Bursary Fund & Free Meals

Bursary Fund & Free Meals

The Bursary Fund is to help support those learners who face the greatest barriers to continue in education and to ensure every young person participates in and benefits from a place in 16-19 education.  This Policy sets out the arrangements for how St Mary’s College will prioritise and administer the 16-19 Bursary Fund in 2020/2021.  It is the aim of the College to use funds to maximise the impact on recruitment, attendance, retention, achievement and success rates.

Please read the following important documents before submitting your application

Bursary & Free Meal Policy 2020-2021

Bursary Leaflet 2020-2021

Bursary Award Request Form 2020-2021

What is the Bursary Fund?

The 16-19 Bursary Fund is designed to help support young people who face the greatest financial barriers to participation in education or training.  The Bursary is means tested and claims can be made at any time for the following (whilst full payment is not guaranteed, each request will be carefully considered):

  • transport costs
  • books and equipment,
  • trips / university visits
  • photocopying/printing credits
  • meals
  • equipment
  • re-sit exam fees
  • other College related activities and items

The fund is split into 2 parts:-

1. Vulnerable Bursary 

A Vulnerable Bursary is available to learners who fall into one of the vulnerable groups identified below and are eligible to receive an award of up to £1,200 per year:

  • learners in care
  • care leavers –  young people aged 16 and 17 who were previously looked after for a period of 13 weeks consecutively (or periods amounting to 13 weeks), which began after the age of 14 and ended after the age of 16
  • learner who is aged 18 or above who was looked after prior to becoming 18 for a period of 13 weeks consecutively (or periods of 13 weeks), which began after the age of 14 and ended after the age of 16
  • learner in receipt of Income Support, or Universal Credit because they are financially supporting themselves or financially supporting themselves and someone who is dependent on them and living with them such as a child or partner
  • learner in receipt of Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments in their own right as well as Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit in their own right (Child Benefit to parent will cease if learner successfully applies for Employment Support Allowance)

Although a young person may be eligible for the bursary because they are in one of the defined vulnerable groups, bursary will only be granted if there is an actual financial need.  

Evidence of eligibility for Vulnerable Bursaries: 

  • learners who are in care or a care leaver, written confirmation of current or previous looked-after status from the relevant local authority
  • learners in receipt of Income Support, a copy of the Income Support award notice. Learner must be entitled to the benefit in their own right and the evidence must confirm that the learner can be in further education or training (some young people in receipt of benefits are not allowed to participate)
  • learners in receipt of Universal Credit, a copy of the Universal Credit Award notice. Learner must be entitled to the benefit in their own right and the evidence must confirm that the learner can be in further education or training. Learners must also provide additional documentation to confirm their independent status, for example a tenancy agreement in the learner’s name, a child benefit receipt, children’s birth certificates, utility bills etc.
  • learners receiving Universal Credit/Employment and Support Allowance and Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payments, a copy of the Universal Credit or ESA award from DWP (UC claimants will be able to print off details of their award from their journal). Evidence of receipt of Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment, must also be provided

There is a possibility of no award, or a limited award, of a bursary for vulnerable groups being the outcome of an application. 

Income support is paid to young people such as teenage parents, young people with severe disabilities, teenagers living away from their parents, young people whose parents have died and unaccompanied asylum seeking children, where a financial need is established.

 Learner awarded Universal Credit to pay for housing costs (in place of housing benefit) will not be eligible for a vulnerable bursary unless they are also receiving another eligible benefit.

2. Discretionary Bursaries

St Mary’s college will then award bursaries to learners whose family’s household income falls below £18,000 per year.  The award will be made in kind subject to meeting attendance and behaviour criteria. Payments for trips/exceptional costs to ensure participation in learning will considered on an individual basis – please see Mrs Lakhi for an award request form.

Who is eligible to apply?

To be eligible to apply for the fund, the household income must fall below £18,000 and learners must meet the criteria detailed below:

  • be aged 16 or over but under 19 years of age at 31st August or
  • be aged 19 or over at 31 August and have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
  • be aged 19 or over at 31 August and continuing on a programme enrolled on aged 16 to 18 (‘19+ continuers’)
  • have been resident in the UK or EEA for three years preceding 31 August (verified before enrolment)
  • be enrolled on a government funded course

How do I apply?

  • Complete the 16-19 Bursary Fund & Free Meals application form here answering all questions to avoid any delays in processing
  • Send the required proof to our dedicated email address bursary@stmarysblackburn.ac.uk
  • Submit your application form before 30 October 2020
  • Applications received after this date may be considered but won’t be backdated

Evidence

All applications to access the 16-19 Bursary Fund must be supported by appropriate evidence as detailed on the application form.  All evidence will be treated as confidential.

Learners in receipt of qualifying benefits – the evidence must confirm that the learner can be in further education or training.

What happens next?

  • The Bursary Panel will test the application against the eligibility criteria and check the evidence and assess the need for funding. The Senior Safeguarding & Welfare Officer may discuss the application with the student if required.
  • The Senior Safeguarding & Welfare Officer will notify students by email of the outcome of their application within 14 working days of receipt.  However, in September the processing time may be longer as most applications are received at this time.
  • Any application that requires special consideration will be discussed by the Bursary Fund Awards Committee (see membership), who will consider the application and decide the level of any award. This is normally completed within 4 weeks of the application.
  • The Finance Officer/Senior Safeguarding & Disciplinary Officer will keep financial records of all awards made for a period of six years

Please note: Students will need to have a current bank account.

 

Free Meals

As well as the bursary fund, some students may be eligible for the free college meals. The College will fund the free meal to all eligible students via an electronic credit or a voucher which can only be redeemed on-site to the value of £2.41 a day.

Learners who are off-site undertaking work placement or on educational visits may be offered cash at the discretion of the Bursary Officer.

Who is eligible to apply?

Learners must be aged between 16 and 18 to be eligible for a free meal. Learners who turn 19 during their study programme will remain eligible for a free meal until the end of the academic year in which they turn 19.

Learners who are aged between 19 and 25 who are subject to a learning Difficulty Assessment (LDA) or Education Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan) are also eligible for a free meal providing they meet the eligibility criteria.

Learners must have been a resident in the UK or EEA for three years preceding 31 August (verified before enrolment).

In addition to the above, learners or their parents / carers must be entitled to one of the benefits listed below to qualify for the free meals:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • State Pension Credit (guarantee element)
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you are not entitled to Working Tax Credit) and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190 as assessed by HMRC
  • Universal Credit
  • Working Tax Credit run-on  – paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

How do I apply?

  • Complete  the 16-19 Bursary Fund & Free Meals application form here answering all questions to avoid any delays in processing
  • Send the required proof to our dedicated email address bursary@stmarysblackburn.ac.uk
  • Submit your application form before 30 October 2020
  • Applications received after this date may be considered but won’t be backdated

Evidence

All applications for the Free Meal must be supported by appropriate evidence as detailed on the online application form above.

Important Notes

If false or incomplete information is submitted, or if parents do not declare any part of their income that is relevant, the matter may be referred to the Department for Education.

The learner / parent could face prosecution and St Mary’s College will seek to recover any payments the learner is not eligible for.

Absence

Meals will only be funded on the days the learner is in college.