Financial help

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The type of financial help you can get will depend on your circumstances. 

16 to 19 Bursary Fund

If you need financial support to stay in education or training after the age of 16, you can apply at your chosen school, college or training provider for the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund

The following people are eligible for a bursary of £1,200 a year:

  • young people who are in care
  • care leavers
  • young people who receive Income Support or Universal Credit
  • disabled young people who receive both Employment Support Allowance and Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) 

Other young people who are facing financial difficulties may be able to claim a bursary to help with the cost of food, equipment or other course-related costs. 

Most schemes are based on your household income and the school will decide on the amount you will receive, when it is paid, and what conditions you will need to agree to. 

Schools and colleges may also operate their own financial support schemes. 

16-plus Oyster photocard

For free travel on London buses and trams, make sure you apply for a 16-plus Oyster photocard. With a 16-plus Zip Oyster photocard you can also: 

•    buy child-rate 7-day, monthly or longer-period travelcards and bus and tram passes
•    Pay-as-you-go at half the adult rate on bus, Tube, tram, DLR (Docklands Light Railway), London Overground and most National Rail services in London

If you are 18 or over, you live in a London borough and you are in the first year of an approved apprenticeship, you may be eligible for an Apprentice Oyster photocard

Free school meals

School sixth forms and further education institutions are required to provide you with a free meal if you or your parents are in receipt of certain benefits. You will need to claim, so remember to ask your school or college when you enrol. 

Free childcare

The Care to Learn scheme can help with childcare costs while you study.

You must be aged under 20 at the start of your course, be the main carer for your child and attending a qualifying course at school sixth form or college, and your childcare provider must be registered with Ofsted. 

If you qualify, your payments (£175 per child per week) will be made directly to your childcare provider to help with the cost of childcare. 

Student Finance

For detailed information on applying for Student Finance, including maintenance loans, maintenance grants, tuition fee loans and supplementary grants, please read the GOV.UK guide.

General advice about money and finance

You can get advice on money and finance especially for young people on the Money Advice Service website.

Download the money advice toolkit

Page last reviewed: 26/03/2024

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