16 to 19 Bursary Fund Information for Parents / Carers of Riverwalk students

Riverwalk has produced this brief synopsis for the benefit of parents and carers. If you want the full Bursary Fund Guide 2020 to 2021 please follow this link:  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/16-to-19-bursary-fund-guide-2020-to-2021-academic-year#eligibility-criteria-discretionary-bursaries

The purpose of the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund is to provide financial support to help students overcome specific barriers to participation so they can remain in education.
There are 2 types of 16 to 19 bursaries:

  • a vulnerable bursary of up to £1,200 a year for young people in one of the defined vulnerable groups.
  • discretionary bursaries which institutions award to meet individual needs, for example, help with the cost of transport, meals, books and equipment.

To be eligible for the vulnerable bursary, students must be in one of the defined vulnerable groups:

  • in care (including a young person placed with a foster carer by the local authority)
  • care leavers
  • in receipt of Income Support, or Universal Credit in place of Income Support, in their own right
  • in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit and Disability Living or Personal Independence Payments in their own right

To be eligible for Discretionary Bursaries:

  • Students with household incomes of less than £20,000 a year
  • Free school entitlement in years 11 and 12

Students will be asked to provide evidence of receipt of benefits in their household also using Tax Credits forms (TC602), evidence of income from self-employment, a P60, or 3 to 6 months’ worth of bank statements as evidence.


To be eligible to receive a bursary in the 2020 to 2021 academic year the student must be aged over 16 and under 19 at 31 August 2020. If a student turns 19 during their programme of study, they can continue to receive the bursary until the end of the academic year in which they turn 19, or to the end of the programme of study, whichever is sooner.

The impact of bursaries on DWP benefits

We wish to highlight to students and parents that receipt of the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund does not affect their entitlement to any DWP income-related benefits. Bursaries monies are paid directly to students in addition to other means-tested benefits paid to families, such as Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Child Benefit, Working Tax Credit and Housing Benefit and does not affect them.

However, if the student is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (or Personal Independence Payments) and Employment Support Allowance or in receipt of Universal Credit, parents may no longer receive certain household/family benefits for that child, such as child benefit.

Bursaries must not be made as regular payments for living costs, as they would then be subject to the Social Security Amendment (Students and Income-related Benefits) Regulations 2000.

Riverwalk will follow the guidelines for good practice from the Education Funding Agency to pay in-kind bursaries rather than cash. This helps ensure that the bursary is spent for the reasons it was awarded and helps students to participate. There are no restrictions on what in-kind payments can be but they might include support for travel, vouchers or credits for meals, required books and required equipment. Again, following Education Funding Agency guidelines, Riverwalk specifies that students must return books and equipment at the end of their study programme to be used again by other students where appropriate.

If IT equipment, for example, a laptop or tablet is necessary, such as that the student cannot complete the study programme without it, it can be bought with bursary funds.

IT equipment should be returned once the student has completed the study programme for re-use by another student. If keeping the laptop or tablet on campus is the best way of ensuring that this happens, institutions have the right to set this as a condition.

Where in-kind payments are made to students in the defined vulnerable groups, the value of the payments and how these have been deducted from the £1,200 should be made clear to the student.

How to Apply

Riverwalk will apply directly for the 16 – 19 Bursary for our vulnerable students currently in care through the Student Bursary Support Service (SBSS). 

All requests for funding will need to be made by completing the 16-19 Bursary application 2021

For further information on the 16-19 Bursary Fund please click on the following link 16-19 Bursary leaflet 2021