Application of the 16-19 bursary fund

The 16 to 19 bursary fund provides financial support to help students overcome specific barriers to participation so they can remain in education.

There are two types of 16-19 bursaries.

  • A vulnerable bursary of up to £1,200 a year for young people in one of the defined vulnerable groups.
  • Discretionary bursaries that institutions award to meet individual needs. For example, transport, meals, books and equipment.

Bursary for vulnerable young people

The eligible groups are students who are:

  • in care;
  • care leavers;
  • in receipt of Income Support or Universal Credit because they are financially supporting themselves or financially supporting themselves and someone who is dependent on them and living with them, such as a child or partner; or
  • receiving Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments in their own right as well as Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit in their own right.

Please note that to qualify as eligible for a vulnerable student payment the young person does not have to live independently of their parents, they can claim Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit in their own right. Parents should note that they will not be able to claim Child Benefit for them if the young person’s claim for Employment and Support Allowance succeeds.

All young people in the identified vulnerable groups will receive their bursary payments from their academy. The payments will be made by BACS into their accounts or the account of a parent/guardian.

Students who meet the criteria for bursaries for vulnerable groups are not automatically entitled to a bursary if they do not have financial needs and/or their financial needs are covered from other sources.

Discretionary bursary

To be eligible for the discretionary bursary, students must be facing financial barriers to participation and need help to stay in education.

Providers are required to use their discretion to make awards to young people in ways that best fit the needs and circumstances of their students. Bursary awards should be targeted towards students facing barriers to participation, such as the cost of transport, meals, books and equipment/specialist materials.

Students aged between 16 and 19 studying in post 16 at the academy will be eligible to apply for bursary awards.

The academy is required to define which students should receive support and how much. The academy is required to manage the number and size of discretionary awards ensuring that we stay within budget and that awards made are targeted at those facing the most significant financial barriers to participation.

We will accept applications for bursary awards from those whose household income is less than £31,000 per year as evidenced by receipt of benefit and/or P60, Tax Credit Award Notice or evidence of self-employment income. Students previously in receipt of free school meals will also be eligible to apply. Young people with caring responsibilities, for example caring for a parent or other relative, are also eligible.

Students/parents wishing to apply for a bursary award will need to complete a bursary award application form. In many cases goods or services will be ordered and paid for directly by the academy, but in some cases payments may be made directly to the student following the receipt of evidence of goods or services purchased.

The following are examples of the types of goods and services that may be applied for.

  • School meals
  • Transport costs to and from school
  • Books
  • Specialist equipment

Students may also wish to apply for the:

  • purchase of a laptop;
  • cost of specialist materials (art and design or stationery);
  • cost of or contribution towards the cost of music tuition;
  • interview expenses (transport and accommodation);
  • cost of field study courses;
  • cost of or contribution towards transport to and from university open days;
  • contribution towards trips and study courses;
  • cost of or contribution towards participation in sport or other curricular activities;
  • cost of or contribution towards formal dress for school or interview; and
  • cost of or contribution towards post 16 dress code.

The fund available is very limited, but we want to enable all of our students to have equal access to all the academy has to offer. As a Trust, we are committed to promoting and enabling social mobility.

As a guide we are suggesting the following:

  • those with household incomes of less than £21,000 will be high priority;
  • those with household incomes of less than £25,000 will be medium priority; and
  • those with household incomes of less than £31,000 will be low priority.


We are required to stay within budget and so there is no guarantee that applications will be met in full or even at all. Where applications are refused there is a right of appeal. An initial appeal should be made in writing to the Principal. Beyond this, there is a right of appeal to the Head of Finance, Diverse Academies Trust.


The Education Funding Agency does not expect the bursary to be paid into another person’s account, except in exceptional circumstances where a student is unable to administer their own account. If the student is in one of the vulnerable groups and cannot manage their own funds, the academy will need to consider who is going to manage the bursary on the student’s behalf.

Students aged 16 can open a basic bank account. The basic bank account will allow BACS transfers and allow the student to withdraw money. More information on basic bank accounts can be found at British Bankers’ Association.

All applications will be considered and dealt with in confidence.