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Students in England leave school at 16 but must continue with their education or training until they reach 18. They can go on to study full-time at college or start an apprenticeship or traineeship.

If they’d prefer to start working, they can do this alongside part-time education or training. But if you’re struggling with money as a student, is there any financial help available to you? Let’s find out.

16 to 19 Bursary Fund

All students aged between 16 and 19 could get a bursary towards education-related costs. But they have to be studying at a college in England or be on a training course – work experience is also included in this.

The bursary is for day-to-day costs such as transport, lunch, books, equipment for the course and clothing. There are two types of bursaries available – vulnerable student bursary and discretionary bursary.

Vulnerable student bursary

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

• You’re currently in or have recently left local authority care.

• You receive Income Support (or Universal Credit) in your name.

• You’re disabled and get Employment and Support Allowance (or Universal Credit) and either Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

The full bursary amount is for students with expenses who study full-time on a course that lasts at least 30 weeks. If your course is shorter, you study part time or have few expenses then you’ll usually get less or no bursary.

You may have to provide evidence of the benefits that you receive.

Discretionary bursary

If you don’t qualify for a vulnerable student bursary, you could get a discretionary bursary. Education and training providers will decide the amount you can get and what you should use it for. Get in touch with your student services for more information about their criteria.

You could receive the bursary in one lump sum or instalments. You might get this in your bank account, in cash or by cheque. Bear in mind that you might not always receive money – you could receive help in the form of a travel pass, free meals or books. You could also get one-off payments to cover the cost of a study trip or travel to a university interview.

To claim the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund, apply to your school, college or training provider. Student services or a tutor should be able to explain what you need to do. You might need to reapply for the bursary for each year of your course.

You can’t claim the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund if you’re a student in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland but you might be able to claim Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA).

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