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Armed Forces Bereavement Scholarship Scheme

The Armed Forces Bereavement Scholarship Scheme (AFBSS) provides 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.

This artticle describes a scheme to provide post 16 education scholarships for the children of Service Personnel whose death has been attributed to Service since 1990. It explains the eligibility criteria, how those eligible should apply and the amount of the contribution that will be paid. 


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

  • Cause of Death. A parent of the applicant died whilst serving in HM 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 a MOD attributable benefits scheme.
  • Date of Death. The deceased parent died after 0001 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; 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, unmarried or not in a civil partnership 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 one year between secondary education and Further Education (FE) or Further Education and Higher Education (HE). 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. The applicant must be due to start or started the FE course either while still in compulsory education or within 3 years from finishing school education. For HE the applicant must be due to start or have started the HE course within 3 years of finishing FE. If more than 3 years, the applicant must provide justification why FE or HE has been delayed..


Further Education (FE). This includes English ‘Technical Education’ (TE). The scheme will provide a scholarship to enable a bereaved child to stay in further or technical education for up to three 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 two years at school, college or other appropriate provider but can be extended to three 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 one 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 at Annex A. These amounts will be reviewed annually.

Place of Study. Scholarships will only be provided for study in the UK. 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 three 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.

Further details, including the rates involved and how to apply, can be found at the link below:





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