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Assessment and eligibility rules 2019/20

The purpose of the trust is to support Tower Hamlets residents who might otherwise struggle financially to pursue academic or vocational further or higher education.

All residents not eligible for mainstream financial support can apply for support with fees, as set out below.

Residents with a household income below £13,000 can also apply for maintenance support.

Full guidance on calculating household income and on grant levels can be found below.

What do we mean by the term 'household income'?

Household means the applicant and their parents, children and the spouse/partner of each of them, if they share the same home.

'Total household income' means the income from all sources, earned and unearned, of all members of the household, after tax, minus rent/mortgage, council tax and the following additional reductions:

  • £2,000 per adult
  • £1,500 for each 16 and 17 year old
  • £1,250 for each 11 to 15 year old
  • £1,000 for each child under 11 years old.

The off-sets are calculated by the trust using the information provided on the application form.

How much support can the trust provide?

Where the total household income is above £13,000, the trust can only provide support to cover course fees.

Where the total household income is below £11,000, the trust will consider providing support to cover fees and maintenance.

Where the total household income is between £13,000 and £11,000, partial support will be considered.

What if I can't provide the supporting evidence that is requested?

If you don't provide enough supporting information, the trust may only be able to help with fees, even if your household income is low enough to provide maintenance support as well.

Once a decision on support has been made, further documentation can't be considered. Similarly, where a course has already started, the trust won't usually revise its offer of support unless there are exceptional circumstances.

What are the residency requirements?

Applicants must be residents of Tower Hamlets on the application closing date. 

They must have one of the following:

  • a permanent right to remain in the United Kingdom
  • indefinite or exceptional leave to remain
  • humanitarian protection or discretionary leave to remain
  • refugee status.

Applicants must have lived in Tower Hamlets since at least 21 June 2016. However, periods of time where the purpose of living in the borough was for studying (ie as a university student) will not count.

Exceptions to the three year limit might be made where:

  • an applicant has recently been granted full refugee status by the Home Office
  • an applicant is under 18 on 30 June 2019 and is coming to live with their parents in Tower Hamlets, provided their parents have lived in Tower Hamlets for at least three years.

What courses will the trust support?

Grants will be considered for the following courses:

  • Further education: not primary or secondary school, or A-levels, or higher education
  • Higher education: qualifications above A-level standard but excluding postgraduate education
  • Postgraduate education: a postgraduate course offering a nationally recognised vocational qualification or one that is likely to improve the applicant's employment prospects.

When will the trust not be able to offer support?

If applicants are eligible for a Council Education Award  (i.e. they have a family income of less than £20,817 per year) and/or a Tower Hamlets Council FE Travel Grant, they won't normally be eligible for financial support from the trust.

Any applicant taking a higher education course which normally attracts financial support from central government will not receive funding for maintenance from the trust, or fees, unless they have children under the age of 18.

Part-time courses and distance learning

Support will be considered for recognised part-time and distant learning courses that require the student to take 12 or less guided learning hours of tuition per week.

Private college courses

Applications will be considered for full-time courses at private colleges in the UK as long as the course length isn't longer than three years. The trust might refuse an application if the tuition fees are  unreasonably high.


Applications will be considered for apprenticeships that lead to recognised professional qualifications. Funding will also be considered for any equipment required to complete the apprenticeship.

Religious studies

Applications for courses devoted exclusively or mainly to the study of religion, regardless of which religion, will not normally be supported.

General requirements

Any support offered will only be for the 2018/19 academic year. Support for further years will require a new application and the applicant will need to have successfully completed the previous year of study.

A successful application for one year is no guarantee that an application for a later year will be granted.

The trust will only support applicants having to redo a year in exceptional circumstances.

Levels of support

The trust cannot meet all the needs of every applicant and will only be able to contribute towards the cost of education in most cases. Applicants should therefore expect to meet at least part of their costs. 

Grants from other sources either received or due to be received will be taken into account in the decision making process. If information come to light after an offer has been made, or even after money has been paid, then the trust reserves the right to reassess its decision.

Where an applicant is in receipt of benefits, the amount awarded will be less than the amount which would cause the benefit claim to change or stop.

Support for residential fees will be considered up to £4,000 where such an applicant is aged 16 to 18 and taking an agricultural of horticultural course outside Greater London.

Applicants aged 19 or over at the start of their course will be considered for either maintenance up to £1,750 and tuition fees up to £750 (provided the total shall not exceed £2,750), or residential fees of up to £4,000 for agricultural and horticultural courses outside Greater London.

Higher education courses

Maintenance up to £1,750 and tuition fees up to £2,500 provided the total doesn't exceed £3,750.

Part-time courses (below postgraduate level)

Tuition fees up to £1,750 and no maintenance.

Postgraduate courses

Maintenance up to £2,000 and tuition fees up to £4,250 for a full time course lasting from one to three academic years, provided the total doesn't exceed £4,250 per year.

Maintenance up to £1,000 and tuition fees up to £2,000 for a full time course lasting less than one academic year.

Tuition fees of up to £2,000 per year for a part time course with a maximum grant for the course of up to £6,000.

Tuition fees of £1,000 per year for a part time PhD course with a maximum grant of up to £6,000.


The trust has limited funds to provide support grants. The approval of applications will be prioritised as follows:

  1. Continuing students - students who are moving to the 2019/20 academic year of their course having  received  support  from  the  trust for the same course at the  same  college  in  2018/19.
  2. Full-time further and higher education courses for new applicants.
  3. Part-time courses below post-graduate level.
  4. Postgraduate courses (part-time or full -time) for new applicants


Decisions made by the trust are final and binding. Applicants wishing to appeal against a decision refusing them support, or against the amount of support offered, may only do so by supplying additional information not previously provided.

In very exceptional cases, support may be offered to students who would not otherwise be entitled  to or qualify for a grant.