Further Education Support Funds
The intention of Support Funds is to help students who are inhibited by financial considerations from accessing and participating in further education. They may also give financial help to those who, for whatever reason including physical or other disabilities, face financial difficulties.
If you are a student who is entitled to a student loan or Further Education Bursary but have not received the loan cheque or bursary at the beginning of term, then Support Funds may also provide help.
Bear in mind that these funds are limited and discretionary, and that each college may apply their own eligibility priorities within the overall principles to take account of local needs. If you want to apply for Support Funds contact your local Further Education College to check eligibility and availability.
Eligible Students and Cost Assistance
The Support Funds are available to the following categories of students and assist with these related costs:
Part-time students aged 19 and over
Part-time students aged 19 and over on an externally accredited vocational course and who meet the residence requirements as they apply to student support in accordance with the Education (Sudent Support) Regulations (Northern Ireland).
The assistance available covers Tuition-fee remission and/or living and associated costs. Tuition-fee remission may only be given to part-time students who:-
- have lost their jobs during their course of study
- are in receipt of Income Support, Income and related Job Seeker's Allowance, Housing Benefit or Working Tax Credit where income is below the lower income threshold
- are not in receipt of tuition fee support under the Education (Student Support) Regulations (Northern Ireland)
The amounts dispersed in respect of tuition fees will not be more than the fees normally charged in respect of the courses being followed.
Full-time students aged 19 and over
Who is not eligible?
You can't claim if you are:
- under 16
- an Asylum Seeker aged over 19
- receiving full public funding for higher education
- on a learndirect course
- on an apprenticeship training scheme
- on a Work Based Learning course
- on an Adult & Community Learning course (ACL)
How much do you get?
Schools and colleges set their own criteria and manage their own procedures. This means that the amounts available, and the way funds are allocated, may differ between institutions. Some funds, including childcare and residential funds, have maximum amounts available.
How is it paid?
If you qualify, funding could take the form of a direct payment to you, or a payment to someone else on your behalf (for example, a landlord) . Your payment could be a loan, which you have to pay back - or a grant, which you don't.
How and when to apply
If you're at a college, speak to your student support or welfare officer. If you're in a sixth form, get in touch with your tutor or the student awards or student support officer. You may be expected to provide proof of income or expenditure when you apply.
Effect on other financial help
You can claim if you also receive other grants and funds, including:
- Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)
- Adult Learning Grant (ALG)
- Career Development Loan (CDL)
- Care to Learn
- Disability Living Allowance, which is ignored when assessing income
But bear in mind that Further Education Support Funds are intended to meet special needs and circumstances which can't reasonably be covered by other forms of help.
How to appeal
Each college will provide information about their scheme, including information about how to appeal.
What else you need to know
Student support staff will be able to advise you on whether you qualify for other sources of funding.