Studying can be quite costly and not just from course fees but also from day to day living costs. See below what financial student support there is for those studying Further or Higher Education courses.

Back to Financial Support
Financial support for Further Education
Funding for essential skills
Funding if you’re on benefits
Financial Support for Higher Education
Wiltshire Community Foundation
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Financial Support for Further Education

Further Education (FE) includes any study after secondary education that’s not part of higher education (that is, not taken as part of an undergraduate or graduate degree). Courses range from basic English and Maths to Higher National Diplomas (HNDs).

FE also includes 3 types of technical and applied qualifications for 16 to 19-year-olds:

  • level 3 technical levels to specialise in a specific technical job
  • level 2 technical certificates to help get employment or progress to another technical level
  • applied general qualifications to continue general education at an advanced level through applied learning.

Many courses in reading, writing and basic maths are free, and you may not have to pay for tuition if you’re under 24 and studying for your first qualification equivalent to GCSE or A level. (An overview of what qualification level mean can be found on the government website)

The national government website also has information on financial support, for example for your course or day-to-day living costs.

Depending on your circumstances and the subject you’re studying, you may qualify for:

Funding for essential skills

In most cases you won’t have to pay for level 1 and 2 English and maths courses. More details here on how to Improve your English,maths and IT skills.

You might be able to take other courses for free.

Funding if you’re on benefits

You can get free training if you’re unemployed and:

Your Jobcentre work coach will tell you what training you can do.

If you’re claiming other benefits or can’t get free training through your Jobcentre, you may be able to get funding from colleges and training providers.

Financial Support for Higher Education

The Student Loans Company is a non-profit making, government-owned, organisation set up in 1989 to provide financial support via loans and grants to students in universities and colleges in the UK.

Who do they help? 

They provide loans to most students in the UK to help cover living costs, as well as loans for tuition fees. Maintenance loans are paid directly into student bank accounts at the start of each term (monthly for students in Scotland), while the tuition fees are paid direct to their college or university.

The Student Loans Company can:

  • pay loans and grants to students
  • pay tuition fees to colleges and universities
  • work with HM Revenue and Customs to collect loan repayments
  • make maintenance payments to school pupils aged over 16 in Northern Ireland and Wales
  • pay bursaries and scholarships on behalf of universities and colleges
  • deliver the administration and processing associated with these activities.

Through Student Finance you may be able to borrow money to help pay for university or college tuition fees and to help with living costs. You might get extra money on top of this, for example if you’re on a low income, are disabled or have children.

The Student Finance Calculator  can be used to estimate:

  • student loans
  • extra student funding, e.g. if you’re disabled or have children.

You can apply online for student finance for:

  • tuition fee loans
  • maintenance loans
  • maintenance grants – if you’re a continuing student
  • advanced learner loans.

You can apply up to 9 months after the start of the academic year for your course.

As well as a student loan, there is other financial support available from a range of sources including bursaries, scholarships,  charitable and educational grants. UCAS have more information about additional funding opportunities.  Financial support is also available for students in financial hardship, with disabilities, who are care leavers and independent students who have no contact with their family. Alternatively, search on your chosen university’s website.

Advice and other funding options.

The National Careers Service offers more information about courses and financial help.

Prospects funding is an alternative source of financial support for postgraduates.

For information on other funding opportunities, check out Turn2us.

Prince’s Trust Development Awards can cover the cost of course fees, tools or equipment to help you achieve your goals.

Wiltshire Community Foundation


Wiltshire Community Foundation is an independent charity which offers grants of up to £1,000 to support the costs of an apprenticeship or vocational training for young people in Wiltshire and Swindon.

Young people can apply for a vocational grant if they are:
• under 25 at the age of application
• will be studying at school, college or sixth form or undertaking an apprenticeship
• have lived in Wiltshire or Swindon for at least two years
• their parents/guardians or themselves are receive a means-tested benefit

Grants can be used as:
• resources or equipment to support courses or training
• course related study or field trips
• IT equipment

Further details and a link to the application form is available from our website here: Vocational Grants or by contacting the Grants Team on 01380 738985 email:

Wiltshire Community Foundation is an independent charity which offers grants of up to £1,000 to fund additional support or equipment to enhance young peoples education and development.

You can apply for an Education Support Grant if a child or young person:

  • is under the age of 25 at the time of the application
  • has a long-term health issue, disability, education need or are or have been in the care of the local authority
  • has lived in Wiltshire or Swindon for the last two years
  • their parents/guardians are claiming at least one means tested benefit or they are in the care of Wiltshire County or Swindon Borough councils

Grants can be used towards equipment or support costs which school or college funds do not cover such as:

  • educational resources for use at home
  • out of school activities which contribute to learning
  • therapeutic services such as music, play or equine
  • IT equipment
  • travel costs in some circumstances

This list is not exhaustive and if you have an idea that fits within the scope of the education please email the Grants Team on

For more information or to apply visit their website

Bursary currently closed for applicants

Wiltshire Community Foundation offer scholarships to talented individuals to help them overcome difficult financial circumstances and achieve their potential. One of which is the University Bursaries grant which supports young people who want to gain an undergraduate university degree.

Bursaries of up to £1,500 per annum are available, plus the possibility of an extra £500 for certain situations and courses.

Applicants must be residents of Swindon or Wiltshire, (‘family home’ if already at university), be aged between 17 & 24 at the time of application and either they or their parents/carers must be in receipt of means tested benefits. Bursaries are awarded for the duration of the course, so there is no need to re-apply each year.

Please follow the link for more information: University Bursaries