Guidance

16 to 19 education: financial support for students

Advice for institutions on the financial support young people may be able to access to help them participate in education and training.

16 to 19 financial support

This advice provides information for institutions about the financial support young people may be able to access to help them participate in education and training. It covers a number of schemes, often described as student support schemes:

  • the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund: pays a bursary of up to £1,200 a year to support young people in one of the defined vulnerable groups to participate in education. It also enables institutions to make discretionary awards to those young people they assess as facing the greatest financial barriers to participation.

  • free meals in further education: provides meals for eligible young people (they or their parents receive one of the qualifying benefits).

  • Care to Learn: support with the costs of childcare to ensure that young people who are parents are not prevented from participating in education because of these costs.

  • Residential Bursary Fund: allocations given to specialist institutions to help them contribute to the costs of accommodation for students they assess as facing financial barriers to accessing their specialist provision.

  • Residential Support Scheme: income-assessed support to help with the costs of accommodation for students who need to move away from home to participate because the substantial Level 2 or Level 3 qualification within their study programme is not available locally to their home address.

  • Dance and Drama Awards: scholarships offering income-assessed support for tuition fees and living costs at a small number of private dance and drama colleges in England. This award ensures that income is not a barrier to the most talented young people accessing this specialist provision.

16 to 19 Bursary Fund

The 16 to 19 Bursary Fund supports the most financially disadvantaged 16 to 19 year olds and those young people who most need help with the costs of staying in education.

Who can apply for a 16 to 19 Bursary Fund?

There are 2 types of 16 to 19 bursaries:

  • a vulnerable bursary of up to £1,200 a year for young people in one of the defined vulnerable groups
  • discretionary bursaries that institutions award to meet individual needs, for example, transport, meals, books and equipment

Vulnerable bursary

Students in one or more of the groups below can apply for a vulnerable bursary of up to £1,200. Institutions do not receive an allocation of funds for vulnerable bursaries. They need to draw down the funds by completing a funding claim form and submitting it to the Student Support Bursary Service via the Student Bursary Support Service portal.

The eligible groups are students who are:

Institutions are responsible for verifying that young people meet the criteria for vulnerable student bursaries.

Funding claims for vulnerable student payments in the 2016 to 2017 academic year are available online from August 2016 via the SBSS portal.

Discretionary bursary

Discretionary bursaries are awards made by institutions to individual students. They are targeted on overcoming the individual barriers to participation a student faces.

It is up to institutions to decide which students will receive a discretionary bursary and how much they will receive. However, they should be targeted at students who cannot stay in education without financial help for things like transport, meals, books and equipment. Institutions should not make blanket or flat rate payments to all students.

Information for institutions

Education Funding Agency (EFA) has published information to help institutions administer the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund, which includes:

Free meals in further education

To be eligible for a free meal, students must be enrolled in further education provision funded via EFA.

Free meals are targeted at disadvantaged students. For the purposes of eligibility for free meals, disadvantage is defined by the students being in receipt of, or having parents who are in receipt of, one or more of the qualifying benefits. A student is only eligible to receive a free meal when they, or a parent/guardian on their behalf, have made a successful application to the institution where they are enrolled.

Students must be aged between 16 and 18 on 31 August 2016 to be eligible for a free meal in the 2016 to 2017 academic year. Students who turn 19 during their study programme will remain eligible for a free meal until the end of the academic year in which they turn 19 or to the end of their study programme, whichever is sooner.

Institutions are required to provide a free meals to eligible students for each day that the student attends their study programme, where this is appropriate.

Institutions are expected to provide a meal free of charge to eligible students, or to fund the free meal via an electronic credit or voucher which can be redeemed on-site or off-site where institutions have made arrangements with nearby food outlets.

Allocations to institutions

In the 2016 to 2017 academic year institutions will receive an allocation of funding for free meals based on their 2015 to 2016 ILR RO6 data returns and their lagged student number, ie the number of students they have assessed as eligible for, and in receipt of, free meals in the 2015 to 2016 academic year at RO6 combined with the number of students funded in the 2016 to 2017 academic year to provide an all year number.

More information about the detail of the allocations methodology was sent to institutions with their allocations statements in March 2016.

Resources for institutions

Care to Learn

Care to Learn helps young parents under the age of 20 to continue in, and return to education after the birth of a child by providing funding for childcare whilst the young parent is studying. The scheme can provide up to a maximum total amount of support of £160 per child per week or up to a maximum of £175 per child per week in London.

The young parent’s study programme must have some public funding.

Care to Learn will only fund childcare provision that is registered with Ofsted.

Young parents, their education institution and their childcare provider must all meet the eligibility criteria to receive Care to Learn.

Young parents must complete and submit a new application for each academic year they want to claim Care to Learn funding, even if their study programme runs for more than one year. Childcare providers and education institutions also need to provide information for each young parent who applies. Applications are submitted online via the SBSS portal. Applications for the 2016 to 2017 academic year will be available in May 2016.

Information for institutions

Residential support

There are 2 schemes currently offering support with accommodation costs for students:

The Residential Bursary Fund (RBF) provides financial help for students attending an institution delivering specialist provision.

The Residential Support Scheme (RSS) provides financial help for students who need to live away from home to study because the substantial Level 2 or Level 3 qualification within their study programme is not available within daily travelling distance.

Residential Bursary Fund

RBF provides financial help towards the costs of accommodation for students attending one of the institutions delivering specialist provision. This provision requires the student to be resident to participate because it is not available locally and/or because it requires students to be available at unsociable hours on a regular basis. RBF enables young people to achieve a qualification in a specialist subject they would not be able to obtain at a non-specialist institution.

RBF provides a contribution towards residential costs for those students the institution identifies face the most significant financial barriers to participation. It is not intended to provide support to all students on residentially delivered provision at an institution; or to necessarily cover the full costs for each student.

RBF should be used to help students with the costs of accommodation whilst they are in further education. The majority of RBF funding is used to cover accommodation costs, however, RBF may also be used to help with travel costs between the student’s term time lodgings and the institution where appropriate. RBF cannot be used to pay for travel costs for non-residential students (those living at home).

Institutions decide which students receive RBF support and how much support they receive but must target funds towards those facing the most significant financial barriers to participation.

Students should contact their institution for more advice and to apply.

Annual requirements for institutions

Allocations

Details of the 2016 to 2017 academic year allocations for RBF were issued to institutions in March 2016.

Management Information returns

Institutions need to complete a short management information return each October to report the number of students who received RBF and the amount of funding spent.

Institutions are also strongly encouraged to complete the ILR (Learning Funding and Monitoring (FAM); learner support reason) to report students who have been assessed as eligible for RBF and who have taken up the funding.

Resources for institutions

  • the Residential Bursary Fund guide for 2016 to 2017 provides information to institutions who administer the funding, including student eligibility, the management of allocations and management information requirements
  • organisations who would like more information about the Residential Bursary Fund should contact

EFA enquiries

For all enquiries for the Education Funding Agency

Residential Support Scheme

RSS is intended to help support students with the costs of living away from home to participate when the substantial Level 2 or Level 3 qualification that is part of their study programme is not available within reasonable daily travelling distance.

In order to receive RSS support students must meet all the eligibility criteria. The substantial qualification they are studying must be directly 16 to 19 funded by EFA and not available locally to their home address. Any other elements that make up the study programme are not relevant when assessing RSS eligibility.

RSS can provide annual support of up to £3,458 (up to £4,079 in the London area) towards accommodation costs. If the student is assessed as eligible, the amount they receive is based on their actual accommodation costs up to the maximum award thresholds.

Young people on apprenticeship programmes, or any education or training where a wage is being drawn, are not eligible to apply for support.

Students should contact their institution for more advice and to apply.

Allocations

Details of the RSS allocations for the 2016 to 2017 academic year were issued to institutions in March 2016.

Verification of qualifications

The availability of each student’s substantial Level 2 or Level 3 qualification must be verified by institutions with EFA. No RSS awards can be made until EFA has confirmed whether the student is eligible.

Institutions must use the form that has been sent to them by EFA to verify qualifications.

Resources for institutions

If institutions have any queries about either of the residential support schemes they should contact:

EFA enquiries

For all enquiries for the Education Funding Agency

Dance and Drama Awards

The Dance and Drama Awards (DaDA) scheme offers income assessed support for tuition fees and living costs at a number of high quality private dance and drama institutions in England. DaDA funding is intended to provide a contribution to the costs of participating for talented individuals who want to become professional actors and dancers.

Eligibility

To be eligible to receive DaDA funding in the 2016 to 2017 academic year, students must be aged between 16 and 23 at the start of the academic year (for a dance course) and aged between 18 and 23 at the start of the academic year (for an acting course).

Only students enrolled on the Trinity College London (TCL) Level 5 and 6 Professional Diplomas in Dance, Acting and Musical Theatre at one of the institutions that are part of the DaDA scheme are eligible to apply for funding.

DaDA funding can only be given to students who satisfy the residency conditions.

DaDA living costs support is only available to students who are ordinarily resident in England, Scotland or Wales, in other words they are a permanent resident in the UK. Students from Northern Ireland and EU countries are not eligible to receive living cost support.

Students have their eligibility for support and the amount of financial support they are eligible to receive assessed by their institution using nationally set household income bands.

Resources for institutions

  • the DaDA scheme guide for the 2016 to 2017 academic year gives information about student eligibility, the application and assessment process schools should follow and the monitoring arrangements for the scheme
  • students should contact their DaDA institution for further advice and information