The cost of living seems huge these days and getting kids through education is no mean feat, especially if you’re a low income family. So are your kids likely to be eligible for any grants or scholarships?
Most educational scholarships are still primarily available for children in private education and they’re mainly given out for academic merit, or to help children who’d otherwise be unable to join the school to gain access. Some junior schools offer scholarships for children aged 7 and upwards, but you’ll find the majority on offer are senior schools for kids aged 11+.
Each school differs as to how their individual scholarship schemes are arranged, so you need to check with the school concerned for full details. Some will have a special scholarship entrance exam paper for children to sit, whilst others incorporate the process into their standard entrance exam, choosing children who gain the highest marks as scholarship candidates. There are usually overall academic scholarships, or separate ones focusing on particular areas of achievement, such as music, sport, drama or art.
The amount of money given varies according to individual schools preferences. However, as a rough guide, scholarships typically cover between 30% and 50% of the annual school fees. In some instances they are mean tested, which means that the amount available will depend on the income of the parents.
Grants for Primary School Children
Of the few grants available for families of children at primary and secondary schools in the UK, the main ones are free school meals and clothing grants. Free school meals are available to anyone under the age of 19 whose parents or guardians are in receipt of benefits such as Income Support, Income Based Jobseekers Allowance or Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit). It means that children will be guaranteed a meal in school each day. Schools in some areas also offer clothing grants, which go towards the cost of school uniforms.
Further Education Grants for Age 16+
One type of grant available for those aged 16-19 in England is the Bursary Fund. It’s designed for those aged 16-19 from lower income families who want to continue in full-time further education or training at college or school.
If you fall into one of the following categories then you may be entitled to a bursary of £1,200 per year.
- People in care or care leavers
- People claiming income support
- Disabled people getting Employment and Support Allowance and Disability Living Allowance
If none of the above categories apply to you, you could still be eligible for a bursary depending on your personal circumstances. In this instance you should contact your education provider for more information.
You can find out more about the Bursary Fund at www.gov.uk
Higher Education Grants and Scholarships
If you are entering into higher education then you may be able to apply for a maintenance grant, depending on your household income. Students from households with an income of £25,000 or less could receive up to £3,354. Families who earn over this amount but under £42,611 are still eligible for the grant but will receive less. Students qualifying for the grant can also apply for additional maintenance loans and loans for tuition fees. However, the amount of maintenance grant you receive will limit the amount of loan you can apply for.
To apply for the maintenance grant you must be English, and studying full-time. Part-time students and EU students cannot apply. These figures apply to students starting their course in September 2013. For more information visit www.gov.uk
Some universities and higher education establishments also have their own grant and scholarship schemes. Most are linked in with certain departments, such as engineering or music, and can be found by searching through the relevant website or prospectus.