Free College Meals

Free College Meals

Who is eligible for a free meal at college

Free meals at college are slightly different to free meals at school as there is an eligibility criteria linked to household income.   This can mean learners may not be eligible for a free meal at college even if they received a free meal at school. There are two type of free meal schemes:

Government free college meals

To be eligible for free meals learners must:

  • Be Aged between 16 and 18 years on 31 August 2022 or

  • Be Aged over 19 who are continuing the same study programme (19+ continuers) you started before you turned 19 or

  • Have a valid Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) – no income evidence is required for leaners with an EHCP, however a copy must be provided to prove eligibility.

In addition to the above, learners or their parents must be 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 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 per annum

College Discretionary free meals

To be eligible for college free meals you must:

  • Be aged between 16 and 18 years on 31 August 2022 or

  • Be aged over 19 who are continuing the same study programme (19+ continuers) you started before you turned 19 or

  • Have a total household income of below £35,000 per annum – this will be determined by a full income assessment carried out by the student finance team at Dudley college of Technology

How do learners access their free meal

The free meals system here at college is a cashless electronic system embedded into learner ID badges.   Eligible learners receive a credit of £5.00 for each of their timetabled days, the credit can be redeemed at any of Dudley College food outlets easily by presenting an eligible ID badge at the till.  The free meals credit is refreshed each timetabled day, any credit left on the card at the end of the college day is removed, so each new day starts with the full £5.00 entitlement - this system will not allow learners to build up credit over a period of days.

How do Learners apply for free meals

Learners wishing to apply for free college meals should complete a 16/18 bursary application form and submit the form along with support income evidence to the student finance team so an assessment can be made.   Application submitted without necessary evidence cannot be processed.

All bursary and hardship fund forms are available to college learners via the student MyDudleyCollege dashboard, alternatively a direct link can be emailed to learners. Links requests should be emailed to the student finance team at studentfinanceteam@dudleycol.ac.uk.