Are you aware of the different funding streams available to you as a student parent?
Do you want to check you’re accessing everything available to you?
Read on for our quick(ish) guide to funding for full time students with child dependants:
- You’re classed as an ‘independent’ student, which means that your student finance award is calculated using your personal income and your partner’s (if applicable).
- Lone parents can get an additional amount included in the Maintenance Loan called the Special Support Element (SSE). This is intended to help pay for books, travel and childcare and is disregarded as income for benefits purposes by DWP.
- This means that for this academic year, a lone parent studying a standard length course with no unearned income should receive £10,194 Maintenance Loan each year, of which £3783 is the SSE. This means that only £6411 should be taken into account as income for benefits purposes.
- There are additional grants for student parents available through Student Finance………
Parents can also apply for Parent Learning Allowance (PLA), which is an additional grant of up to £1716. PLA is means tested but not counted as income for benefit purposes.
If you’re using an Ofsted Early Years registered provider or General Childcare registered provider, you can claim a Childcare Grant (CCG), which is to help with the costs of your childcare while at university. CCG is means tested but not counted as income for benefit purposes.
Student Finance can pay for 85% of the actual costs up to a fixed maximum of £169.31 per week for one child and £290.27 per week for two or more children. Payments are made directly to your childcare provider.
Student Finance will include a partner’s income when calculating your entitlement.
Unfortunately, student parents undertaking a full placement during their sandwich year are not entitled to supplementary grants or extra loans during that year.
And remember, if it’s not called a loan, you don’t have to pay it back (unless there has been an overpayment)
Student parents undertaking Health Science courses (unfortunately does not include Paramedic Science)
You may be studying a course which has extra weeks of study. These are known as long courses and as such you can get additional weeks funding on top of the standard Maintenance Loan and SSE.
You can apply for additional support provided by the NHSBSA Learning Support Fund, which comprises:
Travel and dual accommodation expenses – for the reimbursement of travel and accommodation costs for placements.
Child Dependants Allowance – £1000 grant available to students with dependent children.
Exceptional Support Fund – a hardship fund for those students with unusual and exceptional financial difficulties.
If you are a lone parent and receiving Universal Credit, remember UC should only take part of your loan into account as income – they should not take the Special Support Element or the Parent Learning Allowance or the Childcare Grant into account – but if you have Childcare Grant you can’t get the childcare element of Universal Credit (but CCG is better).
Student parents may well be eligible to claim Universal Credit, if applying for DWP Benefits for the first time, or can possibly continue to receive the ‘legacy’ style benefits such as Housing Benefit and Child Tax Credit in addition to any Child Benefit already being received.
The Student Advisers can help students apply for DWP Benefits, explain eligibility and check the assessments are correct.
Extra help from University
Most students with low household incomes below £25,000 per year can receive the University of Brighton bursary which is paid in 2 instalments.
Students experiencing financial difficulties can also apply to the Student Support Fund to help with living and study costs.
Council Tax can be complicated
- If you live with a partner who is also a full time student and you have children under the age of 18, you are exempt from paying Council Tax
- If you are a lone parent and your child or children are under 18, you are exempt from paying Council Tax.
- If you live with a partner who is not a full time student, you will be liable for Council Tax as a household, but you can get a 25% discount off your bill because you are a full time student.
- If you live with a partner but you have a low income, you may be eligible for a Council Tax reduction
If you have any questions about your funding and things you might be able to claim for in addition to your student finance package, please just contact Student Advice