Apply for the Armed Forces Bereavement Scholarship Scheme

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By Margaretd. Regina

The aim of the Armed Forces Bereavement Scholarship Scheme (AFBSS) is to provide the children of those whose death is attributable to service a head start in life by enabling them to progress in their post-16 education.

An application must be made for each year of study. If applicant does not complete a claim form for each new year of study, the grant will be stopped.

Eligibility

The scheme is open to an applicant who meets all the following criteria:

Cause of death

A parent of the applicant died while serving in the armed forces and the parent’s death was deemed to be attributable to their service, and for which the child or surviving parent is receiving benefits under an MoD-attributable benefits scheme.

Date of death

The deceased parent died after 00:01 hours on 1 January 1990.

Relationship

At the time of death, the applicant was a child of the deceased service person, or the applicant was the biological child of the deceased and was born within 42 weeks of the parent’s death. For the purpose of these regulations, a child is defined as a legitimate or legitimated child or step-child, a child statutorily adopted or a child of the family (a legal term meaning any other child who is being brought up in the household of the deceased at their expense).

A child is deemed to be below the age of majority (18 years). If over that age, a son or daughter must be 24 years or under and in receipt of full-time education at a school, college or university (studying for a first degree only) or be out of full-time education for up to 1 year between secondary education and further education or further education and higher education. The age limits do not apply to a son or daughter who is physically or mentally incapable of contributing to their own support. Fostered children are not eligible.

Age on application

Further education

The applicant must be due to start or have started the further education course either:

  • while still in compulsory education, or
  • within 3 years from finishing school education

Higher education

The applicant must be due to start or have started the higher education course:

  • within 3 years of finishing further education

If more than 3 years, the applicant must provide justification why further education or higher education has been delayed.

How to apply

You should read the relevant guidance on this page and complete the claim form below:

Claim forms should be sent to:

Provision

Further education

This includes English ‘technical education’. The scheme will provide a scholarship to enable a bereaved child to stay in further or technical education for up to 3 years. Any programme equivalent to English Level 3 or Scottish SCQF Level 6, or below, is eligible. This scholarship will normally be paid for the last 2 years at school, college or other appropriate provider but can be extended to 3 years if required by the syllabus being studied or the personal circumstances of the learner. It will not be extended in order to repeat part of a syllabus or to retake exams.

Higher education/university/higher-level technical education

The scheme will provide a contribution towards the cost of a first undergraduate course at a publicly funded UK higher education institution, or 1 higher-level technical education programme at a provider funded by the relevant funding agency regardless of course length. The scholarship contributes towards both the tuition fees and maintenance costs. Since tuition fees vary across the UK according to place of domicile and place of study, the university scholarship is adjusted to provide a similar level of support to all applicants across the UK.

Amounts

The amount of the further education and university scholarships are given in Scholarship rates. These amounts will be reviewed annually.

Place of study

Scholarships will only be provided for study in the UK. For those who are resident in either the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, residence in England will be assumed. Funding will not be provided for study at any institution outside the UK, except as an integral part of a degree course at a UK university (for example, a year in France as part of a degree in French).

Foreign and Commonwealth

Applicants who are not domiciled in the UK must obtain a place at a UK institution before applying for a scholarship. Scholarships will be provided as though the applicant
were resident in England. Arrangements and costs for visas and travel will be the responsibility of the applicant. They will not be covered by this scheme.

Payments

Scholarships will be paid to either the parent or guardian or directly to the bereaved child. For both scholarships, 3 payments will be made each year by 31 October, 31 January and 30 April, or as soon as confirmation has been received from the education establishment that the student has registered and is attending the specified course. Veterans UK are to confirm both registration and attendance at the beginning of the academic year.

Income tax

Scholarship payments will not be liable for income tax.

Means testing

The award of a scholarship will not depend on the financial situation of the applicant or their family. The receipt of a scholarship should not preclude a recipient from applying for other financial support, such as the government’s Access to Learning Fund or university funds, should they find themselves in hardship.

Death of service parent while at school or university

If a child becomes eligible for a scholarship during an academic year while in further education or at university, payments will be backdated to the start of the term in which their parent died or will begin from the start of the next term following a death during the holidays.

Academic year

For the purposes of this scheme the academic year is deemed to run from 1 September to 31 August of the following year.

Scheme administration

The scheme is administered by Veterans UK. All correspondence for the scheme administrator, including applications, should be sent to the Armed Forces Bereavement Scholarship administrator at:

Application process: further education

Application is made by the parent or guardian of an eligible child, or by the bereaved child, and sent to the scheme administrator (see How to apply).

Applications must be received by the scheme administrator by 31 January in the academic year for which the scholarship is to apply. Applications submitted after this deadline will be considered on a case-by-case basis and may be approved in exceptional circumstances.

The scheme administrator then confirms in writing to the applicant if the child is eligible.

If the child is not eligible, the scheme administrator will outline the reason for the decision. If you believe the decision is incorrect, you should contact the scheme adjudicator.

Once an application form has been received, the scheme administrator will write to the academic institution to confirm the recipient has started the next year of study.

Third year of study

If the child intends to continue into a third year of the further education or technical education course, in addition to completing the application form, the parent, guardian or child should:

  • write to the scheme administrator asking for an extension of the scholarship
  • enclose a letter from the school or further education establishment where the child will study confirming that the child will continue to be enrolled in that establishment for a further year

A further education scholarship will not be extended beyond 3 years.

If at any stage the child withdraws from the course, the parent or guardian of the child, or the bereaved child must write immediately to the scheme administrator to inform of the date of withdrawal from the course. No further scholarship payments will be made after the date of withdrawal. However, if education ceases due to a period of ill health, the grant may still be issued if the student returns to complete the course. Failure to inform the scheme administrator of the withdrawal of the child from the course before any further payments have been made will render the recipient of the payments liable for repayment of all money received after the date of withdrawal from the course.

Application process: higher education

Application is made by the eligible child and sent to the scheme administrator (see How to apply).

Applications can be made after 1 April in the calendar year in which the course will start. Applications will not be accepted before this date. The application must be received by the scheme administrator no later than 31 January of the following year (that is, 31 January in the academic year for which the application is made). Applications which are submitted after this deadline will be considered on a case-by-case basis and may be approved in exceptional circumstances.

The scheme administrator will confirm in writing if the applicant is eligible.

If the applicant is not eligible, the scheme administrator will outline the reason for this decision. If you believe the decision is incorrect, you should contact the scheme adjudicator explaining why you believe this.

The applicant must also register with the Student Loans Company for student finance.
This is to ensure that fees charged are those for a UK student. Failure to register may mean that the applicant is charged fees as an overseas student, which may be higher. Registering for a student loan does not mean that a loan must be used. However, the scholarship may not cover all of the tuition and living costs incurred, so the scholarship recipient may also take out a student loan to cover additional costs if they choose to do so.

Scholarship payment amounts may vary across the UK depending on the country of domicile and the country in which the applicant chooses to take their degree course. The scholarship rates are below. Eligible children from overseas will be treated as resident in England for the purposes of these scholarships.

Scholarship rates

Further education

The further education rate is £1,500 for all students.

University scholarships

University scholarships are made up of an amount to cover fees and a maintenance grant. For study in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, the amount paid for fees will be the actual amount charged up to a maximum of £9,000. For study in England, tuition fees of up to a maximum of £9,250 (from 1 Sep 2017) will be paid. The maintenance grant is £4,950.

The university rates are detailed in the table below:

Studying in England Studying in Scotland Studying in Wales Studying in Northern Ireland
Living in England Up to £14,200 Up to £14,200 Up to £13,950 Up to £14,200
Living in Scotland Up to £14,200 £4,9503 Up to £13,950 Up to £14,200
Living in Wales Up to £14,200 Up to £14,200 Up to £13,950 Up to £14,200
Living in Northern Ireland Up to £14,200 Up to £14,200 Up to £13,950 Up to £9,580

If up to £14,200: made up of a maximum of £9,250 for tuition fees and £4,950 for maintenance.

If up to £13,950: made up of £9,000 for tuition fees and £4,950 for maintenance.

If £4,9503: made up of £4,950 for maintenance.

If up to £9,580: made up of a maximum of £4,630 for tuition fees and £4,950 for maintenance.

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