Help from the college

Last updated: 04/11/2020

This information explains who is eligible for financial help, what the money is for and how much you will get.

Who can get help from the college

If you are from the UK or EU and have been resident in the UK, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for three years or more immediately before the first day of the first year of study you are eligible for help from the college.

You must also be studying an eligible further education course.

If you have had support previously you may not be entitled to more or the amount you get may be reduced.

The Scottish Government has stated that EU students will not be affected by Brexit if they have already started their course when a decision is made about the future of the UK in Europe.

Students who do not fulfil these conditions may still be entitled to some support so should check with the college.

Money to live on while studying

The money you have to live on will be a combination of a bursary from the college, welfare benefits and earnings if you work while studying.

Which of these and how much you get depends on your circumstances.

Money to pay tuition fees

As long as you are eligible for help from the college you will not have to pay tuition fees unless you have already received this help in the past.

Maintenance bursary

The maintenance bursary is money to live on while you study. Students getting a bursary do not have to look for work or take a job while studying. Most single parent (independent) students will be given one of 2 amounts depending on what other benefits they receive.

  1. You will get the full bursary, of £106.53 per week, if you are getting tax credits and/or housing benefit when you start studying. You will continue to get tax credits and housing benefit while at college but the bursary will replace jobseekers allowance if you were getting it for yourself.
  2. If you are getting universal credit, or claim universal credit when you start your course, you will get a bursary of £28 per week. This amount is smaller than the full bursary so it does not affect your universal credit award.

If you work at the same time as studying your earnings will affect how much working tax credit, housing benefit or universal credit you get but will not affect the bursary.

Maintenance bursaries are discretionary so there is no guarantee you will get one.

Apply at the college.

If you are a single parent but live with your parents and they get benefits for you and your child, you will get the Educational Maintenance Allowance instead of a bursary.

Educational Maintenance Allowance

The Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is a payment of £30 per week for 16-19 year olds who continue in further education after age 16. Bonuses are also available.

Students must be at school or college full time and have good attendance. The family income needs to be below £24,421 p/a or £26,884 p/a if more than one student in the family is eligible.

The EMA is paid fortnightly into the student’s bank account during term time and does not affect entitlement to other benefits.

Application packs are available from schools, colleges and the local council.

If you are living with your parents and they are getting benefits for you and your child you will get the EMA rather than a bursary if eligible.

Your children may get the EMA if they stay on at school after leaving age.

Care Experienced Bursary

If you are 16 or over and have ever been in the care of the local authority you can apply for the Care Experienced Bursary rather than a maintenance bursary. Care includes having been in foster, kinship and residential care.

The bursary is £202.50 per week. It will affect universal credit so you may be better off getting the £28 maintenance bursary instead. The college will calculate which is best for you.

Contact the college for more information and to apply.

Help to pay for childcare

You can get up to £1,215 p/a towards the cost of registered childcare from the Lone Parent Childcare Grant if you are studying full-time. There may also be extra money available from discretionary funds. Help with childcare costs does not affect any welfare benefits or bursary you are getting.

Apply through the college.

Discretionary funds

This money is available directly from the college usually for help with things like books, equipment, travel and childcare costs. Discretionary funds are limited so the college decides how to administer them based on your individual circumstances.

This money does not affect welfare benefits or the bursary.

If you have financial difficulties while studying you should always ask a student financial adviser if there is help from the discretionary fund before leaving your course.

Travel expenses

You may get help towards paying for travel to college.

This money does not affect welfare benefits or the bursary.

Ask at the college for details.

Money for disabled students

There is specific support and financial help for students with an illness or disability that affects their ability to study or attend college.

If you are affected by a disability or illness contact the college for information on how they can help.