Learner support - 16-19 bursary

The 16 to 19 bursary scheme helps 16 to 19-year-olds continue in full-time education, where they might otherwise struggle for financial reasons.


It is made up of two parts:

  • a bursary of £1,200 a year to the most vulnerable young people
  • and a discretionary fund for schools and colleges to distribute.

Around 12,000 16 to 19-year-olds will be given guaranteed bursaries of £1,200 a year. This group is made up of children in care, care leavers, those on income support and those in receipt of both Employment Support Allowance and Disability Living Allowance.

Schools and colleges can distribute the rest of the money to support any student who faces genuine financial barriers to participation, such as costs of transport, food or equipment. They will have the freedom to decide the scale and frequency of bursary payments. We expect schools and colleges to make sure students who receive the bursary meet agreed standards, for example behaviour or attendance.

To be eligible to receive a 16 to 19 bursary, the young person must be aged under 19 at the start of the academic year in which they start their programme of study. Where a young person turns 19 during their programme of study, they can continue to be supported to the end of the academic year in which they turn 19, or to the end of the programme of study, whichever is sooner.

Bursaries are not be paid to:

  • young people on higher education (HE) courses, with the exception of those participating in HE access courses or courses of HE falling within paragraph 1(g) or 1(h) of schedule 6 to the Education Reform Act 1988, provided the courses are funded under the 16-18 learner responsive model

  • young people on waged apprenticeships

  • young people in prison or a young offender institution or who have been released on temporary licence, for example, day release.

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