Bursary for vulnerable groups for students placed in independent provision

Further education and training providers


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From: Education and Skills Funding Agency

Students placed in independent provision who meet the general eligibility criteria and the specific ‘vulnerable group’ criteria of the bursary fund are in scope for bursary support if they have a financial need.

If you believe that some of your students are eligible, our guide also outlines how funding may be accessed. Local authorities are responsible for submitting funding claims for students who they have placed in independent provision, that are eligible for the vulnerable bursary.

The independent education institution must:

  • verify that students meet the criteria and are eligible for a bursary for vulnerable groups. 
  • once they are satisfied the student is eligible, they should contact the relevant local authority. The local authority cannot submit a funding claim without formal confirmation of eligibility from the institution. 
  • the institution can provide confirmation by sending the local authority a copy of the evidence they have seen or by setting out in writing/by e-mail to the local authority that they have seen evidence to confirm eligibility. 

The Student Bursary Support Service (SBSS) will pay the funding to the local authority if the funding claim is successful. Education institutions making funding claims through local authorities must ensure they liaise with the local authority finance contact to ensure the bursary funds are redirected to them as appropriate.

Institutions applying for the bursary for vulnerable groups

The funding for bursaries for vulnerable groups is held centrally by the Student Bursary Support Service (SBSS). Institutions need to apply for vulnerable bursaries whenever new students are identified who meet the vulnerable groups criteria.

To draw the funding down, you need to complete and submit a funding claim. This must be done via the SBSS online Portal.

The SBSS will process the claim form, and if successful will send out a funding statement confirming the amount to be paid. The payment will be processed and remittance advice will normally be issued within two weeks of receiving the funding claim.

More details can be found in our 16 to 19 bursary fund guidance. 

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