In the UK, sixth form or college is free to 16- 19-year-olds. However, we can often forget that there still are so many little costs involved with continuing education at this age. From your travel costs to paying for textbooks to going on trips and all of those other hidden expenses. While they can seem little, they can often end up being pretty hefty costs that some may not quite be able to cover.
However, there are schemes intended to help with these costs. This includes the 16 to 19 bursary fund.
In this article, we’ll take you through exactly what this scheme is, how it works and who can benefit from it. Continue reading to learn all of this and to get much asked questions relating to 16 to 19 bursary fund.
Table of Contents
What is the 16 to 19 bursary fund?
First things first, let’s look at what the 16 to 19 bursary fund actually is.
To do this, it can help to look at what a typical bursary is. A bursary in itself is “free money” or a form of financial aid that is often means-tested and designed to help you cover the costs of studying. You can learn more about what bursaries are in this Think Student article.
In this way, the 16 to 19 bursary fund is a type of bursary that gives students financial aid to help them cover the costs associated with continuing education in sixth form or college. This bursary is offered by the government and is designed to encourage students to continue into further education as they have less to worry about in terms of the costs involved.
You can learn more about what this bursary is by checking out this page on the government website.
Who is eligible for the 16 to 19 bursary fund?
With the name ‘16 to 19 bursary fund’, it doesn’t take much to guess the category of students who this funding is aimed at. However, the criteria are slightly more complicated than just this and there are even a few exceptions to the age range rule.
First things first, the 16 to 19 bursary fund is primarily for students, who are aged between 16 and 19 years old. This is as long as they have already reached compulsory school age and have left school and as long as they will be under 19 by the 31st of August in the same school year.
However, in some circumstances, those eligible for this scheme may be older than 19. This is the case if the student in question is a 19+ continuer or if they have an EHCP.
The term 19+ continuer refers to a student who is carrying on with a course that they started when they were 16- 18 years old. For example, if a student is repeating a year of sixth form, in their final year, they would become a 19+ continuer.
EHCP stands for Education Health and Care Plan. An EHCP is for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities up to the age of 25. You can learn more about it in this page from the government website.
As previously mentioned, bursaries are often means- tested. This means that whether you are eligible for the bursary and how much you can get from it is dependent on how much you need it.
When it comes to the 16 to 19 bursary fund, there are 2 types of bursary depending on which eligibility criteria you meet. These are the bursary for students in vulnerable groups and the discretionary bursary.
Look at the following sections to see the eligibility requirements for these two types of bursary. The information on this section and in the following is sourced from this page on the government website.
Who is eligible for the 16 to 19 bursary for students in vulnerable groups?
As previously mentioned, there are two types of bursary that come under the umbrella of the 16 to 19 bursary fund. The first one of these is the bursary for students in vulnerable groups.
This bursary’s eligibility criteria are exactly as it sounds. As a result, to be eligible for the bursary for students in vulnerable groups, you need to fall into one of the following categories.
- Students who are in care or who have recently left care.
- Students who get Income Support or Universal Credit because they are financially supporting themselves.
- Students who get Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in their own name and either Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit.
Who is eligible for the 16 to 19 discretionary bursary?
The other type of bursary under the 16 to 19 bursary fund is the discretionary bursary. Unlike the bursary for students in vulnerable groups, this type is more directly controlled by your education provider.
For the discretionary bursary, you will need to meet the eligibility criteria that is set by your own sixth form or college.
This will generally be based on your individual circumstances and your family income. To find out more, it’s best to contact your own sixth form or college to get specific information into their policies.
For the eligibility requirements, another difference with the discretionary bursary is that students over the age of 19 may be able to apply for it. As mentioned above, these students will need to be either 19+ continuers or students with an EHCP.
Can you get the 16 to 19 bursary fund if you’re on an apprenticeship?
In the UK, there are many different post-16 routes that students can choose to take. While these may adhere to the traditional format of learning, which would take place in a college or sixth form, there are also other forms of education, including apprenticeships.
As the nature of an apprenticeship is so different to that of traditional education, it brings up the question of whether it is an accepted form of education for students to be eligible for the 16 to 19 bursary fund. This is especially as whether or not it is even considered a form of full-time education is dependent on the circumstances. For more on this, check out this Think Student article.
Simply put, no, apprentices, even when between the ages of 16 and 19 aren’t eligible for the 16 to 19 bursary fund. This also applies to other forms of “waged” training or education.
Therefore, apprentices are not eligible for the bursary as they are already getting paid, which as a result, is what should be covering the little costs involved with their apprenticeship training. For more information about this, check out this guide by the Department for Education.
While apprentices don’t have access to the 16 to 19 bursary fund, they are entitled to some kinds of financial aid/ discounts. You can learn more about these in this Think Student article.
How much do you get on the 16 to 19 bursary fund?
As previously mentioned, there are two kinds of bursary that come under the umbrella of the 16 to 19 bursary fund. Along with having different eligibility criteria, these two kinds of bursary also work slightly differently. This is in terms of how students receive the funding but also in terms of what and how much they are entitled to receive as a part of the 16 to 19 bursary fund.
Look at the following section to see how much you get for each of the bursaries under this scheme. The information below is taken from this page on the government website as well as from this guide by the government.
How much do you get on the 16 to 19 bursary for students in vulnerable groups?
The first kind of bursary under the 16 to 19 bursary fund scheme is the bursary for students in vulnerable groups. While we’ve already established what these groups are, it’s also important to note that before getting funding, this eligibility is verified with some kind of official documentation. This applies for both types of bursary.
However, for the bursary for students in vulnerable groups, this is even more important. This is because a financial needs assessment must be carried out to confirm just how much financial aid the student actually needs.
The maximum amount that the student can receive as a part of this bursary is £1,200. However, not all applicants will receive this maximum amount and it will all be dependent on the results of the financial needs assessment.
How the student receives the bursary amount that they’re entitled to will depend on the situation. However, it will always be confirmed in a letter to the student.
How much do you get on the 16 to 19 discretionary bursary?
As previously mentioned, the discretionary bursary of the 16 to 19 bursary fund scheme is much more in the control of your sixth form or college rather than being quite as standardised as the bursary for students in vulnerable groups is. Due to this, there isn’t quite a set amount for how much you will get.
In fact, students won’t generally be able to actually get money from this bursary.
Instead, the bursary works by providing the students, who were deemed eligible by the education provider’s own criteria, with items and services that will help them with the costs of continuing their education. For example, they may be provided with a bus pass to help with transport costs or free school meals so that they don’t have to worry about the costs of food while at school.
We’ll look at what else students may be able to receive from the 16 to 19 bursary fund’s discretionary bursary below.
However, it’s most important to note that unlike the other bursary under this scheme, with the discretionary bursary, students won’t be receiving block or flat rate payments. Instead, what they receive will directly reflect the costs that they have, even if this is in the form of a cash payment.
How much is the 16 to 19 bursary fund a week?
As previously mentioned, how much a student will get from the 16 to 19 bursary fund will fully depend on their situation and what they are eligible to receive. As the discretionary bursary doesn’t provide regular payments or even block or blanket payments but rather covers specific costs, there is no way to try and calculate just how much the student would be receiving each week.
However, for the bursary for students in vulnerable groups, how much a student gets per week is based on how much it is deemed that they will need and how long their course is meant to last for.
As previously mentioned, the maximum amount that a student can receive with this bursary is £1,200. However, this is only if their course is to last 30 weeks or longer within each academic year.
If the student is doing a course shorter than this, the maximum amount they can receive will be calculated from this. This is to mean that if there were 2 students, who were deemed to need the same level of financial aid, but were courses of different lengths, both would receive the same amount per week.
If they were eligible for the maximum amount, this would amount to £40 per week for a 30-week course or a shorter one. However, if the student’s course follows the typical academic year, it would last 39 weeks.
Therefore, the student would receive slightly less per week, at approximately £30.77, as £1,200 is the maximum total amount.
You can learn more about how long the academic year lasts from this Think Student article. For more information about how much a student would get each week from the 16 to 19 bursary fund for the 2023- 24 academic year, check out this page on the government website.
What can you use the 16 to 19 bursary fund for?
Regardless of which type of bursary, the 16 to 19 bursary fund as a whole is designed to help students with the costs involved when continuing education after completing their GCSEs. As a result, this funding can only be used for education related costs.
However, you might be wondering what exactly this includes. There are many different things that can come under education-related costs, such as the following.
- Clothing, such as a uniform, for your course.
- Books and textbooks.
- Course specific equipment. For example, art materials, calculators, etc.
- Free meals or meal vouchers.
- Bus passes and other transport costs.
- Study trips.
- Travel for university interviews.
It’s important to note that these are just some of the things that can be covered by the 16 to 19 bursary fund and there may be others. For more information about these education-related costs covered by the 16 to 19 bursary fund, check out this page on the government website as well as this guide by the government.
Is the 16 to 19 bursary fund available throughout the UK?
Each of the UK countries have slightly different policies when it comes to education and how the systems and funding works. This is also the case for the 16 to 19 bursary fund, meaning that no, it is not available throughout the UK.
The 16 to 19 bursary fund is the financial aid scheme for students continuing education in England. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland there are instead education maintenance allowance (EMA) schemes, run separately for each country. For more information about this, check out this page on the government website.
However, it can get a bit confusing when considering students, who go to sixth form or college in England but live in another part of the UK, or vice versa. Due to borders, this is mainly only applicable to students from or studying in Wales and Scotland.
Look at the following sections to see whether the 16 to 19 bursary fund is available to students from or studying in Wales and Scotland. The information below is sourced from this page on the government website.
Is the 16 to 19 bursary fund available for students in Wales?
If the student lives in England but studies in Wales, then they are still eligible to receive the bursary for students in vulnerable groups, if they already meet the eligibility requirements. Instead of applying through their education provider as they normally would, this would be done through the local council of where they live.
If a student lives in Wales but attends sixth form or college in England, they will not be eligible for the 16 to 19 bursary for students in vulnerable groups and instead should apply for the Welsh education maintenance allowance (EMA).
However, these students may be eligible to receive aid from the 16 to 19 discretionary bursary through their education provider in England. Whether they will be able to receive aid and how much this is will depend on what they are able to get from the Welsh EMA.
Is the 16 to 19 bursary fund available for students in Scotland?
If the student lives in England but attends sixth form or college in Scotland, they will not be eligible for the Scottish education maintenance allowance and so will need to apply for the 16 to 19 bursary fund if they meet the requirements to do so. Once again, this will need to be done through their local council in England rather than through their education provider.
The same is true for a Scottish student studying or training in England as they will not be eligible for the 16 to 19 bursary fund, including the discretionary bursary. Therefore, they will need to apply through their local council in Scotland for the Scottish EMA.