The 16 to 19 Bursary Fund provides financial support to help students overcome the specific financial barriers to participation they face so they can remain in education. 

There are 2 types of 16 to 19 bursaries: 

  • Bursaries for defined vulnerable groups.
  • Discretionary bursaries which institutions award using policies they set, in line with these funding rules.

Eligibility for all bursary types: 

A student must be aged 16 or over but under 19 on 31 August 2022 to be eligible for help from the bursary fund in the 2022 to 2023 academic year. 

Students aged 19 or over are only eligible to receive a discretionary bursary if they are continuing on a study programme they began aged 16 to 18 or have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). 

These 2 groups of aged 19+ students can receive a discretionary bursary while they continue to attend education, as long as their eligibility continues and their institution considers they need the support to continue their participation. 

Students aged 19 or over are not eligible for bursaries for vulnerable groups. 

Students must meet the residency criteria in ESFA funding regulations for post-16 provision. This document also specifies the evidence institutions must see and retain for audit to confirm eligibility for post-16 funding (and therefore meet the residency criteria for bursary fund eligibility) 

For full residency criteria please see the document here: 16 To 19 Funding Guidance Regulations 2022 To 2023

Bursaries for defined vulnerable groups 

The defined vulnerable groups are students who are: 

  • In care 
  • Care leavers 
  • Receiving Income Support (IS), or Universal Credit (UC) because they are financially supporting themselves or financially supporting themselves and someone who is dependent on them and living with them, such as a child or partner
  • Receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payments (PIP) in their own right as well as Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or UC in their own right

The bursary for vulnerable groups can pay up to £1,200 per year to a student participating in a study programme that lasts for 30 weeks or more if they need that amount of support. 

Students should only receive the amount they need to participate, and institutions must not automatically award students £1,200 if they do not need the full amount. 

Institutions may decide that although a young person may be eligible for a bursary because they are in one or more of the defined vulnerable groups, they do not have any actual financial need. This might be because their financial needs are already met and/or because they have no relevant costs. Institutions can refuse a student’s application on this basis. 

Equally, institutions can pay a bursary to a student from a vulnerable group of more than £1,200 if they assess they need extra help to remain in education. 

An application to the Student Bursary Support Service (SBSS) will be made on your behalf.  

Evidence of eligibility: 

Vulnerable groups: 

  • For students who are in care or a care leaver, written confirmation of their current or previous looked-after status from the relevant local authority. 
  • For students in receipt of UC or IS, a copy of their UC or IS award notice. This must clearly state that the claim is in the student’s name/confirm they are entitled to the benefits in their own right. for students receiving UC/ESA and DLA and PIP, a copy of their UC claim from DWP. Evidence of receipt of DLA or PIP must also be provided.

 Discretionary bursaries which institutions award using policies they set, in line with these funding rules: 

Institutions make discretionary bursary awards to help students with: 

  • The cost of travel
  • To buy essential books 
  • Equipment, or specialist clothing (such as protective overalls, for example)
  • Transport for university visits 

Institutions must base all decisions about which students receive a discretionary bursary and how much bursary they receive on each student’s individual circumstances and their actual financial need. 

Full information about the discretionary bursary can be found in this document: To 19 Funding Guidance Regulations 2022 To 2023

Eligibility for discretionary bursary: 

Eligibility is considered using the following criteria. It should be noted that this list is not exhaustive and each application for discretionary bursary will be considered. 

  • Household classed as ‘low income’ – (less than £17,100 before housing costs for a couple with no children) 
  • The number of dependents living in the house 
  • Already claiming Universal Credit (UC) 
  • The participation needs that the students has

Students awarded assistance from the 16 – 19 discretionary bursary fund must also: 

  • Maintain 95%+ attendance to Sixth form
  • Be punctual to each day and every lesson
  • Meet subject deadlines

Evidence of eligibility: 

  • Payslips for the 3 previous months 
  • Universal credit statements for the past 3 months 
  • Evidence that participation costs cannot be met e.g. list and cost of items needed  

All students wishing to access the discretionary bursary fund must complete an application form which can be found here. 16 19 Bursary Application Form.

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