A female equine student with a white horse at East Durham College's Houghall Campus

Student 16 to 19 Bursary Scheme - Defined Vulnerable Groups

The 16 to 19 Bursary Fund provides financial support to help students overcome the specific financial barriers to participation they face so they can remain in education.

16 to 19 Bursary Fund

There are 2 types of 16 to 19 bursaries:

  • bursaries for defined vulnerable groups of up to £1,200 a year - detailed below
  • discretionary bursaries which institutions award using policies they set, in line with funding rules

The College provides an application process for financial support that is completely confidential and we encourage any student who thinks they may be eligible or encountering financial costs associated with college that could be a barrier to their participation at college to contact Student Services for a confidential consultation.

Age Eligibility

A student must be aged 16 or over but under 19 at 31st August of the year they enrol to be eligible for help from the bursary fund.

Students aged 19 or over are only eligible to receive a discretionary bursary if they are continuing on a study programme they began aged 16 to 18 (‘19+ continuers’) or have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

These 2 groups of aged 19+ students can receive a discretionary bursary while they continue to attend education (in the case of a 19+ continuer, this must be the same programme they started before they turned 19), as long as their eligibility continues and their institution considers they need the support to continue their participation.

Students aged 19 or over are not eligible for bursaries for vulnerable groups.

Defined Vulnerable Groups Bursary

Eligibility criteria: bursaries for young people in defined vulnerable groups

Students who meet the criteria, and who have a financial need, can apply for a bursary for vulnerable groups. The defined groups reflect that these students are unlikely to be receiving financial assistance from parents or carers, so may need a greater level of support to enable them to continue to participate.

Students are awarded the amount of support they need to participate based on an assessment by the college of the types of costs they have. The College must ensure students are eligible for the bursary for defined vulnerable groups in each year they require support.

The defined vulnerable groups are students who are:

  • in care
  • care leavers
  • receiving 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
  • 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

How Much May You Receive

The bursary for vulnerable groups can pay up to £1,200 per year to a student participating on study programme that lasts for 30 weeks or more if they need that amount of support. Students on study programmes of less than 30 weeks are paid a pro-rata amount.

Institutions are asked to also consider the number of hours involved in a student’s study programme when deciding if a pro-rata payment is more appropriate. A student studying for around 16 hours a week is likely to have greater costs than a student studying for 4 hours a week, for example.

Students who meet the criteria for bursaries for vulnerable groups are not automatically entitled to a bursary. The College may decide that although a young person may be eligible for a bursary because they are in one or more of the defined vulnerable groups, they do not have any actual financial need. This might be because their financial needs are already met from other sources and/or because they have no relevant costs. The College can therefore refuse a student’s application on this basis. Similarly, students should only receive the amount they actually need to participate and institutions should not automatically award students £1,200 if they do not need the full amount.

Equally, institutions can pay a bursary to a vulnerable group student of more than £1,200 if they assess they need extra help to remain in education. Any payments over £1,200 must be paid from the College's discretionary bursary allocation if funds are available.

More government guidelines can be seen here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/16-to-19-bursary-fund-guide-2020-to-2021-academic-year

Contact Us

Student bursary support is complex, for more details, please call Student Services on 0191 518 8222.

PLEASE NOTE: Students on apprenticeship programmes, or any waged training, are employed, rather than in education. They are not eligible for the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund. Non-employed students aged 16 to 19 who are participating in a Prince’s Trust Team Programme are eligible to receive the bursary in the same way as any other student participating in an eligible, publicly funded course.