Sign Up TODAY for our FREE Newsletter for UK Residents  Sign me up >

FTC Disclosure

If you make a purchase via a link on this site, Disability Grants may receive a small commission on the transaction - at no added cost to you. Thank you!

Grants and Loans for College

Government Grants and Loans

16-19 Bursary Fund

The 16-19 Bursary Fund supports essential education related costs for the most financially vulnerable young people living in England.

This includes:

  • Disabled young people in receipt of Employment Support Allowance who also receive the Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment
  • Young people in care
  • Care leavers
  • Young people on Income Support or Universal Credit
  • Exceptional circumstances such as a young person providing care to a sick or disabled relative.

Young people aged 19 years+ and have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) may also apply to the Bursary Fund.

Bursaries are paid up to a maximum of £1,200.

Applications are made through your education provider who will establish eligibility.  Institutions are also able to make discretionary awards.

There are different schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as they have continued the Education Maintenance Allowance for students aged 16-19 years.  This is paid at £30 a week in Scotland, £40 a week in Wales, £30 a week in Northern Ireland.  

24+ Advanced Learning Loans

The Advanced Learning Loans are available to help pay for Level 3/4 courses including A' levels, Access to Higher Education courses and some apprenticeships.

Loans are for a minimum of £300 and must be repaid once you finish your course and earn over £21,000 a year.  Individuals who study for the Access to Higher Course who go onto higher education do not need to repay the loan.

Applications can be made on online or a form downloaded from the website.

Care to Learn

Care to Learn can help pay for childcare costs while you are learning if you are the main carer for your child.

Applicants must be under 20 years old at the start of a course held at an institution that has some public funding.  This may include:

  • Schools
  • School 6th form
  • Sixth form colleges
  • Your community at Children's centres

The childcare provider must be registered with Oftsed.  

Care to Learn does not affect your own or your family's benefits.  It is not available for individuals undertaking higher education courses.

To apply: call the Learner Support helpline for an application form and guidance notes on 0800 121 8989 (Monday to Friday 9am-5pm)

Discretionary Learner Support

Discretionary Learner Support (DLS) is available to individuals aged 19 years and older who has been accepted to study at a learning provider funded by Skills Funding Agency (check with your college or sixth form).

The learning provider decides how much money is paid and whether it is given as a direct payment that doesn't have to be paid back, a loan which you have to pay back or a payment to someone else such as landlord.

The money can be used to pay for accommodation, travel, course materials and equipment. Applicants over 20 years may also get help with childcare expenses.

Applications for the support should be made directly to your college or learner provider.  Each provider will have their own application process as they set their own eligibility criteria.

Professional and Career Development Loans

The Professional and Career Development Loans offered by the Government provide the opportunity to undertake training for your job or to improve your employment prospects.

You may be able to borrow between £300 to £10,000.  These are usually offered at a reduced interest rate and the Government pays the interest while you are studying.

To apply you must be over 18 years and have lived in the UK for at least 3 years before starting your course.

Courses must only last up to a maximum of 2 years (3 years if one year work experience).  First degree courses are not eligible.

A Professional and Career Development Loan may affect benefit entitlement so do check your own individual situation.

To order an application pack contact the National Careers Service on 0800 100 900.

Educational Trusts and Bursaries

City and Guilds Bursaries

City and Guilds offer a small number of bursaries each year to individuals who would like to study for City and Guilds qualifications.

The bursaries may be used for a wide range of reasons including:

  • Course/exam fees
  • Living costs if you are unable to work while undertaking the course
  • Childcare and travel expenses
  • Other costs that may make it difficult for you to do the course.

To apply you need to complete an online application form - help may be given with the completion as success will be judged on the answers not the literacy.

You will need to provide details of your monthly income and the reason why you need financial support to undertake the course.   

There are two funding rounds each year - one in the Spring and one in the Autumn.


Crisis provides services to help rebuild lives of homeless people.

When you join Crisis you become a member of your local Skylight. These are based at different locations around the UK.

The Skylight centres offer free classes, workshops and activities with opportunities to gain qualifications.

It also offers one to one support, help with finding work and a home.

Helena Kennedy Foundation

The Foundation is an independent charity that works against social injustice by providing finanacial bursaries, mentoring and support to help disadvantaged students.

It provides bursaries to students in the adult and further education sector facing severe financial hardship that may prevent their progress to a degree course in higher education.

The charity helps a wide range of students with varying barriers to learning including those with a history of severe health problems, physical disabilities, emotional difficulties and acquired conditions.

Applications must be made by the student’s FE or Sixth Form College or Adult Education Centre. A college may only nominate 5 students a year.  

The maximum bursary is £1,500.

Thomas Wall Trust

The Thomas Wall Trust provides small grants to assist individuals (over 18 years) with the cost of training courses to improve their chance of employment.

Assistance is offered to those experiencing financial and other challenges such as disability, major trauma, carer responsibilities or care leaver.  Applicants must have been unemployed for at least 6 months in the last 2 years and have the right to work and study in the UK.

It is able to offer grants up to £1,500 towards course fees (the course must be an accredited vocational course up to level 3) AND/OR costs associated with studying up to £750 for childcare, travel and equipment. The maximum grant award is £1,500.

Applicants must be from a low income family.  

To apply: Complete the online application form.  Applications are open all year.

See also:

The Altrusa Career Trust (for women)

Bristol Charities (for 25 years and younger and live within 10 miles of Bristol centre)

The Elmgrant Trust (South West only)

Family Action (14 yrs +)

The Girls of the Realm Guild (for women)

John Watson Trust (Scotland only)

Kidney Care UK (for kidney patients)

Lawrence Atwell's Charity

Leonard Chamberlain Trust  (Selby/East Yorkshire only)

Natspec (for information on specialist further education colleges)

Reid Trust

Snowdon Trust

Now check out the other pages.....

Copyright © 2010-2024 Disability Grants Ltd 

Company number: 8937008

VAT Number 207954787