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Coronavirus | Updates, advice and resources for families and practitioners

Discretionary Learner Support

What is Discretionary Learner Support?

If you’re aged 19 or over, on a further education course and facing financial hardship, you could get Discretionary Learner Support (DLS) to help with costs. DLS can be used to help pay for:

  • childcare (if you’re 20 or over - if you’re 19, apply for Care to Learn instead)
  • accommodation and travel
  • course materials and equipment
  • other hardship needs

Am I eligible?

To get Discretionary Learner Support (DLS) you must be:

  • 19 or over
  • studying at a learning provider funded by the Skills Funding Agency (check with your college)

You can claim if you also get other grants and funds, including:

  • Professional and Career Development Loans
  • Care to Learn (although you can’t get DLS for childcare costs)
  • New Deal for Lone Parents
  • Disability Living Allowance

You can’t claim if you’re:

  • getting full student finance for higher education
  • on a learndirect course
  • on a New Deal programme (except New Deal for Lone Parents)
  • on an apprenticeship training scheme
  • on a work-based learning course
  • on an Adult & Community Learning course
  • an asylum seeker aged over 19

How do I claim?

Apply directly to your learning provider - each has its own application process.

Speak to your student support services to find out what’s available and for help with applying.

Who to contact

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