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Discretionary Support Fund

Discretionary Support Funds are available in colleges and school sixth forms to help with learning costs. The funds are prioritised for those who face financial hardship and can be used to help with additional costs, such as:

  • financial hardship and emergencies
  • childcare costs (for Ofsted registered childcare)
  • accommodation costs (for those who have to study further than the maximum distance from home)
  • essential course-related equipment, materials and field trips
  • travel costs (for over 18s)

Colleges and sixth forms will take into account whether there are alternative sources of help available.


To be eligible for the fund, applicants must be over the age of 16 and must have been accepted onto - and be studying - a programme of learning funded by the Learning and Skills Council.

Colleges determine which priority groups to consider for the fund and maximum amounts they can award. An example of common priority groups are:

  • students, such as those who are on a low income or receiving benefits
  • those aged over 19 who don't have a Level 2 qualification
  • students who have been in care or on probation, young parents and others considered 'at risk'

Further information

Applications for the fund should be made through the college’s Student Support or Welfare Office.

Last Updated 04/12/2018

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