There are no costs to studying at college if you are between the ages of 16-19 as the costs of tuition and exams are paid for by the college from the money it receives from the government.

If you travel to college via train or bus, you may be able to apply for a reduced price season ticket which will reduce the cost of your travel. The college will provide all essential equipment for free, while you may have to pay for the costs of some equipment and materials.

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Once you are aged between 16-19 and studying at school or college you may be entitled to funding to help you with childcare costs, living costs, transport etc. Check with your college to see how they can you help with this, they may also have their own funding for you to access, and will also have the revelant forms for you to fill in. For more information about what you might be entitled to, please see below:

England

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

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
  • transport and lunch on days you study or train

There are 2 types of 16 to 19 bursary.

  1. Vulnerable student bursary - worth up to £1,200 depending on your circumstances and benefits.
  2. Discretionary bursary - available 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.

Your provider will decide how you get your bursary and you might be:

  • paid in full or in instalments
  • paid in cash, by cheque or through a bank account
  • given through a travel pass, free meals, books etc instead of money
  • Furthermore, some providers also offer one-off payments to cover study trips or travel for university interviews.

To be eligible for a bursary, 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
Northern Ireland

Money to Learn Education Maintenance Allowance

If you decide to stay on at school or go to a further education college, you may be able to get the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), which is available for both academic and vocational courses.

EMA is a weekly award of £30 which is paid fortnightly to students whose households fall within certain income thresholds and who stay on in education after they reach statutory leaving age (after the end of their compulsory schooling). EMA is intended to help cover the day-to-day costs that you have to meet when you stay on at school or college like travel costs, books and equipment for your course.

You can get an EMA if:

  • you are aged 16, 17, 18 or 19 years on or between 2 July 2013 and 1 July 2014
  • if your household income is £20,500 or less for households with one dependent child
  • if your household income is £22,500 or less for households with more than one dependent child
  • you are full time at school or doing a minimum of 15 guided hours per week at college, studying an eligible course and attending all classes
  • you meet the nationality and residency rules set out in the EMA scheme
  • you have not already received the maximum allowance for EMA, which is 117 positive or negative weekly attendance confirmations over the total length of your course

You may be entitled to receive their EMA for a maximum of three years, as long as the household income does not rise above the income threshold which applies to your household. The EMA is available over a four-year period for those young people who may need additional time in further education to achieve their full potential.

The main types of qualifications you have to be enrolled on to gain EMA are:

  • GCSEs
  • A levels
  • NVQ/SVQ level 1, 2 or 3
  • Pre U
  • BTEC National Diploma, National Certificate and First Diploma
  • Baccalaureate
  • SCE higher grade or similar

Training for Success

Training for Success is a programme designed for young people aged 16-17 (up to 24 years for those requiring additional support); which guarantees training of up to 104 weeks (156 weeks for those with a disability) to help you gain the recognised skills and qualifications to help you progress in your chosen career.

Training for Success is delivered across four strands:

  • Skills for your life- will help you address personal and development needs and gain skills and qualifications you need to get a job or progress to higher level education or training.
  • Skills for Work Level 1 and 2 - will help you gain skills and vocationally related qualifications to be able to gain employment or progress to the next level of training provision or to further education.
  • Skills for Work Level 3 - will help you work towards the achievement of level 3 qualifications. This is aimed at those who have gained a level 2 qualification through Training for Success, have not yet secured paid employment and who still possess training entitlement.

You will be required to achieve targeted qualification in each of the four areas outlined below:

  • personal and social development
  • employability skills
  • professional and technical skills
  • essential skills in communication, application of number and ICT 

In addition you will receive job experience and job sampling based on your needs and the opportunity to experience different workplaces, and be able to decide what sort of work suits you best.

If you go into training through Training for Success you will automatically qualify for a non means-tested Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) of £40 per week. In addition you will receive Participant Bonuses at various stages of your training from your Training Supplier.

For more information, please see NI Direct

Scotland

Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is an income-assessed weekly allowance of £30 to help you with the cost of further education. It is paid every two weeks directly into your bank account. It provides young people, who wish to continue in education after school leaving age, with an incentive to earn awards through good attendance and achieving agreed objectives. Receipt of EMA will not affect any benefits which are currently paid to your household.

You can receive EMA if:  

  • you are aged 16-19 
  • if your household income is £20,351 or less for households with one dependent child
  • if your household income is £22,403 or less for households with more than one dependent child
  • you have 100% weekly attendance
Wales

Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is an income-assessed weekly allowance of £30 to help you with the cost of further education. It is paid every two weeks directly into your bank account. It provides young people, who wish to continue in education after school leaving age, with an incentive to earn awards through good attendance and achieving agreed objectives.

If you’re new to EMA in 2014/15 you could get £30 a week, paid every two weeks if:

  • you are aged 16-19
  • you are an independent student 
  • your household income is £20,817 or less for households with one dependent child
  • your household income is £23,077 or less for households with more than one dependent child