Student Bursary Support Service

Information about the Student Bursary Support Service

What is the Student Bursary Support Service

The Student Bursary Support Service (SBSS) is an online service used to administer student support for the Care to Learn scheme and the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund for vulnerable students.

The online system is for use by education institutions, childcare providers and for students. The system is easy to use, accessible and responsive.

What schemes does SBSS administer

The Student Bursary Support Service is used to administer:

  • the Care to Learn student support scheme
  • the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund for vulnerable students
  • queries relating to these schemes

How is SBSS used to administer the support schemes

For the Care to Learn student support scheme, through this portal:

  • students can apply for Care to Learn funding, make changes to their record and update their children’s details
  • education institutions can access details of their students claiming Care to Learn through the SBSS, confirm Care to Learn student study and support arrangements, update their bank details and complete monthly Care to Learn student attendance monitoring
  • childcare providers can complete their charging arrangements, complete their child attendance monitoring and update their banking details

For the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund for vulnerable students, through this portal:

  • education institutions can submit claims for support for the vulnerable students
  • education institutions receive remittance advice notices for payments made against submitted claims

What can I do using the SBSS

Apply for Care to Learn support

The service portal is used to support young parents’ / students’ applications for summer retainers and new applications for Care to Learn.

In the majority of cases, student eligibility – not whole application eligibility - is established as the application is input. When the service is unable to establish student eligibility the SBSS will notify the student if additional information is required or if the student is ineligible.

Childcare providers and education institutions will be contacted by the SBSS and asked to provide information via the portal about childcare costs, study programme hours, travel costs etc to complete each student’s application. To ensure initial payments are not delayed, childcare providers and education institutions should provide this information via the portal as soon as possible.

As part of this process, education institutions are required to confirm that the existence of the child(ren) to be cared for has been verified. To do this, the student is required to provide either a copy of the child’s birth certificate or a letter confirming receipt of child benefit for that child.

The service can only fully process an application when the student details, child details, education institution details and childcare provider details are fully completed by each party. No payments can be made until the application is fully complete and verified.

Students, childcare providers and education institutions can update applications on the portal for changes to, for example, personal details, study programme, travel arrangements, childcare hours or costs and childcare provider.

Care to Learn applications started and saved but not submitted will expire after 90 days. Students requiring Care to Learn support will have to re-apply if the application expires. Notifications will be sent to students whose applications are about to expire.

The service notifies students, childcare providers and education institutions when letters confirming eligibility, payment plans and any other correspondence are available on the portal.

Update organisation details

Education institutions and childcare providers with young parents claiming Care to Learn can maintain their banking details (administrator users only). The portal can be used to upload bank proofs when the system is unable to automatically validate bank account details.

Each organisation will be assigned a user account with administration level access. This user can set-up other user accounts for the organisation if required.

A dashboard is available to users which highlights actions that require attention or are overdue. Organisations receive email notifications when actions are required or correspondence is available on the portal, ie new Care to Learn applications, attendance monitoring returns to be completed, etc.

Record student and child attendance

Monthly attendance monitoring returns for Care to Learn must be completed via the SBSS portal by education institutions (to confirm student attendance) and childcare providers (to confirm child attendance).

Notifications are emailed to education institutions and childcare providers when attendance monitoring requires their attention. Reminders are emailed when returns are late.

Payments to education institutions and childcare providers cannot be released until both attendance monitoring forms have been completed.

Submit a claim for 16 to 19 Bursary Fund for vulnerable students

Education institutions must submit claims via the portal on behalf of their 16 to 19 Bursary Fund vulnerable students.

Claims are validated as the details are entered.

There are no restrictions on the number of claims that an education institution may submit. A claim may contain multiple students. Claims may be partially recorded and saved for submission at a later date. Only validated and submitted claims will be processed by the service.

Secure access to data

The portal requires a username and password to gain access, this ensures that the data is held securely and only accessed by an authorised user. Guidance is available on the portal on how to set up secure passwords.

The service has been accredited to meet strict government security standards.

Access to payment plans and remittance advice

Payment plans and remittance advices will be uploaded to SBSS portal accounts. Users are able to download these documents, typically payment plans for each student and remittance advices to identify monies paid for each student to assist with the reconciliation of ESFA payments.

Submit an appeal

Appeals can be submitted directly to the SBSS and must be sent via the online portal.

Make a complaint

Complaints can be made directly to the SBSS and must be sent via the online portal.

How do I apply or see if I can apply for support

You can find information on scheme eligibility and how to apply at:

For Care to Learn

For 16 to 19 Bursary Fund for vulnerable students

How do I obtain a user account for the portal

Many institutions are already registered to access the portal. If your organisation is already registered, the user with administrator level rights can set-up an account for you. If you do not know who holds the SBSS administrator account for your organisation, contact the SBSS using the details below.

If your organisation is not registered, contact the SBSS using the details below. The SBSS will advise you on what information is required and will set up an administrator account for your organisation.

For students applying for Care to Learn support, a portal account is set up as part of the application process. Guidance is available on the portal on how to set up secure passwords.

Where do I get help on how to use the portal

The SBSS online portal has guidance notes built in throughout and a webchat facility is available on all pages of the portal if further help is needed.

Where do I go if I have any questions or need further help

Further information is available from the Student Bursary Support Service Team between 9.00am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday as follows:

For education institutions and childcare providers:

For students / young parents

  • Tel: 0800 121 8989
  • Email:
  • Minicom: 0800 917 6048
  • students with queries about the 16 to 19 Bursary fund for vulnerable students should contact their education institution

Or via the webchat facility on any of the SBSS web pages or any of the Care to Learn application pages.

Published 25 March 2015
Last updated 17 November 2017 + show all updates
  1. General update to page, updated dates and links
  2. A refreshed page on the Student Bursary Support Service with up to date information added
  3. First published.