Bolton College has announced that the level of funding for hard-up students has increased by 87 per cent.
For the 2012/13 college year, it is expected to support approximately 1,100 students aged 16 to 18 with the costs of studying at college – an increase of 115 per cent on the previous year.
The college’s bursary system was set up to replace the Government’s now defunct education maintenance allowance (EMA) system – a weekly payment of £10 to £30 for 16 to 19 learners, with a family income of £20,817 or less. Under the new system, the threshold is now £21,000.
Prior to the EMA being scrapped by the Government in 2010, Bolton College had more than 1,200 learners aged between 16 and 18 who qualified for bursaries, with 90 per cent eligible for the full grant of £30 per week.
To bridge the gap left by the EMA, Bolton College has received financial support from the Young People’s Learning Agency (YPLA). In total, the college has been allocated £405,000 to support students over the next 12 months.
Marie Gilluley, Principal of Bolton College, said: “We have worked extremely hard to increase access to learning and ensure that more of our vulnerable learners will have the opportunity to continue their studies with us.
“Our aim is to make education available to all and we don’t want students to be put off from enquiring about the range of courses available because they are worried about money. With these budget allocations, we will continue to make training and education within reach of anyone who wants it.”
For the current academic year, the college will be awarding Guaranteed Bursaries of up to £1,200 for the most vulnerable students. To qualify for this, they must be in care, or care-leavers; in receipt of income support; or in receipt of both Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
Bolton College will also be providing discretionary bursaries to those learners who qualify, by providing a travel bursary that entitles them to a free term-only pass to and from college and an essential equipment bursary.