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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. It can also be used for transport and lunch on days you study or train.

You could get a bursary to help with education-related costs if you're aged 16 to 19 and:

  • studying at school or college (not university) in England
  • on a training course, including unpaid apprenticeships

There are two types of 16 to 19 bursary:

Vulnerable student bursary

You could get a bursary worth up to £1,200, depending on your circumstances and any benefits you receive.


You could be eligible if at least one of the following applies:

  • you're in care
  • you're a care leaver
  • you're getting Income Support, or Universal Credit because you’re financially supporting yourself or are financially supporting yourself and someone who is dependent on you and living with you, for example, your child or your partner
  • you're getting Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments and Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit. You must be getting both benefits in your own right.

If you're a parent, you'll also need to be living away from your own parents to qualify. You may get 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, if you study part-time or have few expenses. You'll be told what evidence you need, e.g. benefit letters.

Discretionary bursary

You could get 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

Education and training providers set their own criteria for discretionary bursaries, e.g. they might look at family income. Ask student services about their criteria and any evidence you'll need.

How your bursary is paid

Your learning provider will decide how you get your bursary. You might be:

  • paid in full or in instalments
  • paid in cash, by cheque, or through a bank account
  • given a travel pass, free meals and books instead of money

Some providers also offer one-off payments to cover study trips or travel for interviews.

Your provider could stop payments if you break their rules, e.g. about attendance or how your bursary is used.

How to claim

Apply to your school, college or training provider. Ask student services or your tutor to explain what you need to do.

When to apply

Once you know where you'll study or train - so you'll get your bursary as soon as possible. You might need to reapply for a bursary for each year of your course. Check with your provider.

Further information

Your teacher, tutor or student services can help you decide if you're eligible for a bursary and explain how to apply. If you have a question they can't answer, you can contact the Education Funding Agency (EFA), or they might do this for you.

Education Funding Agency (EFA)

Email: for more detailed guidance on the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund.

Government guidance on the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund