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Do you need help towards the cost of your studies?

If you are on a qualification course and claiming benefits, or on a low income, you may be eligible to apply for help with costs related to your study.

Discretionary Learner Support Fund (DSLF)

The Learner Support Fund is a limited discretionary grant provided by the West Midlands Combined Authority to help learners experiencing financial hardship to stay in education.

This fund can be used to help with the course costs, exam fees, childcare costs and DBS checks where they are a requirement of the course.

To apply you must: be on a qualification course, meet residency requirements; provide evidence that you are on a low income or are experiencing financial hardship.

Please note: All support funds are subject to individual eligibility and the availability of funds. Unfortunately learners who are not EC/EEA citizens are not eligible for fee waivers, discounts or financial support. Before applying for financial support please check if you and the course you have enrolled on are eligible. You must also be prepared to provide proof of your income and status if you apply.

Government Support Funds

You can get full details of these financial support schemes, the eligibility criteria, and application forms at or by phoning 0300 100 0607. The key support funds available are:

Bursary for Level 3 certificate or diploma courses
If you are paying for your course via an Advanced Learning Loan you are eligible to apply to this fund to support childcare costs, course resources including text books and any additional learning support needs. Learners under 19 years old will usually be eligible for support through a different fund.

16-19 Bursary Fund
This is a Government scheme to help young people facing financial hardship to stay in full-time education. To be eligible learners must be on a full-time programme of study. For more information please visit

Care to Learn
This fund is for young parents under 20. If you qualify you can claim up to £160 per week in childcare costs for each child, plus travel costs. You do not have to be in receipt of benefits to claim Care to Learn and it will not affect any other benefit you receive. You will need to apply online at

Advanced learner loans for over 19s studying on level 3 courses
If you are aged 19 or over on the 31st August 2020 and you are enrolling on a level 3 course with BAES, then you must pay the full fee or take out a loan depending on the eligibility of the qualification. More information can be found at:

You do not have to pay your loan back until you have started earning over £26,568 per year.

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