To apply for funding for a residential or specialist college, you will have to show that your local mainstream college cannot meet your special educational needs (SEN). This may involve visiting your local college and getting an assessment.
Asking for a specialist college in your EHCP
If you have an EHC plan, you can ask to go to the specialist college of your choice in your EHCP. This is called 'naming a special post-16 institution' (specialist colleges for students aged 16 and older).
The specialist college must meet your needs and be an 'efficient use of resources' for your local authority to agree to fund your chosen college.
If the local authority does not agree to your chosen college and you are not happy with the named college or course offered in its place, you can:
IPSEA provides a wide range of resources to help you go through the steps for EHCPs and negotiating with local authorities.
If you're aged between 16 and 19 years, you might be eligible to receive a bursary. You do not have to pay this back.
You could receive a bursary of up to £1,200 a year if you're 'vulnerable'. You're considered to be vulnerable if you're:
in care or a care leaver
getting Income Support or Universal Credit
receiving Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and also getting Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
You could also get a discretionary award if you face financial barriers, such as you're struggling with the costs of transport, meals, books and equipment.
Your college or training provider is responsible for deciding who is eligible, how much to pay and how regularly to pay it. They'll usually want to see evidence, such as a letter about your benefits.
Discretionary support funds
You could get extra money from your college if you're facing financial hardship. Discretionary support funds help disadvantaged students, such as disabled students or those on low incomes with the costs of further education.
Each college has its own policy on who is eligible for funding and what they will provide grants for. Grants can cover the cost of:
books and equipment
transport to and from college
What you can apply for depends on your age, learning provider and personal situation.
Contact your college student support or welfare officer for more information on how to apply for funds.
You can also talk to your college or education provider about Learner Support (GOV.UK) to find out if you can get financial support.
Grants for disability costs
You may be able to claim grants from charitable trusts to help with the extra costs of disability.
The Snowdon Trust provides grants for disability-related further education costs not covered by Government funding. They accept applications from February to August for the academic year starting in September.