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Funding full time further education

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Further education courses are courses below Higher National Certificate (HNC) level that aren't taught in school, for example a college National Certificate (NC) or National Qualification (NQ).

If you’ve lived in Scotland for three years or more, and plan to study in Scotland, college tuition is free!

But, you will need to pay for your day-to-day living costs. The funding you can claim for these depends on your age.

If you’re aged 16 to 19 – Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)

You may be able to claim an Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) of £30 a week during term time if you are staying on at school (or college), either full time or part time, and you’re a 16-19 year old from a family with a low income. You can only get an EMA if you’ve reached your school leaving age.

You must normally have been living in the UK for at least 3 years before you apply, and be living in Scotland when you apply.

The family income must be £24,421 a year or less. If your family has two or more dependant children, including those up to age 25 if in full time education or training, you will be eligible if the family income is £26,884 a year or less.

You must normally sign up to a learning agreement which states that you will go to school (or college) regularly. If your attendance falls below a certain level, you lose the allowance.

If you are normally resident in Scotland at the start of your course you may also receive a study expense allowance and transport from the college Bursary Fund.

You can get EMA and Bursary forms from the colleges; most colleges send them out to you if they offer you a place on a qualifying course. Visit college websites for more information.  Also see the GOV.UK website.

If you’re aged 18 and over – a further education bursary

If you take a full time course (21 hours or more a week), which leads to a qualification up to but not including Higher National Certificate, you may be eligible for a bursary. You must have lived in the British Isles for three years, and be living in Scotland on the day the course starts.

Bursaries have two main elements:

These are means-tested, so how much you get will depend on the income of your parents or spouse, unless you are classed as a self-supporting student.

If you are aged 18-25 and living with your parents on the start date of the course you may get a maintenance allowance of up to £78.17 a week (up to £98.79 if you are living away from the parental home, depending on the circumstances).

There are also other bursary elements available if you have financial, legal or care responsibilities for a dependant adult or if you have additional support needs for learning (this allowance is not means-tested).

Visit college websites or speak with student support services for more information on exactly what you will be eligible to receive.

You may also be able to apply for an Individual Training Account (ITA).

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