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Further Education Funding: 16-19 years old

By David Malcolm

Thursday 30 May 2019 Further education

If you’re between 16 and 19 years old when you start a course of further education, you can get funding in various ways. Here’s an overview with links to more information.

Can I get further education funding in England?

If you live in England, and your course is eligible, you may be able to get funding from the government to take a course of further education.

If you’re eligible for funding in England and you’re between 16 and 18 years old, the following information is for you. If you want to study in Wales or Scotland, check with your learning provider what support is available.

Do I need to pay tuition fees?

If you’re under 19 years old before you enrol on your course, and you’re taking a full- or part-time course funded by the Education Funding Agency, you don’t have to pay tuition fees.

However, if you’re taking your course at a private college, you may be asked to pay a fee.

Can I get help with costs related to my course?

You may be able to get help with costs related to your course, such as books, equipment, lunch and transport to and from your school, college or learning provider, from the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund. There are two types of bursary. Some learners can get a guaranteed amount (a mandatory bursary), depending on their circumstances. For most learners, your school, college or learning provider decides whether you get help, and if so, how much.

Can I get help with accommodation costs?

If you’re between 16 and 18 years old and you need to study away from home because your course isn’t available locally, you may be able to get help with the cost of term-time accommodation as part of the Residential Support Scheme.

Where can I find more information?

 

Can I get further education funding in Wales?

If you live in Wales, and your course is eligible, you may be able to get funding from the government to take a course of further education.

If you’re eligible for funding in Wales and you’re between 16 and 19 years old, the following information is for you.

Do I need to pay tuition fees?

If you’re under 19 years old before you enrol on your course, and you’re taking a full- or part-time course funded by the Welsh Government, you don’t have to pay tuition fees.

However, if you’re taking your course at a private college, you may be asked to pay a fee.

Can I get help with costs related to my course?

You may be able to get an Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) to help with costs related to your course, such as books, equipment, lunch and transport to and from your school or college.

If you’re eligible, you get £30 a week during term time, paid every two weeks, for up to three years. You don’t need to pay the money back.

To get the allowance you must be:

  • between 16 and 18 years old on 31 August before you start your course
  • studying at a participating school or college – it doesn’t have to be in Wales, as long as you live in Wales and your school or college participates in the EMA scheme
  • studying on an academic or vocational course up to and including Level 3 (eg GCSE, A or AS Level, BTEC, GNVQ, NVQ or Basic Skills courses)
  • studying either full-time at school, or for a minimum of 12 guided hours a week at college
  • taking a course that lasts for at least ten weeks.

Can I get help with my travel costs?

If you need help getting to and from your place of learning, or need to travel as part of your course, you may qualify for free or subsidised transport. If you’re:

  • over 16 years old and staying at school, you usually qualify for free transport if you live in the school’s catchment area but need to travel more than a set distance to get there
  • between 16 and 19 years old and you’re studying full-time at a further education college, you usually qualify for free transport
  • 19 years old or older, or studying part-time, you may qualify for free or subsidised travel.

Ask for details from the student welfare officer wherever you’re learning or planning to learn.

I want to be an apprentice – what support can I get?

If you want to undertake a course of vocational training and work at the same time, you might consider doing an apprenticeship. You’re paid a salary while you study.

If you take a Pathways to Apprenticeships course in order to become an apprentice, you can get a grant of money similar to an Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) to help with your costs.

Where can I find more information?

 

Can I get further education funding in Scotland?

If you live in Scotland, and your course is eligible, you may be able to get funding from the government to take a course of further education.

If you’re eligible for funding in Scotland and you want to take a full-time course in Scotland, the following information is for you.

Do I need to pay tuition fees?

You don’t have to pay tuition fees if you’re taking a full-time further education course. However, you might need to pay fees for a full-time distance learning course (online and by email).

Can I get help with costs related to my course?

If you want to stay on at school after you reach your school leaving age, you may be able to get an Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) to help with costs related to your course, such as books, equipment and lunch. The following figures are for 2012/2013.

If you’re eligible, you get up to £30 a week during term time, paid every two weeks, up to a maximum of 42 weeks in an academic year. The amount you get depends on your household income. You can get payments for up to three years (or four years if you have additional support needs). You don’t need to pay the money back.

To get the allowance you must be:

  • between 16 and 19 years old before you start your course, and have reached your school leaving age
  • studying at an approved school or college in Scotland (or elsewhere in the UK, depending on whether you’re eligible – speak to your local authority for more details)
  • studying full-time at school or college.

As well as this, your household income must be either:

  • £20,351 a year or less if you’re the only child in your household or you’re financially independent of your parents
  • £22,403 a year or less if you have siblings aged 16 or younger, or other siblings in your household under 26 years old who are studying full-time.

If you’re financially dependent on your parents, ‘household income’ means your parents’ income. If you’re financially independent of your parents, ‘household income’ means your income plus your partner’s income (if you live with them). The EMA doesn’t affect the benefits you or your family may be entitled to.

If you reach your 20th birthday while you’re receiving an EMA, payments stop from the week after your birthday.

You can’t get an EMA if you get a Bursary Maintenance Allowance (see I’m 16 years old or older – can I get help with costs related to my course?), unless you live away from your parental home while you study.

To apply for an EMA, get an application form from your school, college or local education authority. Here’s more information about the EMA. There are also some frequently asked questions.

To apply for the bursary, get an application form from your college or learning provider. For more useful information, download Helping you meet the costs of learning and training.

Where can I find more information?

 

This information was updated in June 2019. NUS provides this information in good faith and has taken care to make sure it’s accurate. However, student finance issues can be complicated, and rules change frequently. You should contact the advice centre in your students' union, college or university for support if you’re uncertain or need more help.