Student parents

Students at UWE Bristol who are also parents may be entitled to a range of allowances or grants that will help them to finance their studies.

This page is for full-time UK resident undergraduate students who have dependent children, although some of the content may be useful for postgraduate students.

Student Finance England funded students

What additional support can I get?

You will be entitled to a higher maintenance loan of up to a maximum of £9,609 if you are a single parent.

If you have dependants, you may be eligible for:

  • the Adult Dependants Grant (ADG) (up to £2,834),
  • the Parents Learning Allowance (PLA) (up to £1,617), and
  • the Childcare Grant (CCG).

The amount you receive depends on the income of your partner and/or children. This is assessed at the same time as your eligibility for the maintenance and fee loans.

The Childcare Grant is a non-repayable grant to help you fund formal childcare (eg in nurseries with registered child minders). It will cover 85% of childcare costs up to a set limit. This means that the maximum weekly grant for one child is £159.59 and for two children or more, £273.60 per week. The CCG cannot be used to assist with informal childcare costs, such as the money you might pay friends or family.

You cannot receive the Childcare element of working tax credit and claim for CCG.  As you are likely to receive more financial support via the CCG, it is important to end your claim for the Childcare element before you start your studies.

Initially the CCG is calculated based on your estimated costs. This means it is important that you:

  • Keep evidence of actual expenditure to send to the SFE when requested.
  • Do not spend the grant on childcare costs above the set limits. If your estimates are too high, you will have to repay any overpaid amount from your next instalment of CCG. This can mean it is difficult to budget. 
  • Transfer the CCG into a separate bank account from that for your general living as it can help to keep track.

How can I work out how much funding I am entitled to?

Step 1. Add together the maximum grants and allowance you could receive. This means working out how much of the CCG you qualify for and adding that amount to the £1,617 PLA (and £2,834 ADG if you have a partner).

Step 2. Identify your dependants' income. The income used to work out your funding is the gross taxable income from all sources for the prior financial year (2015/16 for 2017 entry, which is the same income that is used to work out your main funding), minus certain allowable disregards. If your child has income such as maintenance, this is added to the gross taxable income of your partner.

Student's family Amount to deduct
from dependent's income
Student has partner (no children) £6,159
Student, partner and one child £8,473
Student, partner and more than one child £9,627
Student is a lone parent with one child £9,627
Student is a lone parent with more than one dependent child £10,792

Step 3. Compare the figure from step 1 with your income (after deductions) from step 2.

  • If your income (after deductions) is more than the maximum grants (from Step 1), you will not qualify for any extra support.
  • If your income is less than the maximum grants (from step 1) you will receive the balance between the two amounts.
  • If your dependants have no income, you will receive the maximum amount. The calculation is a complex one and you may want to talk to a Money Adviser for a detailed assessment.

Case study for an SFE-funded student

A student with two children and a partner who earns £25,000 per year with childcare costs £350 per week.

Step 1: Calculate maximum grants

Allowance Amount
Adult Dependents’ Grant £2,834
Parents Learning Allowance £1,617
Childcare Grant 85% x £350 = £297.50. This is higher than the maximum grant payable for two children, so £273.60 x 44 weeks £12,038
Maximum Grants £16,040

Step 2: Calculate residual income of partner and/or children

Deductions from partners income Amount
Deduct allowance for 2 parents and 2 children £9,627
Total deductions £9,627
   
Income of partner £25,000
Minus total deductions £9,627
Residual income £15,373

Step 3: Calculate entitlement

Compare maximum grants (£16,489) with residual income (£15,373). The grants are reduced by the remainder from the partner's income and you will be paid the balance:

Amount of grants payable to the student =£16,489 - £15,373 = £1,116. In this case study the income is too high for the Adults Dependant's Grant or Parent's Learning Allowance. The £1,116 payable is Childcare Grant.

NHS-funded students starting in 2016/17

I'm an NHS-funded student - what additional support can I get?

You can apply for the Parent's Learning Allowance of £1,204, the Childcare Allowance and a Dependant's Allowance for each child.

The maximum Dependants' Allowances are as follows:

  • £2,448 for adult or first child, if a lone parent 
  • £549 for each additional child.

The NHS Childcare Allowance helps with your costs for registered or approved childcare. The maximum allowance covers 85% of your childcare costs. This means that the maximum weekly grant payable for one child is £128.78 and for two or more children, £191.45 per week.

Entitlement to the Dependants' and Childcare Allowances are subject to a different means-test to that used for the main bursary and uses much lower income thresholds. See below for a guide to work out your funding.

How can I work out how much NHS funding I am entitled to?

Follow this 4 step process to get a rough idea of your entitlement to Dependants’ Allowances.

Step 1

Total up the maximum allowances you could receive using the appropriate figures for either degree or diploma. This means working out how much of the childcare allowance you qualify for and adding that amount to the Dependants’ Allowance and Parents’ Learning Allowance.

Step 2

Work out the net income of your partner and/or children, including any maintenance payments that you receive for them. Deduct from this income outgoings such as mortgage, personal pension contributions, rent and life insurance. It is important to give a full account of your outgoings when you apply for support.

Step 3

Multiply £1,000 by the number of your dependants. For example, if you have a partner and two children, you would multiply the amount by 3.

Deduct the total from the net income at Step 2.

Step 4

Compare the figure from step 1 with your income from step 3.

  • If your income is more than the maximum grants, you will not qualify for any extra support.
  • If your income is less than the maximum grants you will receive the balance between the two amounts.
  • If your dependants have no income, you will receive the maximum amount.

The calculation is a complex one and you may want to talk to a Money Adviser for a detailed assessment. You can also refer to the NHSBSA web pages for further information and guidance.

Case study for an NHS-funded student

A student with 2 children and a working partner with childcare costs £300 per week and rent of £700 per month.

Step 1: maximum allowances

Allowance Amount
Dependant allowance for partner £2,448
Dependant allowance for 2 children (£549 x 2) £1,098
Parents Learning Allowance £1,204
Childcare Allowance 85% x £300 = £255. This is higher than the maximum payable which is £191.45 x 52 £9,955
Maximum allowances £14,705

Steps 2 and 3

The working partner earns a net income of £25,000 (after deductions for tax and national insurance contributions).
Deduct the annual rent of £8,400 from the net income.
Deduct the ‘ignored allowance’ per dependent in the family (partner plus 2 children).

Deductions from partner income Amount
Annual Rent £8,400
Deduct allowance £1,000 x no. of dependents in family £3,000
Total deductions £11,400
   
Income of partner £25,000
Minus total deductions £11,400
Balance of income £13,600

Step 4

Compare maximum allowances with the residual income.

Allowances/deductions Amount
Maximum allowances £14,705
Deduct balance of income £13,600
Allowances payable to student £1,105

Other financial help

Financial support

As you may find it difficult to supplement your income with earnings from part-time work, you will be a priority for the Learner Support Funds. Your whole circumstances will be taken into account and it may be that we are unable to support you further if your finances are relatively secure. We can consider, for example:

  • helping you with childcare costs which are not covered by the Childcare Grant/Allowance,
  • travel costs to and from the University, and
  • any unexpected costs which you might incur relating to your home (eg if your washing machine breaks down).

See information on Learner Support Funds available and how to apply.

Is it true that lone parents are entitled to state benefits like Income Support?

Lone parents whose youngest child is under five are among the few groups of full-time students who can claim Income Support. In practice, very few full-time students remain entitled to Income Support apart from during the summer months due to the impact of their student income.

Income Support

To apply, you will need to contact Jobcentre Plus. Your student income (eg Maintenance Loan, NHS grant and bursaries and Dependants Allowances) will be taken into account when calculating your benefit entitlement. You will need to tell them every time your situation changes.

Non NHS-funded lone parents may be entitled to £71 per week over the summer vacation if you have children under five. It is obviously important to remember to claim at the start of this period. In addition, lone parents with mortgages may be entitled to help with interest payments. This is a very complex area and you may want to talk to a Finance and Immigration Adviser.

Housing Benefit

Most lone parents who pay rent are entitled to some Housing Benefit. This may range from a few pounds per week to the full cost of your accommodation. If you haven't previously been claiming Housing Benefit, then you need to start a new claim by completing a form (HCTB1) or contacting your local council. You can claim up to 13 weeks before the start of your studies.

Child Tax Credit

This is paid by the Revenue and Customs for each child under 20 still in Further Education (A levels etc.). You will get £2,780 for each child. Receipt of the maximum child tax credit will give access to free school meals and exemption from NHS Charges.

Applications are means-tested, but most lone parents will pass this test unless they have significant help from elsewhere. Lone parents who work 16 hours per week or more may also be entitled to Working Tax Credit.

Changes to state benefits

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is gradually being rolled out throughout the UK and will eventually replace the following benefits, starting with new claimants:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) 
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit

If you are already claiming the following benefits, your claim/s will be moved to Universal Credit over the next few years.

Managing your claim

Jobcentre Plus offices and the Housing Benefit Offices do not deal with many claims from students and in the past have miscalculated benefit entitlements. You may want to contact our Money Advisers for a detailed assessment.

It is vitally important that you keep track of your entitlement. You must tell your Jobcentre Plus office and Revenue and Customs whenever your circumstances change (e.g. over the summer vacation or if you stop working). If you do not, you may be overpaid and this is a serious offence which could result in reclamation or even prosecution. If you think that you may have been overpaid, you can discuss this with us in complete confidence. We can check your entitlement and talk about the options available to you.

Contact us for a benefit calculation before you start your studies.

What is my situation with Council Tax?

If you are a full-time student, you will probably not have to pay Council Tax. If you and your children live in a house with no other adults then your house will be exempt as long as your children are below the age of 19 and in full-time non HE education. If you have previously been entitled to Council Tax Benefit (as distinct from an exemption), you will need to arrange for this to be cancelled.

If you share with other adults (aged 18 and over) who are not students, then they will be liable for council tax on the property. If you are a lone parent living with your children once they reach 18 or 19, then you may become liable for the council tax as the main tenant or owner.

If there is only one adult in addition to the student, they may be entitled to a reduction of 25% on their bill as students are exempt residents. You will need to give your Local Authority (eg Bristol City Council) an exemption certificate which you can download from myUWE.

If the non-student is the spouse/civil partner of an international student, they may also be exempt from council tax. This is a complex area, so contact us to check out your liability.

If there is more than one non-student in the household, the full council tax will be charged.

Your council tax exemption ends on the last day of the assessment period in the final term of the final year. This may be around mid-May for September starters.

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