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Finance and Welfare

There are a range of funds you can apply for to help you with course related costs. Funding applications are assessed using guidance issued by the Government and most are based on personal circumstance such as income thresholds. The Student Finance Team can assist you with financial matters and help you to apply for any appropriate grants or awards that are available.

Payment of fees must be arranged prior to course commencement.  Please contact any Campus Reception to arrange payment of your course fees or to confirm evidence of your proof of funding application or proof of your funding entitlement has been uploaded to the online admissions portal.  Proof of funding entitlement should also be forwarded to studentfinance@nrc.ac.uk.

For further details and assistance, please contact:

Student Finance Team for Ballymena, Coleraine and Ballymoney
028 2563 6230

Student Finance Team for Newtownabbey, Larne and Magherafelt
028 9085 5076

Alternatively email studentfinance@nrc.ac.uk


The Gallaher Trust Tuition Fee Scholarship

The Gallaher Trust aims to improve educational and employment opportunities for young adults (18+ years) living within the wider Ballymena area (BT42/BT43 and some areas within BT44).  The Gallaher Trust will pay course fees of up to a maximum of two years for those who applied for a full-time Foundation Degree in Engineering, Cloud Computing, Computing and HND Creative Media (Web Design, Digital Marketing & Content Creation).  Details including selection criteria and conditions are outlined within the application form.  Completed application forms must be submitted to scholarships@nrc.ac.uk by 23 August. 

All Ireland Scholarship

The All Ireland Scholarship Scheme which is funded by JP McManus provides financial support to high achieving students from low income households. The scholarship offers students financial support of £5,500 per annum for the duration of their course.

The scholarships will be awarded to the top six performing Level 3 Extended Diploma students in Further Education Colleges.  Applicants must have been in receipt of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) at the time of examination, and due to commence an undergraduate course in university in the academic year 2024/25.  Applications are now open.  Closing date for applications is 4pm on Thursday 29 August 2024.  For further information and how to apply visit CCEA website.

Ulster University Community Scholarship

The Ulster University Community Scholarship aims to increase access to higher education for new students entering first year of an undergraduate course at Ulster University.  Your course of study must be a full-time degree at one of Ulster University campuses.  Closing date is 6 June 2024.  Visit Ulster University's website for full eligibility criteria and online application.

Education Authority - Further Education Grants

Are you aged 19 or over? Not sure how you will support yourself in College? Further Education Grants are available for full time and part time Level 1,2 and 3 courses.  Find out more at Education AuthorityNI.

Student Finance video

The following is a brief list of support available but is dependent upon your age, the level of study you are undertaking, your and/or your family’s circumstances. Other criteria may also apply. Important points to note are that some of the sources below have closing dates and therefore applying late may mean that you are unable to access financial assistance. If you are unsure what financial assistance may be available to you, please contact the Student Finance team.

Source Details

Care to Learn Scheme
Northern Regional College Student Finance Office - studentfinance@nrc.ac.uk

If you have care of a child then you may be able to get help with childcare and travel costs. This fund is administered through the College.  The child carer must be a registered childminder, preschool group, day nursery, out of hour’s school club or other registered provider. Costs are subject to a weekly maximum. Age Range: For students aged between 16 and 20 at the start of the course.

Northern Regional College Reception or Student Finance Office - Ballymena or Newtownabbey

This award is means-tested on household income and students may receive payment of £30 per week. You could get EMA if:

  • You are aged between 16-19 years old on 1st July prior to the start of your course
  • You have not already received the maximum allowance for EMA
  • Your household income is £20,500 or less, if a younger sibling is in the household the threshold is £22,500
  • You are doing at least 15 hours of guided learning at the College
  • You meet the residence and nationality rules set out for EMA
  • Other eligibility criteria apply to the scheme and this is detailed in the Application Pack which may be obtained from the College.

EMA is for students on full-time FE courses only. Age Range: For students aged between 16 and 19 on or between 2nd July and 1st July.

Further Education Part-time Assistance

Means-tested tuition fee costs and a means-tested grant for books and related costs. Closing date for applications is usually the last Friday in October so please apply online as early as you can.  Late applications will not be considered.  Age Range: Students must be 19 or over on 1st July prior to start of course.

Further Education Full-time Assistance

This is a means-tested grant for full-time students. FE grants range in value depending on household income. Closing date for applications is usually the last Friday in October so please apply online as early as you can.  Late applications will not be considered.  Age Range: Students must be 19 or over on 1st July prior to start of course.

Travel Pass
Education Authority www.eani.org.uk

Other criteria and age restrictions may apply and you should contact your local Education Authority for further information.  Applications Forms must be completed online on the Education Authority website.  Age Range: Students must be under 19 on 1st July prior to the start of course and on a full-time FE course.

Access to Learning Fund
Northern Regional College Student Finance Office - Ballymena or Newtownabbey

The College Access to Learning Funds are available to assist students dealing with financial hardship. Assistance from the Access to Learning Fund is means tested and students must have explored other sources of funding before applying. Students should also be enrolled and attending before applying. Application forms can be requested by emailing studentfinance@nrc.ac.uk. If you are currently in receipt of any benefits you should check with the benefits office before applying for financial assistance as this may affect your benefits.  Age Range: Students must be 18 or over on 1st July prior to the start of the course and meet the residency regulations.

Higher Education Assistance Full-time Grant/Loan

Students undertaking HNDs, degrees and foundation degrees etc may apply for help from Student Finance NI for assistance with a tuition fee loan, a maintenance loan and a maintenance grant. Student Finance NI will carry out the financial assessment and decide how much funding is available to you.  Age Range: Students aged 18+

Higher Education Part-time Grant/Loan

Part-time Higher Education students, who are studying at least 25% of an equivalent full-time course, can apply for financial help.  The course must be a designated course. This is a means-tested grant for tuition fees and books and materials. Loans are not based on income and are repayable. For more information, check Student Finance NI.  Age Range: Students aged 18+

Childcare Assistance for Higher Education Students

Full-time students with children may qualify for extra financial help on top of the standard student finance package. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to get:

  • the Childcare Grant (to help with childcare costs)
  • the Parents’ Learning Allowance (to help towards course costs)
  • help through the Access to Learning Fund (if you’re in financial difficulty)
  • Child Tax Credit/Universal Credit

Age Range: Students aged 16+ and studying Higher Education courses

Dinner Tickets (Free School Meals)
Education Authority

Other criteria and age restrictions may apply and you should contact your local Education Authority for further information.  Age Range: Students must be under 18 on 31st July and on a full-time Further Education course

Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) for Higher Education Students

DSA is designed to provide the help and assistance you may require for your studies as a direct result of a disability. This can include a long-term health condition, physical disability, mental-health condition or specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia or dyspraxia.  Age Range: There are no age restrictions for DSA however students must be completing a higher education course 

Prince's Trust Development Awards
0800 842 842
Search 'Prince's Trust Northern Ireland' on Facebook

You could potentially receive a grant to help with fees, equipment and tools.  You must apply before you start your course.  Age Range: For students aged between 16 and 30 at the start of the course.

Higher Education Bursary - Widening Participation

Northern Regional College’s vision for widening participation is that any eligible individual in its catchment area should be able to gain access to, and succeed within, higher education, irrespective of their personal or social background. At Northern Regional College, we don’t want financial considerations to stop you from applying to the College. Equally, we want to ensure that you have the financial support you need while you are here.

The College Bursary Scheme provides bursaries of up to £270 per year for students with household incomes of less than £19,203. There will be no limit to the number of bursaries available – every student who meets the eligibility criteria will receive one.

Are you eligible for a College Bursary?

If you can answer 'yes' to the following questions, it is likely that you will be eligible for a Bursary.

Is this your first full-time higher education programme?
Is your household income less than £19,203 per year?
Are you in receipt of a full maintenance grant?
Have you consented to share information through the Student Finance NI application?

Care leavers should note that they will qualify for a maximum bursary as long as they receive the maximum government maintenance grant, and that their household income will not be relevant as they will have been assessed independently by Student Finance NI.

How and when do you apply?

The Student Loan Company (SLC) will automatically assess you for a College Bursary when you apply for a Maintenance Grant/Loan through Student Finance NI. We advise you to apply to Student Finance NI by the end of April prior to course start, if possible, as processing your application takes up to 6 weeks. This would allow your bursary to be fully approved for the payment date in Semester 2 providing your attendance is satisfactory and you are making academic progress.

How and when will I know if I am going to receive a Bursary?

The SLC will inform those students who are entitled to a bursary outlining the details of payments and confirming bank details. Payment will be subject to the College successfully confirming your attendance.

Important information for continuing students

Students’ entitlement to a Bursary will be reassessed at the beginning of each academic year. There are several reasons for this, the most important being that your financial circumstances may have changed, and therefore, your eligibility.

Previous Study

Previous study can affect your eligibility for funding.  For additional information you may wish to contact:

Further Education Finance Queries

Education Authority
1 Hospital Road, Omagh
028 9598 6000 – Option 2

Higher Education Finance Queries

Student Finance NI
0300 100 0077 (Helpline)
028 9598 6000 (Local Offices)
Choose Option 1 for DSA (Disabled Students Allowance)
Choose Option 3 for Part Time Higher Education queries
Choose Option 4 for Full Time Higher Education queries