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Choices at 16

What funding support is available for a course at college?

Colleges can offer a 16-19 Bursary

You may be able to apply for funding to support your child with costs whilst attending their college course. To be eligible for the Bursary which you do not have to pay back, your son or daughter must be:

  • Aged 16-18 on 31st August of the year study starts
  • Studying at school or college, or on an unpaid training course
  • Meet the residency requirements.

There are then two kinds of bursary available. The Vulnerable Student Bursary and the Discretionary Bursary. Find out more at 

Vulnerable Student Bursaries

The amount you may get depends on the costs you have and what you need for your course. This might include money for books, equipment or travel costs to school or college.

You may be able to get a bursary if at least one of the following applies:

You are 16 - 18

  • you’re in or you recently left local authority care
  • you get Income Support or Universal Credit because you’re financially supporting yourself
  • you get Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in your name and either Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit
  • you get Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in your name and either ESA or Universal Credit

In order to prove that your son or daughter meets the criteria, they will be told what evidence they must provide, eg benefit letters. Find out more at 

Discretionary Bursaries

You can apply for this if you are 16 - 19

The criteria for Discretionary Bursaries is set by the individual college. It is often awarded according to family income and may cover such expenses as bus passes, free meals, and kit or equipment costs. Payments are usually made in termly instalments. Often there will be additional criteria set (such as expectation of a certain attendance percentage) to ensure that bursaries are only awarded to students actively engaging in their learning.

In some cases, additional money may be awarded to a student to support a particular activity or trip and each college will have different criteria for this funding.

Ask student services about their criteria and any evidence you’ll need.

You can also apply to a discretionary bursary if you’re over 19 and either:

Find out more at 

Care to Learn – support for young parents

The Care to Learn scheme can help with childcare costs while you study.

You must be aged under 20 at the start of your course.

The scheme is available for publicly-funded courses in England. This includes courses in:

  • schools
  • sixth-forms in schools
  • sixth-form colleges

More information

A site for adults wanting to get back into learning

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