Due to COVID-19 and numerous students losing employment and having to claim benefits as a result. We've seen a rise in queries from students about Universal Credit and Bursaries. With this in mind, we have got an update from the Edinburgh College Student Funding department to help students that are coming back to college, whilst claiming Universal Credit.

"As Universal Credit is an entitlement, students who are able to remain on Universal Credit (UC) should do so. This is especially important if their rent is being covered by UC.

As a general rule, students with a work-related requirement will have to give up universal credit unless:

-They have children OR

-They are receiving disability payments (or have a partner who is) OR

-They have a partner on their claim who is not a student and is entitled to universal credit OR

-They are a young person under 21 at the start of their course can who is estranged from their parents.

A bursary is not an entitlement. Students who are able to stay on universal credit are eligible for the Universal Credit maintenance rate of bursary only (plus travel and course materials where appropriate). We have an exception to this, primarily for Care Experienced students, but we will tell them at the assessment stage if this applies. The UC rate of the bursary is set at £28.00 per week as UC disregard the first £110 of bursary support each month. Anything else above this is taken off on a pound for pound basis, and as there is also a rule in the policy that says we can’t duplicate DWP funds to which a student is entitled, we have the £28 Universal Credit bursary rate. It is important that you state on your funding application that you will be remaining on a DWP benefit as that is what Universal Credit is.

Because bursary is not an entitlement, and students are only eligible for the £28 rate, UC staff cannot tell them that they have to come back and claim a higher rate of bursary to which they are not eligible for, and should absolutely not be deducting a higher rate of the bursary as ‘notional income’ as the students are not eligible for that higher rate. If any students get correspondence from the DWP telling them otherwise, we are happy to write a letter confirming to the DWP that the student is only eligible for the bursary rate stated in their award letters."