Life after Divorce – How to Start Studying as a Single Parent

Studying as a Single Parent
Zena Scott Manager Mum and Working

Financial Help – Studying When You’re A Lone Parent

If you would like to go back to college to learn something new or brush up on old skills, what help is there available?

The mumandworking.co.uk team have looked at some of the help and support that is available to parents wanting to return to studying.

If I go back to college, who will look after my children? What financial help is available for childcare?

Most colleges provide basic childcare facilities to accommodate children up to five years old during term time. They offer quality childcare and education for your child whilst you study on full- or part-time courses. To secure a place at the college nursery you must apply early as possible.

If you cannot get a place at the college nursery, look at other childcare facilities in your local area, such as:

  • local créche facilities
  • registered childminders
  • private nurseries

You may be eligible for a Childcare Grant to help you with your Childcare fees.

Full-time higher education students with children can apply for a Childcare Grant.  The grant helps with childcare costs for children under 15, or under 17 if they have special educational needs.  You must be eligible for student finance to apply for a Childcare Grant.

Any money you get is paid on top of your student finance and you don’t have to pay it back.

2015 to 2016

In 2015 to 2016 you can apply for:

  • up to £155.24 a week for 1 child
  • up to £266.15 a week for 2 or more children

For more information, and how to apply visit – www.gov.uk/claim-tax-credits

I’ve heard college courses are very expensive…can I get any help with fees?

There is financial help available for paying your fees. It may vary within different Local Education Authorities (LEA’s), so it is worth contacting them or the college guidance service at the college you would like to attend directly to double check any of the information below

Under 20? The Care to Learn fund is intended to help enable young parents under the age of 20 to continue in, and return to education after the birth of a child by providing funding for childcare whilst the studying as a single parentyoung parent is engaged in a study programme and is therefore not able to provide care for their child.

Care to Learn can also assist with the cost of associated travel costs.

The scheme can provide up to a maximum total amount of support of £160 per child per week or up to a maximum of £175 per child per week in London.

The amount you get will depend on your personal circumstances. You will not get this grant if you receive The Lone Parents’ Grant or if you claim the childcare element of the Working Tax Credit from the Inland Revenue.

The application process for Care to Learn is moving to an online approach. Guidance will be available throughout the online process to help young parents complete their application.

In order to apply, you must register on the Student Bursary Support Service portal. Further details on how to access the portal will be provided later in the Spring. Once registered for an account you will be sent an email confirming your Username and Password. Once logged in, you should follow the instructions to complete your online application.

The Parents’ Learning Allowance is help towards course-related costs for full-time students who have dependent children. How much you get depends on your income and personal or family circumstances. The grant can be worth up to £1,523 per year. Jobcentre Plus will not count this grant when they work out your benefit entitlement. You will not get this grant if you receive the Lone Parents’ Grant.

Child Tax Credit from the Inland Revenue may be available to students with dependent children. It is paid to parents whether or not they are working or studying. To get this you must be between 16 and 18 years old and be in full-time education or registered with the career services.

Child Tax Credit at a higher rate may be available to parents with disabled children or children under one year old. The money you get depends on your circumstances and you can make a claim at any time.

One of the main things to bear in mind when thinking about returning to college is that is doesn’t mean you will be cut-off from your current benefits.

Many of the grants and funding that is available has no effect on your benefit amount at all, and will top-up existing support to make sure you are covered for childcare.

The best place to start when thinking about starting a course is either a talk with your local Local Education Authority or with a Lone Parent Advisor at the JobCentre.

Take a look at more Lone Parents advice on the mumandworking.co.uk support pages here.


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