Financial support 18 and under

If you’re aged between 16 and 18 and you are a British citizen, your tuition is free.
You might need to pay a small fee towards any materials you use on your course, but otherwise YMCA Training’s Study Programmes and Traineeships won’t cost you a thing.
If you're worried about the cost of training, please read the helpful guide below as there are a range of financial benefits and discounts available to help you while you study.

Bursaries

The fund was created to ensure that young people on our non-waged programmes are able to participate regardless of their financial position.
Bursaries can be in the form of regular or one off payments and are for learning related costs like travel and books, specialist clothing and materials, trips and visits.
Bursaries do not need to be repaid as long as you remain enrolled on an eligible programme and fulfil the attendance requirements of the programme.

Are you eligible?

For initial eligibility, you must be under the age of 19 on 31 August in the year you start your learning programme.

There are two types of Bursaries on offer (separate from 24+ loans):

Full Bursary

Up to £1,200 if you:

· are in, or have recently left, local authority care
· receive Income Support (IS) or Universal Credit in your own name
· are disabled and receive both Employment Support Allowance (ESA and either Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in your own name

Discretionary Bursary

Up to £400 for learners who aren’t eligible for a Mandatory bursary if you:

· are homeless and receive Local Authority Subsistence
· received free school meals or a means-tested benefit such as JSA, DLA in Year 11
· have a parent, guardian or carer who receives a means-tested benefit (IS, JSA, Universal Credit, ESA, Incapacity Benefit (IB), Tax Credits 2014/15, The Guarantee Element of State Pension Credit).
If you don't fall into any of the above categories, you may still be eligible to receive payments from the Bursary Fund if:
· your annual household income is £20,000 or less
· or you can evidence genuine financial hardship

Receiving the bursary

All Bursary Fund awards are subject to evidence of household income or that you meet the necessary eligibility criteria. Your local YMCA Training staff can help you with this. The process is very straight forward and your details are taken in the strictest confidence.
You'll need to fill out a Bursary Application form and the learner finance service decides which bursary you are eligible for and pays you directly.
For more information about bursaries go to the GOV.UK page on bursaries

Free School Meals

As part of a national scheme, disadvantaged learners are eligible to receive free meals, if you or your parent/carer receive of one of the following:

· Child Tax Credits (gross income less than £16,190)
· Income Support or Universal Credit
· Job Seekers Allowance
· Employment Support Allowance
· Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
· Pensions Credit (Guaranteed Element)

NUS Extra or Apprentice Extra Discount Cards

What you get: A wide range of discounts in shops and leisure centres, including Oasis, ASOS, Amazon, Odeon cinemas, Ticketmaster and Pizza Express. Using your student card could save you hundreds of pounds! Buy it for £12. For more information, visit: www.nus.org.uk/en/nus-extra or http://www.apprenticeextra.co.uk/ .

Local Council Bursaries

Many Councils offer financial support to young people who stay in education and training. Please contact your local borough council for more information about financial support available to young people in your area.

Travel Discounts

Each centre will be able to provide details of discounted travel in the area and will gladly support with application forms as required.
16+ Oyster Card (London Only)
Learners living in a London Borough must be 16, 17 or 18 years old on 31st August 2015 and studying on a recognised programme to qualify for free travel on TFL bus routes.
Learners living outside of a London Borough must be 16 or 17 on 31st August 2015 and studying on a recognised programme to qualify for half price travel into and around London on TFL bus routes only.

Help with Childcare - Care to Learn

The Care to Learn scheme can help with childcare costs while you study. What you get: You may receive up to £175 a week (deposits paid and holiday retainers).
You need to be a parent aged under 20. You can claim this benefit as long as the other parent is not available to provide childcare (e.g. if they are working) and they are not claiming Childcare Tax Credit. More information about Childcare Tax Credit at GOV.UK.


Six Essential Money Saving Tips for Students

This National Student Money Week the guys at Save the Student give it to you straight: simple ways to make your cash go further – guaranteed.

Want to know the secret to staying in control of your cash? We’ve narrowed it down to the essentials: here’s what you can do to get on top of your money, get a better deal on your spending, and grab extra funds. Let’s go!
1. Get the bigger picture
Grab yourself some paper and a calculator and start by listing all the cash you have coming in for the month: pocket money, wages from a job, benefits, grants, or anything else.
The total amount is what you’ve got to play with. The aim of the game is to not spend more than that during the month – and, ideally, have a little extra left over.

2. Get tweakin’
Getting on top of your cash by taking charge of where it goes.
It can help to list all your costs by category: essential spending you can’t avoid (things like bills or food), then important but flexible costs (such as getting around) and finally your treats and non-crucials (everything else!).
If your income won’t stretch to all your costs, you’ll need to tweak how much you give yourself to spend on each category.
The golden rule is: when it comes to giving yourself an allowance, start at the top (pay essentials or important costs before anything else). To make your allowance go further, start at the bottom – cut your treats first.

3. Keep a diary
If you really want to see where you cash goes, keep a money diary for a month or two.
Logging the date, what you bought and how much you spent should do it – but writing up all your spending will give you the best insights into your shopping habits. You can then plug your sums into your money plan to see how you’re faring.
First-off, check you’re not blitzing cash on non-essentials ahead of paying for priorities. Then see whether you could get a better deal on your spending, or make or earn extra income – we’ve got the details below.

4. Make the most of what you’ve got
If you’re going to spend a penny, spend it wisely – there are heaps of ways to go about it.
· Buy what you need, not what you want
· Save up for stuff instead of borrowing to buy (i.e., on credit cards that charge you for the privilege!)
· Compare costs on everything: whether it’s bills, broadband or butter, shop around to get it for less
· Bulk buy or share to keep costs down
· Keep money for essentials separate from everyday cash – two bank accounts can help. You get your income paid into your main account, but only use the funds in it to pay your essential or important costs. Siphon off enough to cover daily spending into another account that you can dip into whenever you need.

5. Get more money
Who doesn’t want extra money? No one, that’s who – but where you get it from is the $64,000 question:
· Make your own income: that could be by selling things you don’t use, or working freelance gigs on the side (hobbies – music, art or languages – are prime places to start!). Or check out these40 money-makers to inspire you
· Use the benefits and grant calculators at turn2us.org.uk: there may be funds out there you don’t even know you’re eligible for
· If you’re at uni or college, ask your student money adviser about any cash going (scholarships, bursaries or hardship funds)
· See what your awards your council has: grants for staying in education, starting a business or something else to give you a boost.
If you’re working, you’ve got a couple of options for upping your salary:
· Work more hours
· Ask for a raise, promotion or job benefits, such as travel expenses
· Train-up so you can bag a better-paying position!

6. Earn free cash
Savings give you cash for emergencies and big splurges, plus you can earn extra – for free – with a bank account. Earning interest is easy money, so make savings an essential when you divvy up your income, if you can. Otherwise, slice off a bit every time you get extra cash (birthday money, for instance) and stick it in the bank.
· Look for savings accounts that pay interest – the higher the rate, the more you can earn (if you’re under 18, you’ll need someone older to open the account for you)
· Check you can withdraw money whenever you want, but aim to leave it untouched as long as you can for the biggest returns
· Keep an eye out for bonuses or freebies for opening an account (but watch you don’t get a lower interest rate as a trade-off!)
· Keep your eyes on the prize. Put away just a fiver every month and after just 10 years you could make a hefty chunk in interest alone. The earlier you start, the better off you can be.

Think of this as a starter kit – there’s loads more ways to be smarter with money that anyone can profit from. It’s your cash, and it can make you better off. That’s the real bottom line. Good luck!