Bursaries and funding for further education

Sources of Support

This information can help you understand what extra financial help you can get while you are at college

 

1. Learner Support

If you are aged 19 and experiencing financial difficulties, you are eligible to apply for Learner support and get help to meet your needs. The money you get can help you to pay for things like accommodation and travel. Contact your college student support service and ask about the application process and how much you are entitled to receive as there various types of funding available.

2. 16-19 Bursary fund

If you are a looked after child (ie: in the care of your local authority) aged under 19 on 31 August in the year you wish to study. You are eligible to receive the 16 to 19 Bursary fund from your college. If you are doing a training course (including unpaid work experience) you are also eligible for the bursary fund but you must be attending full-time. The bursary is worth up to £1,200, depending on your circumstances and benefits. It is intended to help you with things like clothing, equipment, books, transport, and lunch.

3. Educational Pathway Plan

A pathway plan is like a contract between you and your local authority which sets out the assistance and support that you need when you leave care and who will provide it.  Every care leaver over the age of 16 should have a pathway plan.  The pathway plan covers lots of different areas (such as accommodation, finance and health) but one very important section will be about your educational goals and how to achieve them.  It should set out in detail the plan for your education, how the local authority is going to support you and set dates for this to happen.  The pathway plan should be based on the assessment of your needs.  It will be written by your social worker but you should be present at the assessment, input into the document and feel that the completed pathway plan accurately reflects your goals.

 

You should also be given a copy of the pathway plan which you can understand. The pathway plan should be reviewed at least every six months or whenever you or your personal advisor request this.  A social worker, as well as your personal advisor, should always be present at the review meetings.

 

It is really important that you make sure that the pathway plan reflects your educational goals even if they seem a long way off.  So for example, if you would like to go to university in the future then make sure this is written into the pathway plan.

4. Discretionary bursary

Discretionary bursaries are available to young people who are experiencing hardships at college. If you live in a household with a low income or receipt of support, you are eligible to apply for this bursary. Your college will assess your circumstances and use their criteria to offer you a discretionary bursary. Bear in mind that if you break your college bursary rules, for example, by poor attendance or using your bursary for other things not related to your academics, the college may stop your payments.

 

At some colleges, bursaries only start after four weeks of study.  It is worth finding out if this is the case at your college so that you can try and make alternative arrangements for your first four weeks.  (hyperlink to funders)


Additionally, If you are a care leaver, aged over 19 and either continuing on a course you started aged when aged 16 to 18 or have an Education, Health and Care Plan, you are entitled to receive the discretionary bursary.

5. Asylum Support 

If you are an asylum seeker, over the age of 18 or if you are a refused asylum seeker, you are eligible to receive asylum support in form of housing and/or cash allowance for basic living expenses. This support is offered by the Home office under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 by the National Asylum Support Service (NASS).

 

Depending on your circumstances, you can apply for both accommodation and financial support (Section 95). You will have no choice about where you will live if your application is successful and most asylum seekers are given accommodation outside London. The cash allowance you will receive is £37.75 per week per person and for refused asylum seekers it is 35.39. In limited circumstances, there may be additional payments for example, if you have a child. The cash allowance is loaded on a debit Card called ASPEN card week. You can use the card on any cash machine to withdraw money.

 

Top tip: If you are receiving NASS support, in some cases this may override your immigration status and enable a fee waiver for your course.

 

With Asylum support, you will qualify to get an HC2 Certificate, this will enable you to access free NHS healthcare such as seeing a doctor, free prescriptions, free dental care, free eyesight care and help with paying for glasses.

 

6. Advanced Learner Loan 

The Advanced Learner Loan to help pay for your course. The loan is only repayable once you get into employment and earn over £26,575 per year. If you complete a Higher Education degree following your Level 3 course, you do not have to pay back your advanced learner loan.

7. Bursary fund (after approval for Advanced Learner Loan)

If your application for the Advanced learner Loan has been approved by Student Finance depending on your financial circumstances, you may also be eligible to apply for a Bursary Fund to help with some costs while studying, for example, childcare, travel, accommodation, course materials and equipment. Speak to the college student services if you need support with your application.

8. Private Scholarships and Grants

There are several private scholarships and bursaries available for those who cannot access funding from the government for their studies. You may consider contacting our recommended Education grant providers to see if they offer funding for your course at college. Please note that not all the suggestions will be appropriate for everyone. Make sure you look at the criteria and restrictions for the different charitable trusts and grants (i.e. some may only fund people of particular ages, studying particular subjects, with particular immigration status etc).

Here are some ideas for you to consider at this stage:

 

1. Contact the university which has offered you a place, explaining why you are not eligible for student finance and asking if they would consider waiving your fees. It is unlikely that they will do this, however it is always worth trying.

 

Write to the university explaining that you have been offered a place on a course, reiterate why you want to study there, tell them that you have discovered that you are not eligible for student finance (without going into personal details of your asylum case, tell them a bit of your story – where you came from, how you have made great progress in your education since arriving in the UK etc), explain what being able to study at university would mean to you, and what you would bring to the university, and ask them if they would meet with you to discuss ways of making it financially possible for you. Article 26’s Education for All guide is really useful in understanding eligibility and support for asylum-seeking students and you could draw on this in your communication with the university.

 

2. Defer your place then re-apply to universities who offer scholarships for asylum seekers and those who cannot access student finance due to their immigration status. A list of these universities can be found on Student Action for Refugees (STAR)’s website.

3. Apply for a scholarship from a private charitable organisation. This may require you deferring your place and applying for the scholarships in the next academic year. See below for some suggestions:
 

 

4. Wait for your status to change and you may be eligible for more support. In the meantime, see here for more alternatives.

 

5. If you have been in the UK for a longer period of time, you may qualify for funding due to long residency. Find out whether you qualify on the Let us Learn website.

 

6. If you are care-experienced, it would be worth finding out if your local authority has any duty to support you financially towards university. Read this factsheet or contact the Migrant Children’s Project free helpline for more information. You may also be able to apply for an accommodation scholarship through the UNITE Foundation.

Here's more information

Click here to return to our main Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page for more information about further education

Contact us for advice and guidance

Click here to find out how REUK's Educational Progression team can help you reach university through advice, guidance, workshops and funding opportunities

Education workshops

If you want to learn more about your education options in the UK, you can attend a workshop. The workshop explains how education works and your possible routes through the system. 

I need more money for my education. Who can help?

Here are some ideas for you to consider at this stage:

 

1. Contact the university which has offered you a place, explaining why you are not eligible for student finance and asking if they would consider waiving your fees. It is unlikely that they will do this, however it is always worth trying.

 

Write to the university explaining that you have been offered a place on a course, reiterate why you want to study there, tell them that you have discovered that you are not eligible for student finance (without going into personal details of your asylum case, tell them a bit of your story – where you came from, how you have made great progress in your education since arriving in the UK etc), explain what being able to study at university would mean to you, and what you would bring to the university, and ask them if they would meet with you to discuss ways of making it financially possible for you. Article 26’s Education for All guide is really useful in understanding eligibility and support for asylum-seeking students and you could draw on this in your communication with the university.

 

2. Defer your place then re-apply to universities who offer scholarships for asylum seekers and those who cannot access student finance due to their immigration status. A list of these universities can be found on Student Action for Refugees (STAR)’s website.

3. Apply for a scholarship from a private charitable organisation. This may require you deferring your place and applying for the scholarships in the next academic year. See below for some suggestions:
 

 

4. Wait for your status to change and you may be eligible for more support. In the meantime, see here for more alternatives.

 

5. If you have been in the UK for a longer period of time, you may qualify for funding due to long residency. Find out whether you qualify on the Let us Learn website.

 

6. If you are care-experienced, it would be worth finding out if your local authority has any duty to support you financially towards university. Read this factsheet or contact the Migrant Children’s Project free helpline for more information. You may also be able to apply for an accommodation scholarship through the UNITE Foundation.

Apply for grants and bursaries 

Depending on your circumstances like immigration status, you may not be eligible for further education funding. It may be very helpful if you could use this time to apply for scholarships to cover your college fees. Many of these scholarships are targeted at applicants of specific migration backgrounds, career interests, religion and age. Here are some suggestions for funding for additional costs, such as study resources (laptops, printing costs, stationery etc), travel costs and contribution towards fees for some smaller courses (like IELTS or Access courses). As mentioned above, the suggestions will not be appropriate for everyone, please read the criteria and restrictions carefully.

Childcare support

Care to Learn: If you are aged under 20 at the start of your course and need help with childcare costs, you can apply to receive childcare whilst you are at college. The payments will be done directly to your childcare provider. The service is only available to publicly funded courses at further education colleges and sixth forms.

16+ Zip Oyster Card and 18+ Student Oyster Card 

If you live in London, you can apply for a 16+ Zip photo Oyster card (for under 18) or 18+ Student Oyster Photocard ( for 18+ and above). These will enable you to get free or discounted travel around London on the underground, buses, DLR and the Overground.

Other FAQ's for students who want to study at college