13: Post 16 Funding: Supporting education and training beyond compulsory schooling

Local Authorities have on-going responsibilities to support Children in Care as they make the transition to adulthood.  This means supporting them to continue their education and training. The Government has, as you would expect, issued many papers in its quest to provide fair funding for all students starting post 16 education. There was a “16-19 Funding Formula Consultation” to finalise what was needed to support students

What does this actually mean for students?

When a young person has decided on the course and the college they want to attend then they should look at the college home page to become familiar with what they offer, from a financial point of view, and how they should apply for any benefits as all colleges may have slightly different forms and procedures.

There is finance available for several things but some come with an eligibility criteria. Here are four things a student may be eligible for: 

  1. Student Bursary
  2. Free Meals
  3. Travel Grant ( usually available to students living 4 miles or more from College)
  4. 19+ Hardship Fund

The monies for these are given from the Education Funding Agency to support students. This funding is to support eligible students studying further education courses funded by the EFA.

Taken from: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk’

The allocation of funds is linked to the individual needs of the students and the college can use up to 5% of the total allocations (except for the Further Education Free Meals Fund) to meet the costs of administering the funds.

The student is expected to use the funds to support the following, where these are not normally provided by the college:

  • A daily meal/drink to the value of £2.41 per day
  • Travel costs to/from College, work placements, trips and visits and sporting activities
  • Examination Re-sit fees (in accordance with the College’s Re-sit Policy)
  • Essential uniforms and specialist clothing
  • Specialist course equipment and text books/publications (excluding stationery)
  • Specialist training costs provided by external organisations e.g. first aid qualifications
  • DBS clearance checks where required for course related work placements
  • Specialist tuition provided by external organisations e.g. music instrument teachers
  • Costs associated with course related trips/visits e.g. hotel accommodation, venue entry charges (this does not include the cost of meals/drinks unless the student is eligible for Free Meals in which case funding will be provided to the value of £2.41 per day)

Further Education Free Meals Fund : To be eligible for a daily free meal, the student or their parent/guardian/carer must be in receipt of one or more of the following benefits:

  • Income Support or Universal Credit
  • Income related Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guarantee element of the State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit) and have annual gross income of no more than £16,190 as assessed by HMRC
  • Working Tax Credit run on – paid for 4 weeks after stopping qualifying for Working Tax Credit

Application Process

Students may be required to complete application forms from the institution where they wish to study. Forms should be available from Student services and they should be filled in and returned to the college. Normally the following documentation will be needed as proof:

  • Evidence of the qualifying benefits detailed above e.g. an award notice or letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or the HMRC

Method by Which Support Provided

On each day a student is studying in College they will be entitled to food/drinks obtained from the College restaurant, to the value of £2.41. Whilst on College related work placements or trips/visits each student may be provided with luncheon vouchers to obtain food/drinks from participating shops/cafes (check with the chosen college on their protocol). Where the provision of vouchers is not feasible the College will provide an alternative option which will be determined prior to the visit.

16-18 Bursary Fund : The 16-18 Bursary Fund is broken down into 3 priority groups as follows:

Priority Group 1 – Guaranteed Bursary

To be eligible for a Guaranteed Bursary the student must be aged under 19 on the 31 August 2015 and meet one of the criteria below:

  • In care or recent care leaver
  • In receipt of Income Support or Universal Credit
  • In receipt of both Employment Support Allowance and Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments

Application Process:

Students are required to provide one or more of the following documentation:

  • A letter from the Local Authority Children’s’ Services confirming “Looked After” or “leaving Care” status
  • Letter from the Benefits Agency confirming receipt of Income Support or Universal Credit
  • Letter from the Benefits Agency confirming Employment Support Allowance and Disabled Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments

Support Provided:

Each student is guaranteed a bursary of £1,200 per 36 week course (or pro rata for shorter courses or students who start late) Payments are made weekly in arrears by direct transfer to the student’s bank account. Weekly payments of £30 are made with the remainder being paid at the end of the academic year (correct for the year 2015/15).

Priority Group 2 – Discretionary 16-18 Bursary

To be eligible for funding from the 16-18 discretionary bursary, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Be under 19 yrs old on the 31st August 2015
  • Be in receipt of the benefits described under the Further Education Free Meals Fund or
  • Have a combined “Household Income” below £30,000 (Household Income relates to the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the student)

Application Process:

Students will be required to complete a Free Meals / Bursary Application Form and submit it along with one or more of the following documentation:

  • Evidence of the qualifying benefits detailed above e.g. an award notice or letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or the HMRC
  • In order to prove combined household income:
  • Most recent P60 and two recent payslips for the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the student
  • For self-employed individuals an SA200 or Self Assessed Tax Return and six months recent bank statements

Method by Which Support Provided:

  • A minimum weekly payment between £5 and £10 (depending on household income) paid directly into the nominated bank account

In order to receive the weekly payment the student must meet the attendance requirement of 95%.

All the above funding awards are subject to funding availability.

Students are expected to notify the college if their reasons for eligibility change and they no longer meet the eligibility criteria.

Priority Group 3 – Discretionary 16-18 Bursary Emergency Payments

To be eligible for emergency payments, students must meet the criteria set out in Priority Groups 1 or 2.

Types of Support:

The funds can be used to support the following:

  • Severe financial hardship due to a domestic emergency

Application Process:

Students who have not already done so, are required to complete the Student Free Meals / Bursary Application Form and return this to the Student Information Desk together with the evidence detailed under Priority Groups 1 or 2.

Method by Which Support Provided:

Financial assistance will be agreed on an exceptional basis with the Assistant Principal Student Services. Funding is provided on a case by case basis and each case does not set a precedent for other applications.

19+ Hardship Fund:

Students who do not meet the age criteria for the 16-18 Bursary may still be entitled to the same support. Students must complete the Student Free Meals / Bursary Application Form, providing the same evidence and they will be notified of the support they are eligible to receive.

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