Funding boost for school-leavers hoping to continue in education

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HUNDREDS of Wearside school-leavers are set to benefit from a new bursary which will allow them to continue into further education.

City of Sunderland College has released details of its new Bursary Fund, which will give financial support to students aged 16 to 19 pursuing full-time further education or training.

The fund will replace the Government’s Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) scheme, which was controversially scrapped, leading to huge protests across Wearside and the rest of the country.

In a bid to ensure the poorest young people in the city can continue in their education, the college has confirmed those previously entitled to the EMA full award of £30 per week will now automatically qualify for financial aid under its new bursary programme.

Dave Riddell, director of student services, said: “We welcome the launch of the bursary scheme which will replace EMA following its closure at the end of the current academic year.

“Our college will ensure that all funds are used to help students who need it most. It is vital that we continue to support them as much as we can, allowing individuals to achieve their educational goals and realise their learning aspirations.

“Over the next few months, our welfare staff will be working hard to help students wishing to make an application and to answer any questions or queries they might have.”

In the same way that EMA funding was administered, the new form of financial support will be paid directly into a student’s bank account though monthly rather than weekly.

Awards will depend on an individual’s circumstances, but per year could include £510 towards travel costs, £510 to help with meal costs as well as covering the cost of all course materials necessary to their studies.

In addition, under the new scheme, the college can award additional support to students in instances such as young people aged 16 and 17 in care, care leavers aged 16, 17 and 18 or young people aged 16, 17 and 18 who are in receipt of income support.

This may include those who are living independently, those whose parents have died, teenage parents and young people with severe disabilities.

Those wishing to receive support from September 2011 must have applied and received details of their award by Friday, August 19. For more information visit www.citysun.ac.uk/bursary of contact City of Sunderland College’s Student Welfare Team on 511 6589.