criteria. Learners are advised to complete an application form in the first few weeks of starting their course. To make this process as fair as possible bursary forms will not be available until the first teaching week of the academic year. The first bursary payment is awarded after the October half term.

    Low-income Lambeth Resident Bursary

    Student bursaries for low-income Lambeth residents are available from the Walcot Foundation. Click here for eligibility criteria and further information.

  • Free Meals for 16-18 Year Olds

    If you are 16-18 you may be eligible for free meals.

    To receive free meals you must be in receipt of the college bursary and provide evidence of yourself or your parents/guardian receiving:

    • Income support
    • Income based JSA
    • Income based ESA
    • Child Tax credits
    • In Care/ a Care Leaver

    Please complete the college bursary form and hand in to your LDC to find out more.

  • 16-19 Tuition Fund

    We are providing additional support, in the form of small group tuition, for 16 to 19-year-old students in English, maths, and other courses where learning has been impacted.

    This has been made possible through the  pdf 16-19 Tuition Fund (135 KB)  and this is being used to mitigate the disruption of learning arising from coronavirus (COVID-19). The groups will be no more than 5 students.

  • Course Withdrawal Refunds and/or Fee Adjustment

    • Application must be made for either refund of course fees paid, or adjustment to course fee due.
    • Application forms are available from any of the College Student Centres.
    • Applications must be received by the College within 4 weeks of last date of attendance.
    • We aim to process refunds within 20 working days of receipt of application, with the exception of reason 6.

    Refunds/adjustments will not normally be made when:

    • Student withdraws from course for personal reasons, such as moving house, the death of a family member, pregnancy or change of employment including loss of employment (but in certain situations credit notes may be issued at the absolute discretion of South Bank Colleges to enable the learner to complete their course of study without further charges)
    • Studnet withdraws from course for medical reasons not directly affecting course attendance (but in certain situations credit notes may be issued at the absolute discretion of South Bank Colleges to enable the learner to complete their course of study without further charges)
     When  Refund/Adjustment  Application Required
    Course or class fails to start All fees NO
    In this situation we do not expect an application to be made. We will ensure full fees are refunded back to debit/ credit card or a cheque is posted
    College closure
    Significant course amendment such as duration of course or change of day/time
    All fees for college closure
    Pro-rata refund for reduced duration of course
    In this situation we do not expect an application to be made. We will ensure full fees are refunded back to debit/credit card or a cheque is posted
    Student withdraws 14 days or more before the start of the course All Fees – but subject to an administration charge being deducted from the refund YES
    Student withdraws for medical reasons Pro-rata tuition fees YES
    Along with a medical certificate from a relevant qualified doctor in
    Student transfers to new course within 4 weeks of start of original course Any fee difference in full NO
    Fees refunded back to debit/credit card or Cheque posted (after tutor advises of transfer)
    Student makes a written complaint regarding the course and/or quality of teaching which is upheld by the Curriculum Director A proportion of the fees as recommended by the Curriculum Director YES
    Together with details of complaint in writing
    Student is excluded after passing through stage 3 of the career ready standards None No refund will be made and therefore no application is required

    Additional information

    • If an application for refund/adjustment is unsuccessful an explanatory letter will be sent
    • Any appeal against refusal should be made in writing to the College within 2 weeks of receipt of letter

  • Student Travel Card Discount

    To get an 18+ Student Oyster 30% discount, you must be: A student aged 18 or over. A registered, full time student for a minimum of 14 weeks course duration. Living at a London address during term-time. To apply please head over to the TFL website once enrolled. 

    You need to provide:

    • Active email address
    • Student enrolment ID number
    • London borough address
    • Digital photo which must be a .jpg, .bmp or .gif file and less than 6MB


    You pay an administration fee of £20 using a credit or debit card.

    TFL will then post your 18+ Student Oyster photocard to you once your school, college or university has approved your application.