Free Places Programme


Students sitting next to the riverHome undergraduate students who are eligible for Free School Meals may, in future, be eligible for a Free Place at St John's, which would fully fund their studies at Cambridge.

When the new financial support package is introduced, it will pay for all tuition fees and also offer a non-repayable maintenance grant which, in combination with the University-wide Cambridge Bursary, will cover accommodation and other living expenses in full.



In order to be eligible for a Free Place, you have to:

  • study for your first full time undergraduate degree at St John’s;
  • be a Home student or have settled status in the UK
  • be eligible for full funding from Student Finance England, or other regional funding body (ie tuition fee loan and maintenance loan);
  • have a household income* of up to £17,628 per annum; and
  • have been eligible for Free Schools Meals throughout the last three years of your secondary education.


**Household income is the combined income of all income earners in the household, before tax but after pension contributions. Student Finance England base their assessment on the most recent complete tax year before their application process opens.

Additional eligibility requirements

Undergraduate students apply for Free Place support just before they begin the first year of their studies, once their offer of a place is confirmed.

Year Groups: All undergraduate students, either on a 3-year or 4-year course, are eligible for the Free Places Programme before their graduation.

Year Abroad: Students remain eligible during their Year Abroad, provided that this is a compulsory part of their course. 

Medicine & Veterinary Medicine students: Medicine & Veterinary Medicine students are eligible during the years of their pre-clinical studies, but not during the years of their clinical training.

Yearly reassessment: Students are awarded the Free Places funding for one year, and a reassessment is performed based on up-to-date financial information at the beginning of each academic year. 

Students in receipt of other funding

The aim of the Free Places Programme is to support financially students coming from lower-income backgrounds. This is a means-tested initiative and it is at the discretion of the College to adjust the value of the award in the event that a student is in receipt of (or is subsequently awarded) other funding, either from the College, the University, or an external body. Students are expected to carry on pursuing other funding opportunities.