Funding or grants available to Asylum seekers for Education in Wales

One of the priority areas in the Welsh Government’s Refugee and Asylum Seeker Delivery Plan (March 2016) is to increase opportunities for refugees and asylum seekers with basic skills to access further education.  It includes the following actions:

  • All Further Education Colleges will provide information, advice and guidance and will be able to help with the application process.
  • All Further Education Colleges student services departments will advise on any financial support available to prospective learners.
  • Careers Wales will provide face to face guidance to young asylum seekers in schools where either their own systems or the schools have identified them as requiring more tailored careers information advice and guidance support. As part of such guidance the Careers Adviser will provide relevant information regarding access and funding routes for individuals to suitable education, training or potential employment opportunities which can support the individual’s career pathway or future career options.

If they have not already done so, your constituent may wish to contact their local or chosen further education college, or contact Careers Wales.  Careers Wales can be contacted on 0800 028 4844. They also have an email or webchat service.

Concessionary travel scheme

The Welsh Government operates a youth discount bus travel scheme.  This provides discounted travel on busses for those aged between 16 and 18 who live in Wales and may be used for school or college transport. The scheme provides eligible persons with a one-third discount off the purchase price of the equivalent adult fare. Only eligible persons may apply.  This is defined as those aged 16 to 18 inclusive and whose primary residence is in Wales.   

Applications and further information can be found on the Mytravelpass website.

Family Action

Family Action distributes grants to individuals over the age of 14, looking to unlock their educational potential by participating in further education.  To be eligible, a student must be studying at an organisation affiliated to Family Action’s Educational Grants Service.  A learner must be studying on a further education course, including pre-access and access and have right of residency in the UK or be an asylum seeker.  Learners of 14 years of age or over are eligible to apply. There are currently no restrictions on the subject of study but preference will be given to those studying a ‘commercial subject’ (for example, IT, bookkeeping, accounting, etc).  

The grants will fund ‘additional’ costs associated with a course of study such as clothing and/or equipment required for the course, travel, examination costs, computers/laptops.  They do not fund course fees, costs already incurred, items provided by the college for the course, childcare, study outside the UK, higher education courses, postgraduate study or personal expenditure not directly associated with study such as food, clothing, household bills.  

The average grant is likely to be in the region of £200 to a maximum of £300.  Applications must be submitted, on-line, by authorised members of college staff (usually student welfare advisors or equivalent) from affiliated organisations.  

Further information can be seen on the Family Action website.

Hope for the young

Hope for the young is a charitable organisation that aims to support young people complete their education by providing grants to those who have no access to government funds.  They may provide grants for tuition fees, transport and living costs.

They offer help to young people:

  • Aged 16 to 25;
  • Who are not eligible for a student loan (e.g. asylum-seekers and undocumented);
  • Up to their first university degree.

For those applying for college, travel or living allowances there are no deadlines.  However, the charity allocates funds on a first come first served basis after the annual Higher Education deadline of 30th April.  

Further information and referral forms can be seen on the hope for the young website.

Lawrence Atwell’s Charity

Lawrence Atwell’s Charity offers grants for young people from low-income backgrounds, to help them gain vocational, accredited qualifications.  They offer grants of up to £1,500 for people aged 16 to 26, to take courses (up to level 3) that will help them move into employment. Funding can be given for course fees, equipment/materials, travel costs, childcare and living costs.

They will consider a person for funding if they are:

  • Aged 16 – 26 (on the date the course starts);
  • A British citizen, asylum seeker or refugee, or have you lived in the UK for 3 years;
  • Taking an accredited, vocational training course up to level 3;
  • From a low income household.

They do not fund:

  • Any course that is not vocational or accredited;
  • Secondary education (including studying for GCSEs or A Levels – unless returning to education as an adult);
  • University or postgraduate degrees;
  • Individuals who already have a university or postgraduate degree;
  • A course at a private dance/drama college.

Applications are considered on a first-come, first-served basis. With limited funds available, applicants are encouraged to submit their application as early as possible before their course starts.  There is no deadline.  

Further information and details of how to apply can be seen on the Lawrence Atwell’s Charity website.


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