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16 to 19 Bursary Fund for Students

A bursary is a type of grant or financial award. The money would go directly to the student or to the education or training provider.

Bursaries help students pay for books, clothing, and for transport and meals during the days they are studying or training.

The 16 19 Bursary Fund helps with your education-related costs, providing you are aged 16, 17, or 18, and:

  • Studying at one of the ‘publicly’ funded schools or colleges in England (i.e. not a university)
  • On a training course (can include unpaid work experience).

Students age 19 (or older) may also get a bursary payment if (either):

  • They have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
  • They are a ’19+ continuer’ (meaning you are continuing on a course that you first started when aged 16 to 18)

Note: The definition of a publicly funded school is one that does not charge an attendance fee. The Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) offers a similar scheme to the 16 19 Bursary Fund – available in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

How Much is the 16-19 Bursary Fund?

The two different types of 16 to 19 bursaries include a scholarship for students who are unable to pay the full tuition fees (e.g. people in vulnerable groups) and the discretionary bursary.

Students in Vulnerable Groups

As a rule, the amount you can get will depend on your circumstances and your entitlement to benefits. But, in most cases you can get a bursary payment up to £1,200.

Discretionary Bursary

The discretionary bursary is for students who also need financial help. But, it goes to people who do not fall into a ‘vulnerable group’. Only discretionary bursaries are available for students who are over the age of nineteen (19).

The education or training provider would decide the amount you get and what you can spend the money on. The provider also decides how your bursary is paid, such as:

  • A single payment in full (or by instalments).
  • In cash, transferred through a bank account, or paid by cheque.
  • Payments for things instead of money (e.g. a travel pass, books, or free meals).

Note: A one-off payment may also cover travel fees for university interviews or study trips. But, breaking their rules means your provider can stop the payments (e.g. misusing an award or having a poor attendance record).

16 19 Bursary Fund Eligibility Criteria

To qualify, you need to be at least sixteen (16) years old and under the age of nineteen (19) on the 31st of August. You should be studying at a publicly funded school or college (or enrolled on an unpaid training course) and meet all the residency requirements.

16 to 19 Bursary Fund Guide for the United KingdomStudents in Vulnerable Groups

At least one of these must apply to get a payment up to £1,200:

  • You are in local authority care (or you recently left).
  • You support yourself financially and you get Income Support or Universal Credit.
  • You are getting Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in your own name, and (either):
    • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
    • Universal Credit (UC)

As a rule, you need to be studying full-time on a course of at least thirty (30) weeks and have expenses to pay to qualify for the full amount. You may need to provide some evidence (e.g. benefit awards).

But, if any of these apply to your circumstances you may get less (or no bursary funding at all):

  • The course you are on is shorter than thirty (30) weeks.
  • You are studying part time (instead of full-time).
  • Your payments for expenses are minimal.

Discretionary Bursary

Different types of schools and colleges have their own criteria for awarding discretionary bursaries. So, they take individual circumstances (e.g. family income) into consideration before granting payments.

strong>Note: Talk to student services department for more information about what evidence you may need to supply.

How to Get 16-19 Bursary Fund

Student services will explain how to claim and what you need to do. But, you must apply to the actual school, college, or training provider.

The best way to avoid delaying a bursary is to apply as soon as you know where you are going to study or carry out your training.

Note: Your provider will confirm whether you need to reapply for a bursary for each year of the course.

Extra Help and Information

Most of the information and advice you need will come from your tutor or student services. But, you can also contact the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

Note: Student services will have a complaints process for you to follow if you think a decision is unfair and you are unable to resolve it.

Hardship Funds and Emergencies

Extra support may be available if your circumstances change or an emergency situation arises. Some training providers provide access to a separate hardship fund. Contact your student services for further details about emergencies and hardship funding.

Grants and Funding for Adult Learners

As an adult learner, you can apply for certain grants and bursaries to help cover the costs of courses and training. Often, there is no requirement pay back the money.

As a rule, you would need to apply for most grants and bursaries directly to the organisation that offers them. Contact them to get an application form and to find out whether you qualify.

Note: Some financial help with childcare costs while you study may also be available if you are a parent.

How to Find Education Grants

You can search for specific information about education grants online using the grant finder facility on the Turn2us website.

Course-specific Grants

Check to see if you can:

16 to 19 Bursary Fund Guide for the United Kingdom