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Student Loans

16 - 19 Bursary Fund

A bursary is money that you, your education or training provider can use to help you pay for clothing, books, other equipment for your course, transport and lunch on the day that you train. 

There are two types of 16 - 19 Bursary;

Vulnerable Student Bursary

You could receive up to £1,200 if at least one of the following applies:

  • You're in or recently left Local Authority care 
  • You receive Income Support (or Universal Credit in place of Income Support) in your name
  • You're disabled and receive both Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) (or Universal Credit in place of ESA), and either Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in your name.

You may receive the full amount if you have expenses and study full-time on a course of at least 30 weeks. You'll usually get less, or no bursary, if your course is shorter, you study part time or have few expenses. 

Discretionary Bursery 

You could receive a Discretionary Bursary if you need financial help but don't qualify for a Vulnerable Student Bursary. Your education or training provider decides how much you get and what it's used for. 

You must be: 

  •  Under 19 at the start of the academic year you want a bursary for 
  •  Studying at school or college, or on an unpaid training course 

Parents Learning Allowance

You may be eligible for help with your learning costs if you're a full time student with children. This is called Parents' Learning Allowance. 

How much you get depends on your household income. 

The allowance: 

  • Does not have to be paid back
  • Is paid on top of your other student finance
  • Will not affect your benefits or tax credit
  • Depending on your household income, in the 2023 to 2024 academic year you could get paid between £50 - £1,915 a year.
  • It's usually paid in 3 installments direct to your bank account, one at the start of each term. 
  • Parents' Learning Allowance is paid on top of your other student finance and does not have to be paid back. 

For further information please visit:

Discretionary Learner Fund

If you are aged 19 or over and having trouble meeting the costs of participating in further education at your college, Discretionary Learner Support may be one source of help. 

Ask your training provider directly for financial help, funds are prioritised for those who face financial hardship and can be used for: 

  •  Childcare costs (for Ofsted-regulated childcare) 
  •  Accodommodation costs, for those studying away from home
  •  Course-related equipment, books, materials and trips
  •  Travel costs 

For further information please contact your training provider or visit:

Care to Learn

The Care to Learn scheme can help with childcare costs whilst you study.

You must be aged under 20 at the start of your course. 

You can receive up to: 

  •  £180 per child per week of you live outside London
  •  £195 per child per week if you live in London

Care to Learn can help with the cost of: 

  •  Your childcare, including deposit and registration fees
  •  A childcare taster session for up to 5 days 
  •  Keeping your childcare place over the summer holidays
  •  Taking your child to their childcare provider

Childcare payments are made directly to your childcare provider. 

Before they can be paid:

  •  Your childcare provider needs to confirm your child's attendance 
  •  Your school or college needs to confirm that you're attending your course 

Travel payments go direct to your school or college - they'll either pay you or arrange travel for you 

Payments end when: 

  •  You stop attending your course
  •  You reach the end of your course
  •  Your child stops attending childcare

You can get Care to Learn if all of the following apply to you: 

  •  You're a parent under 20 at the start of your course
  •  You're the main carer for your child
  •  You live in England
  •  You're either a British citizen or have a legal right to live and study in England
  •  Your course qualifies 
  •  Your childcare provider qualifies 

Care to Learn is only available for publicly-funded courses in England. This includes courses that take place in: 

  •  Schools
  •  Sixth-Forms in schools
  •  Sixth-Forms in colleges
  •  Other colleges and learning providers, including Foundation Learning
  •  Your community at Children's Centre 

Your learning provider can tell you if your course is eligible.

To qualify, your childcare provider must be registered with Ofsted.

They can be a: 

  •  Childminder
  •  Preschool Playgroup
  •  Day Nursery 
  •  Out of school club

You're not eligible if: 

  •  You're an apprentice who gets a salary 
  •  You're doing a higher education course at university 

For further information please visit:

Learner Support

If you're aged 19 or over, on a further education course and facing financial hardship, you could receive Learner Support. 

You apply to your learning provider (for example your college) for Learner Support. How much you get depends on your circumstances.

The money can help pay for things like: 

  •  Accommodation and travel
  •  Course materials and equipment 
  •  Childcare - if you qualify 

Your learning provider (for example, a college) decides how much you get. It depends on their scheme and your circumstances. 

The money could be: 

  •  A direct payment to you - which you don't have to pay back 
  •  A loan - which you have to pay back 
  •  Paid to someone else, for example a landlord 

Your learning proivder decides how the money is paid to you. It depends on their scheme and what the money is for. 

Check with the student support staff at your college or the National Careers Service about other funding you could get. 

To receive Learner Support you must be: 

  •  19 or over
  •  Studying at a learning provider funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (check with your college) 

You must be 20 or over to get help with childcare costs. If you're 19, apply for Care to Learn instead. 

You can apply even if you get other types of funding, for example: 

  •  Professional and Career Development Loans
  •  Care to Learn
  •  Disability Living Allowance 

You can't claim if you're: 

  •  Getting student finance for higher education
  •  On a community learning course 

Apply directly to your learning provider (for example, a college) - they each have their own application process. 

Speak to your student support services to: 

  •  Get help applying
  •  Find out what's available

If you're not happy with the decision about your Learner Support, contact your learning provided to appeal it. 

For further information please visit:

University and College Hardship Funds

The Access to Learning Fund has been replaced. Contact your university or college to find out if you're eligible for extra money. 

You could get extra money from your university or college if you're experiencing financial hardship. You may be, for example: 

  •  A student with children, especially single parents
  •  A mature student with existing financial commitments
  •  From a low-income family
  •  Disabled
  •  A student that was previously in care (a 'care leaver') 
  •  Homeless or living in a foyer

What you'll get 

The amount you can get is decided by your university or college. It's paid in a limp sum or installments.

You usually won't have to pay the money back, but in some cases you'll get a loan that you have to repay. 

How to apply

Contact the student services department at your university or college - they'll decide if you qualify.

You'll need:

  •  A copy of your letter from Student Finance England showing how much student finance you'll get 
  •  Documents about your finances e.g. Bank statements and rent details 

Money from your university or college won't usually be counted as income when working out your entitlement to benefits or tax credits, unless it's for day - to - day living costs. 

Telephone: 0207 062 8933      Email: