Student Finance

16 – 18 Years – Fee Information16-18 Years – Financial SupportCashless PaymentsAdult Learners (19+) Fee InformationDo I have to pay a fee? – Adult LearnersSupport Available to help you pay Fees19+ Advanced Learner LoansAdult Learners (19+) – Financial SupportAdult Learners (19+) – Payment OptionsApprentices – Fee InformationCIFT (Colchester Institute Foundation Trust)GrantsUpayInstalment Plans

School Leavers (16 – 18 Year Old Learners) Fee Information

If you are/will be aged 16, 17 or 18 on the 31st August in the calendar year when you begin a programme of study, you DO NOT pay tuition fees, College registration fees or examination/board registration fees.

Costs of studying

Students aged between 16 and 18 on 31st August 2023 do not have to pay tuition fees. However, there are some courses which have additional costs which could include:

  • equipment costs – such as uniforms, kits, boots, etc.;
  • trips and enrichment activities;
  • DBS checks (formerly CRB checks);

School Leavers (16-18 Year Old Learners) Financial Support

Apply now for help with your course related costs. For students with an identified low household income, there may be financial support available. Bursary awards can help with your course related costs such as travel, childcare, books and equipment and much more.

What help can I get with Student Finance?

If you are aged over sixteen and thinking of enrolling on a full or part-time course, you can apply for funding through the student finance application form below. Funds will be targeted at students where there is an identified low household income.

You are advised to read the notes and policies at the beginning of the form and ensure that you provide all the evidence that is required when submitting your application.

******Applications for student funding for learners starting in September 2023 are now open.*****

The 2023-24 Further Education Fee Policy can be viewed here:

For queries and further information

Contact Student Services on (01206) 712078 or email

    • Colchester Campus: (01206) 712078
    • Braintree Campus: (01206) 814194

We have operated an entirely cashless environment since September 2020, and no cash payments (notes or coins) can be made for food, drink or other services.

Our cafés and refectories all accept contactless payment methods, and to assist with this, we use an optional cashless catering system called Upay. With this system, students upload credit to a Upay account, and then use their College ID card to buy food and drink, and other services such as topping up printer credit. This is supported by an app which shows balance, top up and review expenditure.

What does this mean to me? 

Use the menu below to see payment methods for a number of services.

Students – payments to Colchester Institute
PurchaseMethod of payment
Tuition FeesCard, Apple Pay, Google Pay, the online store or by recurring card payments
Restaurants & CafesCard, Apple Pay, Google Pay and Upaychilli
Car parkingPayments are made through JustPark
Library chargesUpaychilli (online store for lost books)
Locker depositsOnline store
Educational visitsOnline store
Enrolment day food and drinksCard, Apple Pay, Google Pay, packed lunch or set up a Upaychilli account on the day
ESOL booksCard, Apple Pay and Google Pay
Graduation day payments on the dayCard, Apple Pay and Google Pay
Music and creative arts eventsCard, Apple Pay and Google Pay
CSCS green labourer’s cardsCard, Apple Pay, Google Pay at registry or online store
Students – payments from Colchester Institute
PurchaseMethod of Payment
Bursaries and travel expensesBACS into bank account
Free school mealsUploaded onto Upaychilli cards
Tips from ChefsBACS into bank account
RefundsSame method as the original payment
Staff – payments to Colchester Institute
PurchaseMethod of Payment
Balkerne restaurantCard, Apple Pay, Google Pay
CHEFSUpaychilli only
Sales of surplus foodCard, Apple Pay, Google Pay
Hair & Beauty at Colchester and BraintreeCard, Apple Pay, Google Pay
Car ParkingPayments are made through JustPark
Engineering – car MOT, services & repairsCard, Apple Pay, Google Pay
Staff – payments from Colchester Institute
PurchaseMethod of Payment
Travel, subsistence and expensesExpenses must have manager approval before the purchase is made.

Claims to be made via a Travel and Subsistence form and paid via payroll.

There will be no petty cash payments made to staff or students in any circumstances.

Each site other than Colchester will be supplied with a GPC card for small purchases.

Receipts must be kept in line with GPC card guidance.

Cash advancesBACS  in all cases.
External Customers / Visitors
PurchaseMethod of Payment
Balkerne restaurantCard, Apple Pay, Google Pay
Car parkingPayments are made through JustPark
Aramark Restaurants and cafesCard, Apple Pay, Google Pay
Hair & Beauty at Colchester and BraintreeCard, Apple Pay, Google Pay
Engineering – car MOT, services & repairsCard, Apple Pay, Google Pay
Counselling FeesOnline store

Frequently asked questions

  1. How do I set up a UpayChilli account?

Instructions for setting up your UpayChilli can be found here:

Instructions for setting up your Upaychilli Account

  1. What does card only mean?

Card only means a debit or credit card.

  1. What happens if I lose my UpayChilli card?

You will be issued with a new ID card. The credit you have with UpayChilli will not be lost as it is not kept on the card itself.

Adult Learners (19+) Fee Information

Are you aged 19 or over and interested in further study?

If the answer is yes, then you will need to know about fees and the options that there are out there.

The decision to take on further study as an adult can be a big one, the benefits of further study are huge, with opportunities to have a change of career, improve your job prospects, maybe increase your earning capacity, learn new skills, build up your CV, as well as develop employability and social skills. When making decisions about what and where to study, you will need to know about any costs there might be, how to pay, and any support that may be available.

Do I have to pay a fee?
Maybe not! Fee exemptions are available, for some students, on all courses which show this symbol:
Do I have to pay a fee?
The fact is that funding is complicated and it depends on a number of things: your age; the programme that you want to study; the qualifications that you already have and in some cases your income or benefit entitlements.

At Colchester Institute we have staff in the Student Finance team who can talk to you individually about your options and signpost you to further information. In general terms the following might be helpful to get you started:

Your programme will be free if you and the course, fall into one of the categories below.

If these do not apply, you may need to pay a fee, and the fee will be shown with the course information, but for some Level 3 programmes, you can apply for a loan to cover all of your tuition fees.

Age 19 – 23Enrolling on some full level 2 courses and if you do not already have a qualification at this level. (In some cases if you need to enrol on a lower level to be able to progress to Level 2 you may also be eligible for free training)
If you have already achieved a level 2 qualification and wish to undertake another in a different subject, providing you can provide evidence of state benefits that show you are unemployed
Age 19+, employed on a low income, and enrolling on a course up to and including level 2:-If you are employed and earn less than £20,319 per annum
You will need to provide supporting evidence at enrolment:

  • Wage slip dated within the last 3 months prior to your course starting


  • An employment contract that states your monthly wage or annual salary
Age 19-23*If you are aged 19+ and enrolling on a full level 3 course and you do not already have a qualification at this level. (In some cases, if you need to enrol on a lower level to be able to progress to Level 3 you may also be eligible for free training) *If you are aged 24 and over, please see the Lifetime Skills Guarantee in the next section of this menu.
Age 24+, unemployed, and enrolling on courses up to and including Level 2 receiving one or more of these benefits:-In receipt of Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
In receipt of Universal Credit (you need to meet some criteria – please ask for more information)
In receipt of other state benefits, dependant on your earnings – please ask for more information
Age 19+Students aged 19+ enrolling on either a GCSE or Functional Skills course in English or maths do not have to pay tuition fees if you do not already have a GCSE grade A* – C in that area.

Support Available to help you pay Fees

Advanced Learner Loans are available on courses showing this symbol

If you are aged 19 or over and planning to study a course at Levels 3 to 6, then you are likely to qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan to pay your tuition fees.

Loans are from the UK government, it is easy to apply, your household income is not taken into account and there is no credit check. You don’t have to start paying it back until you’ve finished your course and you are earning over £27,295 a year.

An Advanced Learner Loan can only be used to pay for tuition fees, however some programmes also have additional charges for equipment, books, trips and so on that you may need to pay for. Some students who take out an Advanced Learner Loan may be able to get support through college bursary funds to assist with these additional costs and other costs such as childcare or Additional Learning Support, please ask a member of the Student Finance team for more information.

Additional information on Advanced Learner Loans is also available at the Government website.

Higher Education Student Loans

For HNCs, HNDs and Degrees, tuition fees are payable regardless of a student’s age or circumstances.  Again, most students, regardless of age, will qualify for a student loan.  For more information visit The Student Loans Company and University Centre Colchester

Paying by Instalments

This option is available for fees that you are paying yourself above £200. You will need to pay at least 40% of the total fee when you enrol (or £500, whichever is the lower).  A monthly payment plan will then be setup for you to pay the remainder.  All fees need to be paid in full within six months of the start of the course.  Please contact our Registry department on 01206 712555 for further details.

Colchester Institute Financial Support

For students with an identified low household income, there may be financial support available. Funds are targeted at course related costs such as travel, childcare, books and equipment.

For enquiries and Further Information

Please feel free to contact one of the Student Finance Team who will be happy to help you, please contact Student Services in either Colchester or Braintree campuses or the Information Centre in Clacton. Alternatively please phone:

  • Colchester Campus: (01206) 712078
  • Braintree Campus: (01206) 814194
  • Clacton Campus: (01206) 712234

Note: This information is for guidance purposes only and is subject to change

Advanced Learner Loan

Available to Further Education Students only

19+ Learner Loan Overview

If you are aged 19 or over and are thinking about further education, you may be eligible for a Advanced Learner Loan, for help with your tuition fees.

Applicants must be studying further education at level 3 to level 6.

Most learners that fall into this bracket will be eligible, it doesn’t depend on your household income and there’s no credit check!

Am I eligible?

To qualify for this loan you must be:

  • 19 years old 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
  • Taking an eligible course that’s level 3 to level 6

What can I get?

The Advanced Learner Loan, to help pay your tuition fees. The minimum loan you can get is £300 but the maximum will depend on how much the fees are and the type of course you take.

You don’t have to borrow the full cost of your course – if you wish to pay some of it yourself, and take the rest as a loan, you can choose to do that.

How is the loan paid?

The money is paid directly to the College.

How many loans can I apply for?

You are entitled to access up to 4 loans, which you can take out one after the other or at the same time.

  • You will need to complete an application form for each course.
  • You are restricted to only one loan for the completion of an Access to Higher Education Diploma Course.


Repayments are linked to what you earn and not how much you borrow.

  • You will start to repay your loan in the year after you finish studying or after three years from the start of your course, whichever is earlier, if you are earning more than £27,295.
  • Repayments will automatically be deducted from your earnings through the tax system, once you have left the course and your income is £27,295 a year.
  • If your income falls below £27,295, your repayments will stop.
  • The repayment rate is 9% of your income, above the first £27,295 before tax, so for example, if you were earning £30,000 a year your monthly repayment would be £37.50
  • You can pay some, or all of your loan at any time without an extra charge.
  • Any outstanding balance is written off after 30 years.

Access to Higher Education (HE)

If you get a loan to cover tuition fees for the Access to HE course and then complete a higher education (degree) course, you won’t have to repay the remaining loan for the Access course.

Further Information

If you would like further information you can contact our Student Finance Advice Team on (01206) 712078 or visit

Colchester Institute Financial Support

For students with an identified low household income, there may be financial support available. Funds are targeted at course related costs such as travel, childcare, books and equipment.

Adult Learners can apply for funds through the 19+ Bursary Fund, or for students paying their Level 3 tuition fees with an advanced learner loan, through the Advanced Learner Loan Bursary Fund*.

*Awards from the Advanced Learner Loans Bursary Fund can only be made to students who have received an Advanced Learner Loan. If you do not intend to apply for an advanced learner loan or if your application has been unsuccessful you will not be eligible for an award from this particular fund.

Application form for 19+ students who are not required to take an Advanced Learner Loan to cover tuition fees
Applications for student funding for learners starting in September 2023 are now open.*****

If you have any queries, please email the Student Finance team –

This bursary can be applied for if you are 19+ and taking a Level 1 or 2 course or 19-23 year old and taking your 1st Level 3 course.

Application form for 19+ students who are required to take out an Advanced Learner Loan to cover tuition fees
******Applications for student funding for learners starting in September 2023 are now open.******

For queries and further information

Contact Student Services on (01206) 712078 or visit any campus for Student Finance information and advice.

  • Colchester Campus: (01206) 712078
  • Braintree Campus: (01206) 814194

Payment Options for all Further Education Fee Payers

The College is delighted to be able to offer a choice of how you pay your course fees.

Course fees are payable in advance so that the services which we provide shall have been paid for prior to the provision of those services. All students are advised to read the Colchester Institute Further Education Fee Policy prior to enrolment for full guidance regarding fees, payment methods and the refund criteria.

The 2023/2024 Further Education Fee policy can be found at

Payment in full in advance

Payment should be made in full at the time of enrolment. Acceptable payment methods include Debit Card and Credit Card (excluding American Express). Please note that we are no longer able to accept cash or cheque payments.


If your total course fees exceed £200 you may choose to pay your fees on a monthly payment plan basis. You must sign an official agreement with Colchester Institute to arrange a monthly payment plan, with a clearly stipulated timetable ensuring all fees are paid in full within six months of the start of your course. If the duration of the course is less than six months all fees are to be paid prior to the planned end date.

In order to set up a monthly payment plan, you will be required to pay 40% of the course fee at the time of enrolment or £500, whichever is the lower. The monthly instalment payments will also be set up at the point of enrolment, or if you are enrolling using our online enrolment process, a member of our Finance team will contact you to set up the instalment plan after you have submitted your online enrolment.

Failure to fulfil any terms and conditions of an instalment agreement shall result in you becoming immediately liable for the full outstanding balance and you may not be entitled to pay any future fees by instalments. Please download and save the form below, then fill it in and sign it. These forms can either be emailed to prior to enrolment, or if you are completing an online enrolment you can upload these documents during the enrolment process.

Advanced Learner Loan (Students aged 19+ and studying a Level 3 or 4 qualification) 

If your chosen course is eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan, we will provide you with a Funding and Information letter, with all of the details on how to apply.

Further details are available at

If you have already applied for an Advanced Learner Loan and received confirmation from the Student Loan Company that the loan has been approved, please bring this with you to enrolment.

If you have not received confirmation of your approved loan by enrolment, you will be required to pay a non-refundable £50 deposit to secure your place on the course. Once your loan is approved, the £50 will be offset against your loan amount (excluding learners studying Access to Higher Education courses).

Employer paying

If your Employer is paying your course fees, 40% of the fee or £500 (whichever is lower) will be payable at enrolment, or prior to enrolment via the Online Store.

This can be paid by clicking on the following link and selecting Employer Deposit. Please note that your employer will be required to enter your student number (which can be found on your enrolment information letter) or your name and date of birth.

On your enrolment day, you must bring with you an Employer Authorisation Form and Terms & Conditions completed by your Employer, along with the Deposit Payment, or receipt of an online deposit payment in order for your enrolment to be processed. Please download and save these forms then fill them in and sign them. These forms can either be emailed to prior to enrolment, or if you are completing an online enrolment you can upload these documents during the enrolment process.

While you are on an Apprenticeship, your employer pays you a salary and supports you whilst you undertake your training. Most of the training is ‘on the job’ within the workplace however the rest can be provided by a local college or by a specialist learning provider or in some cases it could all be undertaken by your employer.

The Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and your Employers will cover all costs for training within an apprenticeship irrespective of your age. Where a qualification is offered that is not a mandatory part of the Apprenticeship Standard you or your employer will be asked to pay for this only where your preferred option is to complete this in addition to the apprenticeship.

More details are available on request, please contact the Apprenticeship Admissions Team

For more information on Apprenticeships and Apprenticeship vacancies please click here.


Colchester Institute Foundation Trust (CIFT) is an independent charity which raises funds to support students who due to financial pressures, might otherwise be at risk of not completing their programme of education. This includes students studying Further Education, Higher Education and Apprenticeships.

The principle purpose of CIFT is to benefit Colchester Institute students who are experiencing financial hardship to the extent that they are struggling to participate at College / University and complete or achieve their qualifications.

Whilst the College has access to Government awarded discretionary Learning Support Funds to provide financial support for students on low incomes, who meet pre-defined eligibility criteria, in the current economic climate there are often cases where an individual student needs more financial help than these funds can provide.  Additionally, some students who do not meet the eligibility criteria for government-funded support, can still struggle to meet the costs associated with studying on vocational programmes and CIFT can often provide support here too.

In most cases students should first approach the College / University Centre Colchester to see if funded support is available to them after which they can then submit an application to CIFT, see application form below,

Colchester Institute Foundation Trust awards can only be considered where a student can demonstrate commitment to their chosen course of study and that the impact of the award could mean the difference between them staying on the course or having to withdraw.

Support for Apprentices

As apprentices are classed as being in full time employment, the College is unable to use government funds to support their expenses, this group of students are often the ones most in need of financial assistance as they, and their families, are unable to claim most state benefits. CIFT actively encourage applications from Apprentices.

Direct Solutions Travel Bursary

As part of the CIFT support for Apprentices there is a discrete bursary set aside for apprentices who would benefit from support with the costs of travelling to work and / or College.

Please apply using the standard application form below and return this form to Clare Garner – Student Services (



Introducing Upay

Upay is a simple way to pay for food and drink at College using a valid student ID card. You can access the Upay web site via a mobile app or online, and as a user you are given complete control.

This is open to all students who have enrolled at Colchester Institute and have a valid college ID card. You can use it yourself if you are a student, but as a parent you can also credit the account of your son or daughter. This gives students and parents the chance to load credit onto the system, accessed by an ID card, as a safer and more secure way of paying.

What is Upay?

What are the advantages?

Simply top up credit on line and then pay using your ID card.

As a user you can get a statement to monitor expenditure on line to see what has been spent/bought at any time, and the system can send you a reminder if credit is getting low so you don’t need to worry about running out. This provides students, and staff, with options about how to pay.

What if the College already puts credit on my ID card?

We already use this ID system for students who get Free Meals at College, this will continue and eligible students will still get £3.00 per timetabled day.

If an account is set up with Upay it can be used to top up the £3.00 allowance. We will always use the College money first before the top up credit so if a student buys something for £3.45, the first £3.00 will come from the College funds and 0.45p from the money on Upay.

Where can I use the service?

  • All refectories at Colchester Sheepen Road Campus
  • The Riverside Cafe at Braintree

Please note: At present this can’t be used at the CH&FS shop or restaurants.

What if a student loses their ID card?

This isn’t as bad as it may seem as the credit isn’t stored on the card itself, we just use the card as a way of paying. If a card is lost then notify the IT helpdesk straightway so that the card can be cancelled either by calling 01206 712222 or email

Students must visit the Registry team to request a replacement card free of charge; once this is activated the Upay credit will automatically transfer to the new card.

What if a student forgets to bring their ID card to College?

All students are expected to wear their ID and lanyards at all times, and will need this to access the College sites. The credit can only be used on presentation of a valid ID card which is registered to a Upay Account, unfortunately no card means no credit that day.

How to set up a Upay Account

How to set up a Upay Account

To register for your Upay Account go to or download the Upay app from itunes or the google app store.

From here, please click on the ‘Register for a Upay Account’ button. The Affiliate ID is COLINST and please use the Student ID printed on your student card.

You will then be prompted to confirm your details and will need to fill in the various sections as requested. If you are putting credit on someone else’s card (for example your son or daughter) you will need their student ID but your details. Please continue to complete the form and verify your account through the verification process. You will need to have access to either your mobile or your email to verify your account.

Once you receive your verification code, please enter it in to the designated box and click ‘confirm’. If you have not received this email, please check your spam folder or click resend email. Please then enter & confirm a secure password to use in the login process. This completes registration. Upon completion you will receive an email welcoming you to Colchester Institute’s online payments. You can log in online to find your balance and also a statement of your spending at any time.


Yes, this is possible, as long as the correct student ID number is used in all cases.


There are various ways you can top-up your account.

  • Pay as you go Top-Up (PAYG) is the conventional way of topping up your account. You can either Top-Up your account from the home screen or via Top-Up button in the navigation menu at the top of the screen. If this is your first time using PAYG top up on Upay you will be asked to enter in new payment card details and you will be given the option of saving your card details on the system. When you next come to topping up, if you chose to save your card details you can choose your card as opposed to entering it again and proceed with Top-Up more speedily. The minimum Pay-as-you-go top-up amount is £5.
  • Auto Top-Ups This is an optional feature that tops-up your account when you hit a pre-set minimum amount, so that you never run out of money on your card. To sign up for Auto Top-Ups you, click the ‘Auto Top-Up tab from the Account menu. Then choose the Auto Top-Up option. You will then be asked to set a minimum Auto Top-up trigger amount. Once you have set your trigger amount, you will then need to set up your revalue amount. This is the amount that your account is topped-up by. Please choose from the amounts listed or enter a different value via the ‘Other’ button. There is a minimum Auto Top-Up amount of £30 and a maximum of £100.
  • Top-Up Reminders: This is an alternative option to Auto Top-ups. When your account reaches a pre-set minimum amount we will email you to let you know. After this point you will have to log in to to top up your account manually. The minimum trigger amounts and the revalue amounts follow the same structure as Auto Top-Ups. When signing up for reminders, you will need to set your minimum trigger amount. Please choose from one of the options presented or enter a different value via the ‘Other’ button.


You are able to save your data securely with Upay allowing you to benefit from a quicker process in topping up, both with PAYG and Auto Top-Up.

If you wish to add a top-up card, hover over the ‘Account’ tab and click on ‘My Top-Up Cards’.

You will be able to see limited information of any card details that are saved and can add or remove cards accordingly. If you wish to add card details to your account, tick the checkbox as illustrated below and click continue in order to begin the process. Please follow the instructions on screen.

In all cases the credit on your account should appear (including at the tills) within around 2 minutes of topping up.


You can view itemised statements of all expenditure to keep your spending on track and monitor your transactional history. You will also be able to see when you have added funds in to your account.

To review your statements:

  • Hover over ‘Account’ in the main navigation pane and click on ‘Statement’.
  • On the statements screen, you will see a drop down menu which will give you the option to review your expenditure in different time views.
      ○ The standard statement view is set to the last 30 days
      ○ You are also to review your purchases monthly, or by month to date.
  • The three icons on the right hand side of the statement represent a print, plus and minus icon.
      ○ The plus icon expands the statement to show your transaction details.
      ○ The minus icon shrinks the statement to show basic transactional details.


Upay takes the privacy of your personal information and your data security very seriously. They follow payment industry standards to ensure your data and funds are safe.

Upay is a service created by Uniware Systems Ltd. Their Data Protection Policy can be found on their corporate web site:


If you need help at any time from our Upay site, you can either look through the FAQs on the ‘User Guide and FAQ’ tab in the ‘Account Menu’ or you can contact them directly. To contact, please click on the ‘Help’ hyperlink in the footer of the Upay webpage:

Upay welcome feedback so they can continually strive to improve the end-user experience. The feedback tab can be found on the footer of their webpages.


On leaving Colchester Institute, or if you wish to close your Upay account, you may obtain a refund from Upay. The maximum refund limit is £50.00.

The refund will automatically be processed on closing your account. Any credit remaining can be refunded to the card associated with your account

To close your account:

  1. Log in to your account
  2. Go into the Menu options
  3. Select the Settings option
  4. In the next screen select Close Account
  5. Click on the Confirm button and follow the instructions provided

Please note, it remains the account holder’s responsibility to ensure that any balances over £50.00 are reduced before closing their UPay account.

This is because funds in excess of the £50.00 limit cannot be refunded.

Colchester Institute Instalment Plan – FE and HE Students – Terms & Conditions

To use the Instalment Plan, you will need to agree to the following Terms & Conditions:

  1. I agree to be contacted by the College by email, telephone, mobile and SMS regarding my Instalment Plan.
  2. I agree to adhere to the payment schedule as set up on the College Payment Gateway.
  3. I agree to update the College Online Payment Gateway of any changes to my debit card or credit card details.
  4. I understand that if I do not adhere to the payment schedule I may be referred to a Debt Collection Agency and may incur additional charges.
  5. I confirm that I am over 18 years of age.

Telephone: 01206 712 497

Email: with any questions regarding payment of my Instalment Plan.

For information on cancellation or refunds please refer to our fee policy documents below:

Policy Documents

The latest Colchester Institute Further Education and University Centre Colchester Fee Policies can be found at

Instalment Plans