Post 16 financial support

As a student you generally receive free education up to the age of 19. After that age you may have to pay for your course yourself. However, there are certain groups who may not have to pay any fees or who may be eligible for financial support.

If you have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) plan, you may be eligible for funding up to age 25 but there is no automatic entitlement to education provision and your EHCP will cease once you enter Higher Education.

Your education provider will be able to advise you about any additional funding required for the course of study that you want to follow and how to apply for it.

16 - 19 Bursary Fund

There are two types of bursary - the Vulnerable Student bursary and Discretionary bursary.

You could get help with the costs of your education through a bursary fund if you’re aged 16 to 19 and:

  • studying at a publicly funded school or college in England - not a university
  • on a training course, including unpaid work experience
  • in Care or a Care Leaver
  • receiving certain benefits

If you’re 19 and over you could also get a bursary if you either:

  • are continuing on a course you started aged 16 to 18; or
  • have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

A bursary is money that you, or your education or training provider, can use to pay for things like:

  • clothing, books and other equipment for your course
  • transport and lunch on days you study or train

Learn more about the 16 - 19 Bursary Fund.

Care to Learn

You can claim Care to Learn if you are:

  • under 20
  • caring for your own child
  • doing a publicly funded course or training programme at school or college (fathers are eligible if they are the main carer).

An application for Care to Learn funding can be made as soon as you have a confirmed offer of a course.

Disabled Students’ Allowance

EHC Plans cannot continue for young people who move on to Higher Education. If you have a learning difficulty, a health problem or disability and are going on to Higher Education the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) can support you to cover the study-related costs you have because of a mental health problem, long term illness or any other disability.

Learn more about Disabled Students Allowance.

19+ Discretionary Learner Support funding

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

Learner Support funding can help pay for things you need to attend your course or study that are not covered by your course fees.

The money could help with, for example:

  • travel costs
  • accommodation
  • materials and equipment
  • a laptop and wifi
  • childcare with an Ofsted-registered childcare provider.

Apply directly to your learning provider (for example, a college) - who will have their own application process or speak to your student support services to get help applying or find out what’s available.

Your learning provider decides how much you get and how it’s paid to you this will depend on their scheme and your circumstances.

Learn more about 19+ Discretionary Learner Support funding

Access to Work grant

The Access to Work grant can help you get or stay in work if you have a physical or mental health condition or disability.

The support you get will depend on your assessed needs. Through Access to Work, you could apply for:

  • a grant to help pay for practical support with your work
  • support with managing your mental health at work
  • money to pay for communication support at job interviews

Learn more about the Access to Work grant.

There may be other funding options available to you which you can learn about on the Disability Rights UK website.