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Vocational Education: Finance

Volume 461: debated on Wednesday 20 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what support is available in addition to educational maintenance allowances for those 16-19 trainees who require assistance with accommodation and other living expenses. (139288)

This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council, who operate learner support schemes for 16 to 19-year-olds on behalf of the DfES. Mark Haysom, the Council’s Chief Executive, has written to my hon. Friend with the information requested and a copy of his reply has been placed in the House Library.

Letter from Mark Haysom, dated 11 June 2007:

I am writing in response to your recent Parliamentary Question that asked, “What support is available to those 16-19 trainees, in addition to Education Maintenance Allowances, who require assistance with accommodation and other living expenses?”

There are a number of other Learner Support Schemes from which a young person can access financial support. Aside from Education Maintenance Allowance; a young person may be eligible to receive financial assistance with accommodation and living expenses from the Residential Support Scheme and the Discretionary Learner Support Fund (DLSF).

The Further Education Residential Support Scheme enables learners to access education that is not available within reasonable daily travelling distance of the learner’s home address. The scheme will pay for residential accommodation and can also help with the associated travelling costs of living away from home.

DLSF are available to students who are experiencing financial hardship. Unlike an EMA this is not a weekly allowance but it does provide financial help via a system of one-off payments for students with particular needs.

Funds are held locally and allocated on a discretionary basis. DLSFs can help with the costs of transport, childcare, residential lodgings and course related costs such as books, materials and equipment. It is also available for domestic emergencies. It does not have an income threshold but it is aimed, specifically, at those in greatest need; because of this it is usually income tested in some way.

Whilst the LSC provides LSF funding, it is administered by a young person’s Learning Provider or Local Authorities (LAs). It is for these organisations to decide their own policies in respect of the distribution of DLSFs and to defend these policies locally. Learners should contact their Learning Provider to find out whether they are eligible.

I hope that you find this information addresses your question.