Funding and Grants
GENERAL ADVICE AND GUIDANCE
There are currently over 1,400 charitable trusts in the UK set up specifically for educational needs, distributing over £60 million annually.
What is a grant?
A grant is usually a gift of money made directly to you but can sometimes take the form of services (such as paying to enrol you on a course) or goods (such as text books).
Most educational grants awarded by charities are “one off” payments to cover either the cost of a course or a specific cost that might be a cost associated with a course, such as travelling to and from a course or for course material and supplies. Occasionally a charity may award a longer term grant to cover your annual training costs. There are some charities that make awards for specialised equipment that you might need to complete a course if you are a disabled student.
Am I eligible for a grant?
The majority of charities are set up to assist individuals or families that are currently either on low income and are in receipt of welfare benefit and currently experiencing financial hardship. The criteria for “low income” will vary from charity to charity but generally would apply to households with a total income of less than £20,000 annually. Those experiencing financial hardship are generally evaluated according to the Charity Commission’s guidelines.
Some charities are established to help individuals with very specific circumstances such as illnesses, disabilities or redundancy. There are also other charities, often set up by individuals or groups, able to assist individuals or families who meet very specific criteria such as those living in a specific location, students under 25 or ex-offenders. Some charities are established to help if you are associated with a trade or occupation (such as ex-service, railway workers, gardeners etc.)
Am I eligible for a bursary?
A bursary is a financial award made by an institution to individuals (or groups) of who cannot afford to pay full fees for a course or series of courses. In return for the bursary the individual is usually obligated to be employed by the organisation for the duration for a specific period of time and is more likely to be available to you if you are already in employment and your employer has decided to fund the course for you.
Grant search tool:
Citizen’s Advice – finding adult education grants including eLearning and home study
Government website for further education courses and funding:
Guide to Charities in the UK:
Grants for former British Legion service personnel
Family Action (formerly known as Educational Grants Advisory Service)
SSAFA (the Armed Forces Charity)
Scottish Trusts – Register of Education Endowments (pdf file)
Grants for Cumbrian residents
Welsh Government Student Finance (Further Education)
Grants for Individuals – search tool
Try contacting your Local Education Authority for any local grants available.
Funding options - England:
The government's website, www.gov.uk, is a useful starting point relating to financial support for adult learners. You can also find more specific information on their "Career Skills & Training" page for specific programmes.
Take a look at the National Careers Service website for free careers advice and also enables you to check for specific course funding.
Funding options - Wales:
The wales.gov.uk website contains a guide skills funding in Wales.
Funding options - Scotland:
The Student Awards Agency for Scotland offers financial support to eligible students enrolling on higher education courses. Also take a look at the Learning Funding Scotland website for additional funding options.
Funding options - Northern Ireland:
For more information on NI funding visit NIdirect.gov.uk