Bursary & Free College Meals FAQs

1. Am I eligible to receive a bursary? 

You must: 

  • Be at least 16 and under 19 on 31 August 2023.
  • Study at a publicly funded* school or college, or be on an unpaid training course.
  • Meet the residency requirements – your school or college can check this.

*A publicly funded school is one that doesn’t charge you for attending it. 

Vulnerable student bursary 

You could get up to £1,200 if at least one of the following applies: 

  • You are in or have recently left local authority care.
  • You currently receive Income Support or Universal Credit because you are financially supporting yourself.
  • You currently receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in your name and either Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit.
  • You currently receive Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in your name and either ESA or Universal Credit.

You may get the full amount if you have expenses and study full-time on a course of at least 30 weeks. 

 2. What can bursary funding be used for?  

A bursary is money that you, or your college, can use to pay for things like: 

  • Clothing, books and other equipment for your course. 
  • Transport and lunch on days you study or train. 

3. How much could I receive?  

This will depend on your personal circumstances. There are 2 types of 16 to 19 bursary. 

  • Vulnerable Student Bursary – You could get a bursary worth up to £1,200, depending on your circumstances and benefits. 
  • Discretionary bBursary – You could get a discretionary bursary if you need financial help but do not qualify for a vulnerable student bursary. The College decides how much you can receive and what this bursary can be used to fund.

4. What is a Discretionary Bursary? 

As a college we have specific criteria for discretionary bursaries. We will consider your individual circumstances which usually includes your family income. 

You can apply to a discretionary bursary if you’re over 19 and: 

  • You are continuing on a course you started aged 16 to 18 (known as being a ‘19+ continuer’). 


  • yYou have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

5. How exactly do I claim my bursary?  

You can apply online at Connell Bursary 16+ the application date for each academic year will open when college enrolment starts.

You will need to upload evidence to the site, for example benefit letters. 

This will be different for each individual student so please do seek support so we can ensure you have all the necessary documents.

6. When should I apply for my bursary? 

Applications open on college enrolments days and are open then all year round. 

Applications must be completed with all the correct documents by the first Friday of the new term. Your application if successful will then be entitled to bursary from the first day you started college providing you meet all the other criteria such as attendance. Any application submitted after this date that is successful will only be backdated to the date of application, again providing all other criteria are met. 

You will need to reapply for a bursary for each year of your course.  

7. How exactly will I receive my bursary? 

The college will decide how you receive your bursary. You might be: 

  • Paid in full or in instalments.
  • Paid in cash, by cheque or through a bank account.
  • Given things like a travel pass, free meals or books instead of money. 

8. Why do I not receive the full bursary/any bursary when I seem to qualify?  

There is a possibility of no award, or a limited award.  The college may decide that although eligible for a bursary because you are in one or more of the defined vulnerable groups, you do not have any actual financial need and so do not need support from the scheme. For example, your financial needs are already met and/or you have no relevant costs. 

You will usually receive less than the full amount, or no bursary, if one of the following apply: 

  • Your course is shorter than 30 weeks.
  • You study part time.
  • You have few expenses.

9. Why has the college not made my bursary payment?  

If you fail to adhere to the expectations of college, your bursary could be stopped at any time. Common causes for this are: 

  • Poor attendance 
  • Poor punctuality 
  • Failure to complete assessments 
  • Behaviour for learning issues  

10. What should I do if I think a decision is unfair? 

Speak to the Bursary Manager if you’re unhappy with a decision. Follow their complaints process if you can’t resolve the problem. This means you need to put in writing why you think the decision is unfair and why you think it should be reconsidered. 

The Education and Skills Funding Agency does not usually get involved with appeals or complaints so you must use Connell’s appeals or complaints procedure. 

11. What should I do if my financial circumstance change? 

You might be able to get more support if your circumstances change or you have an emergency. Speak to the Student Support Office if you need extra help.