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 is information for institutions. It shows the financial support young people may be able to get to help them take part in education and training.

It covers a number of schemes, often described as student support schemes:

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 take part in education
  • allows institutions to pay discretionary awards to young people they assess as facing the greatest financial barriers to participation

Free meals in further education

  • provides meals for eligible young people if they or their parent get one of the qualifying benefits

Care to Learn

  • provides support with the costs of childcare for young parents in education
  • helps ensure young people who are parents are not prevented from taking part in education because of childcare costs

Residential Bursary Fund

  • funding given to institutions delivering specialist provision
  • helps institutions 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 study 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

  • income-assessed help with tuition fees and living costs at a small number of private dance and drama institutions in England
  • this funding 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 is to support 16 to 19 year olds who are the most financially disadvantaged and those who most need help with the costs of staying in education.

Students aged over 19 can apply for the discretionary bursary if they have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or are continuing on a course they started aged between 16 and 18 (a ‘19+ continuer’).

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
    • 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 draw down the funds by submitting a vulnerable bursary funding claim form via the Student Bursary Support Service (SBSS) portal.

The eligible groups are students who are:

Institutions must verify that young people meet the criteria for vulnerable student bursaries.

Funding claims for vulnerable student payments in the 2017 to 2018 academic year are available online from August 2017 via the SBSS portal.

Discretionary bursary

Discretionary bursaries are awards made by institutions to individual students. They are designed to overcome the individual barriers to participation a student faces.

Institutions decide which students get a discretionary bursary and how much they will get. However, they should target students who cannot stay in education without financial help for things such as:

  • transport
  • meals
  • books
  • equipment

Institutions should assess the help each student needs on an individual basis and not make blanket or flat rate payments to all students.

Information for institutions

We have published information to help institutions which includes:

Discretionary bursary survey

The Student Bursary Support Service have contacted institutions to take part in a survey about how institutions support post-16 students who require financial help to participate in education. We would like to let institutions know that the survey period has been extended and will now close on 30 November 2017. The survey asks specific questions relating to how you use your 16 to 19 Discretionary Bursary for this purpose. Your responses will help the department to understand if the fund is supporting disadvantaged students effectively with the financial costs associated with continuing in education post-16. The survey requests your UKPRN so that data can be matched between your geographical location and known areas of disadvantage in the country. You can look at the survey (PDF, 313KB, 6 pages) in advance in case you need to source data for any of your responses. The survey can be completed by the most appropriate person at your institution.

The survey will close on 30 November 2017.

Free meals in further education

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

Free meals are targeted at disadvantaged students. For the purposes of free meals eligibility, the definition of disadvantage is 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 their institution.

To be eligible for a free meal in the 2017 to 2018 academic year, students must be between 16 and 18 on 31 August 2017.

Students aged over 19 are eligible to apply if they have an EHCP or are continuing on a course they started aged between 16 and 18 (a ‘19+ continuer’).

Institutions must provide a free meal to eligible students for each day that they attend their study programme, where this is appropriate.

We expect institutions to provide a meal free of charge to eligible students or to fund the free meal via an electronic credit or voucher the student can then redeem. This might be on or off-site where institutions have made arrangements with nearby food outlets.

Information for institutions

Care to Learn

C2L helps young parents under the age of 20 to continue in, and return to education after the birth of a child. It does this 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.

C2L will only fund childcare provision registered with Ofsted.

Young parents, their education institution and their childcare provider must all meet the eligibility criteria to receive C2L.

Young parents must complete and submit a new C2L application for each academic year. Childcare providers and education institutions also need to provide information for each young parent who applies. Students submit applications online via the SBSS portal. Applications for the 2017 to 2018 academic year have been available from May 2017.

Information for institutions

  • Care to Learn guide for the 2017 to 2018 academic year. The guides provides further information about the scheme, including the eligibility criteria and administration
  • Student Bursary Support Service provider helpline: 0300 303 8610

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.

To be eligible to apply for either scheme in the 2017 to 2018 academic year, students must be aged between 16 and 18 on 31 August 2017. Students aged over 19 are eligible to apply if they have an EHCP or are continuing on a course they started aged between 16 and 18 (a ‘19+ continuer’).

Residential Bursary Fund

RBF provides financial help towards the costs of accommodation. It is only for students attending one of the institutions delivering specialist provision. This provision requires the student to be resident to study because the qualification 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 get a qualification in a specialist subject they would not be able to get 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 necessarily to cover the full costs for each student.

RBF is intended to help students with the costs of accommodation whilst they are in further education and so we expect the majority of RBF funding to be used for accommodation costs. RBF can also 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 get RBF and how much support they receive. Institutions must target funds towards those facing the most significant financial barriers to participation.

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

Management Information returns

In October institutions need to complete a short management information return. This is to report the number of students who received RBF and the amount of funding spent.

Institutions are also 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.

Information for institutions

Residential Support Scheme

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

To receive RSS students must meet all the eligibility criteria.

The substantial qualification they are studying must:

  • be directly 16 to 19 funded by ESFA
  • 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 they get a wage, are not eligible to apply for support.

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

Verification of qualifications

Institutions must verify the availability of each student’s substantial Level 2 or Level 3 qualification with ESFA. Institutions must not make any RSS awards until ESFA have confirmed whether the student is eligible.

Information for institutions

Dance and Drama Awards

DaDA funding offers income assessed support for tuition fees and living costs at a number of high quality private dance and drama institutions in England. The intention of DaDA funding is 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 2017 to 2018 academic year, students must be aged between 16 and 23 years old at the start of the academic year (for a dance course) and between 18 and 23 years old 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.

Institutions can only give DaDA funding to students who meet 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.

Institutions use nationally set household income bands to assess each student’s eligibility and the amount of support.

Information for institutions

  • DaDA scheme guide for the 2017 to 2018 academic year. This gives information about student eligibility, the application and assessment process institutions should follow and the monitoring arrangements for the scheme
  • students should contact their DaDA institution for further advice and information

Enquiries

Institutions who would like more information about any of the student support schemes should contact:

ESFA enquiries

For all enquiries for the Education and Skills Funding Agency

Published 4 February 2014
Last updated 7 March 2017 + show all updates
  1. Updated links added for 2017 to 2018.
  2. Updated to include 2016 to 2017 changes.
  3. A new section has been added under the heading the Student Bursary Support Service
  4. updated information on residential support scheme operational change
  5. Updated to include the Residential Support Scheme 2014 to 2015 guide
  6. Added 2014 to 2015 16 to 19 Bursary Fund guide to page
  7. First published.