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Financial support for young people with SEND

There is a range of financial support available for young adults.  Some of this depends on the path you take on education, training and work.

PIP is the main disability benefit after 16.  The criteria for this is not the same as DLA so would always recommend getting support with your applications.  Check the for further information within the money and benefits section. 

As a young person if you are entitled to PIP and are in full time education you may also be eligible for universal credit more information can be found at

Disability Rights have a dedicated helpline for students tel: 0330 995 0414 or email

 If you have an EHCP you may also be eligible for personal budget.

Financial Support available for post 16 learners

The following financial support is available for post 16 learners:

  • Discretionary Learner Support
  • 16-19 Bursary Fund

What is Discretionary Learner Support (DLS)?

If you are aged 19 or over, on a further education course and facing financial hardship, you could get DLS. Young people need to apply directly to their academy, school, college or other training provider for support from the scheme.

Further details on the scheme can be obtained by visiting the following website:

Schools and colleges help to determine the best form of provision in the given circumstances   and further details can be obtained from each individual school/college.

16-19 Bursary Fund

You may be able to get a bursary to help with education-related costs if you are aged 16 to 19 and are: studying at school or college (not University) in England; or on a training course, including unpaid work experience.

A bursary is money that can be used to pay for things like clothing, books and other equipment for your course, transport and lunch on days you study or train.

There are two types of 16 to 19 bursary: Vulnerable student bursary and Discretionary bursary.

What is Vulnerable student bursary?

You may be able to claim up to £1,200 if at least one of the following applies:

  • you are in or recently left local authority care;
  • you get Income Support or Universal Credit in your name;
  • you are disabled and get both Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), and either Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in your name.

What is Discretionary bursary?

 You could get a discretionary bursary if you need financial help but don’t qualify for a vulnerable student bursary.

Education and training providers set their own criteria for discretionary bursaries, e.g. they might look at family income, how much you get and what it’s used for.

How to apply

Apply to your school, college or training provider. You can ask student services or your tutor to explain what you need to do.

For more information go to

Care to Learn

If you are studying and aged under 20 at the start of your course, Care to Learn can help pay for your childcare costs while you are learning.

Care to Learn is only available for courses in England that have some public funding.

This includes courses that take place in:

  • schools
  • school 6th forms
  • 6th form colleges
  • other colleges and learning providers, including Foundation Learning
  • your community at Children’s Centres

It pays up to £175 per week (if you live in London) for each child to help with the cost of:

  • your childcare, including deposit and registration fees
  • a childcare taster session for up to 5 days
  • keeping your childcare place over the summer holidays
  • taking your child to their childcare provider

 Childcare payments go directly to your childcare provider and travel payments go direct to your school or college - they’ll either pay you or arrange travel for you.

How to apply

You can obtain more information and request a Care to Learn application form online from

Residential Support Scheme & Residential Bursary fund

The Residential Support Scheme provides financial support with accommodation costs for learners (aged between 16 and 18) who need to live away from home to study because their course is not available locally. Most learners applying to the Scheme will be about to study their first full level 2 or 3. The scheme is administered centrally by the Learner Support Service.

Further details on the scheme can be obtained by visiting the following website:

How to apply

You should apply directly to your institution for support and/or for further information.

Residential Bursary Fund (RBF)

The Residential Bursary Fund is intended to provide financial support towards the costs of accommodation for young people attending specialist provision, where their course requires a residential element.

How to apply

To apply for support from the scheme, learners can request an application pack from their learning provider, or from the Learner Support Service helpline.

Contact details

Learner Support Helpline
Telephone: 0800 121 8989

Education Funding Agency: Residential support team


Help from Colleges or Sixth Form

If you are attending college too far for daily travel or attending residential college information about the support available can be found at the GOV.UK website.

Apprentices or non-employed Programme Led Apprentices can apply to their learning provider for reasonable expenses where these are a barrier to learning, from the Additional Learner Support allocation.

What financial help can you get from local College?

You may be entitled to financial support during your studies from local college.

This can be help with fees, equipment as well as any related expenses. You need to talk to each college about how they can help.

The following colleges are based around Hounslow please visit their website for details of support available:

Students that need to stay away

For students who want to do a specialist course that is not available in the local area there are two main sources of potential support with the extra costs of studying away from home:

  • Studying at a college that offers residential bursaries for certain courses.
  • Applying for finance under the Residential Support Scheme

Financial Support for post 16 at work

You may be entitled to financial support while you work. 

Find out more about working with benefits at the entitledto website here

Personal Independence Payment PIP is not related to income.  More information can be found here

Employment Support Allowance (ESA)

You may get ESA if your illness or disability affects your ability to work and you’re:

  • not getting Statutory Sick Pay or Statutory Maternity Pay and you have not gone back to work
  • not getting Jobseeker’s Allowance

You can apply for ESA if you’re employed, self-employed, unemployed or a student on Disability Living Allowance or  Personal Independence Payment

You may also be able to claim Universal credit

Access to Work Grants

Access to Work is a government grant scheme which supports disabled people in work. Access to Work might pay for:

  • a British Sign Language interpreter
  • specialist equipment
  • extra transport costs (such as a taxi where no public transport is available). 

Access to Work can also pay for assessments to see what you need at work. You can apply for Access to Work up to 6 weeks before you start work.

There is a government guide here and Scope also have a guide