The new scheme will ensure the continuation of the existing bursary scheme but add four new components. These are:
- help with attending OCA workshops and exhibitions for those with disabilities and/or financial hardship
- help with the costs of posting and packaging exceptional items for those in financial hardship
- help with providing arts consumables for students in custodial institutions
- contributions to projects aimed at widening participation in OCA courses or undertaking research and developmental work to improve student support.
The criteria for ad hoc support will be similar to those for bursaries. In short:
- applications are limited to those who do not hold an HE qualification already
- applicants should have lived within the UK or EU for the 3 preceding years
- applicants should seek support from alternative sources first. In practice this means that support under the OCA’s Learner Support Scheme is more likely to be relevant for personal development learners than undergraduates since the latter can apply for support from Finance England (or Wales or Northern Ireland).
Full details of the new OCA’s new scheme can be found here: OCA’s Learner Support Scheme guidance notes. The Guidance Notes also include the relevant application forms.