Kris, 24, fell outside the criteria for financial help - too old for one category and because he already held a qualification, didn't qualify for another grant.
The National Diploma media production course student at Middlesbrough College also suffers from epilepsy.
Despite these obstacles he looks set to get into the university of his choice - and now he has won the Design and Media title in the FE+ Awards 2008.
Kris, of Leven Road, Norton, said: "I was too old for the Education Maintenance Allowance which would have given me about pounds 30 a week.
"And I didn't get an Adult Learning Grant because they said my GNVQ in information technology was a level three qualification.
"On the two-year-course I just had to go without a lot of stuff - I didn't have a choice.
But I stayed at home and my mum helped me."
He added: "Because of the times I had to take my medication I would occasionally forget it at college.
"When they changed it I would find I would get into different moods. Sometimes I would get extremely tired and have no energy. That was hard to work through at college."
As his tutors predicted, Kris's hard work has allowed him to pick and choose his next step on the education ladder.
He said: "I have had a conditional offer from Leeds - provided I achieve 180 UCAS points but I think I've got those already. I want my degree to be in media and music.
"I play the guitar and I have played with other people in the studio at college and I like the combination of music and media. …