Single Mums going to University..?

(34 Posts)
NeverFullyDressedWithoutASmile Fri 22-Jul-11 19:56:04

I'm looking for some advice about grants and finance while going to Uni.

My DS is nearly 4 and will be at school when I go and I just wondered if there are any other single parent mums who are braving higher education and if you can please give me some advice (ie figures) of grants and loans available to single parents who are at University?

I've had a look on the Direct.gov website and on the University websites but they're all a bit vague and say "you can apply for...." rather than saying that if you're a single mum on benefits, you will get £x to live on, which will give you a budget of £x a week grin

Any advice etc very gratefully received!!

By the way, I'm off to study to be a teacher, thus hopefully landing me with a career, income and pension... or let's hope anyway!!

Cornwell Fri 22-Jul-11 21:21:31

Hi, google 'student finance' and look at the Directgov option that comes up - it is quite helpful. It is difficult to give exact figures because of differing circumstances. Uni websites often have finance calculators in the student finance sections and some show examples to give people an idea of funding arrangements.
I have just graduated and, though money has been tight at times, it was the budgeting that counted........I split my loans & grants to cover 12 months rather than find the summer period difficult.
Are you going this September?

lisamay78 Fri 22-Jul-11 22:29:32

im starting university this september single parent got a little boy who is turning 4 in few weeks
where abouts are you studying as england and scotland are very different with finances if its scotland i might be able to help with some figures

changeforthebetter Sat 23-Jul-11 13:18:22

Hi, I assume you have done the calculator? Have you applied to SFE yet if you are planning to start this autumn? <<slightly worried emoticon>>

I was told I would get the maximum maintenance loan and the special support grant. There is also the Parent's Learning Allowance and the Childcare Support Grant which is 85% of your registered childcare costs (better than WTC's 70% so a big difference for me as I have a preschool child).The university will give me £1k as I am a single parent. Tbh it's a bit hard to advise without knowing whether you've got a place. Perhaps you could contact Student Services. My uni have been great, offering practical financial advice when if SFE screw up have queries confused. It is going to be a tough year for us, but worth it in the long run.

changeforthebetter Sat 23-Jul-11 13:20:23

I think you can claim JSA in the holidays (Christmas and Easter) also. I think it works out about £300 but I haven't confirmed that. Are you training in a shortage subject?

SaggyHairyArse Sat 23-Jul-11 13:27:33

I don't think you will find anywhere that says what you will get exactly in your situation as funding for education etc keeps being amended while the government pull in it's purse strings.

I would advise you go and see the Lone Parent Advisor at your local Job Centre and go and see Student Services at the University.

Good luck!

SaggyHairyArse Sat 23-Jul-11 13:28:42

I don't think you will find anywhere that says what you will get exactly in your situation as funding for education etc keeps being amended while the government pull in it's purse strings.

I would advise you go and see the Lone Parent Advisor at your local Job Centre and go and see Student Services at the University.

Good luck!

Meglet Sat 23-Jul-11 13:30:57

If you can do it then go for it!

If you start work then it's very hard to swop back and go back to studying. I have to work but I would love to study. Leaving my job means I would be financially stuffed, might try and do an OU course instead.

Newbabynewmum Sat 23-Jul-11 15:52:04

I'm doing a pgce in sept with a one year old. Going to be v hard! The uni has a dept set up to help students with their finances & they helped me a lot. Good luck x

changeforthebetter Mon 01-Aug-11 08:30:43

Hi Newbaby - sounds like we are going to be in similar boats smile Mine are older so theoretically easier but there are two of them grin. Am an LP. Am really scared about time management and also having kids in full time care but just trying to be very organised and figuring it will be worth it when I get a teaching job smile

Newbabynewmum Mon 01-Aug-11 10:27:02

Everyone says organisation is the key with a PGCE anyway - even if you don't have children! It's 6 weeks away now. I figure it's going to be bloody hard work (particularly was EX only sees DD 3hrs a month at a contact centre!) but I'll get through it. Good luck! Are you doing secondary or primary? I'm doing secondary maths!

theredhen Tue 02-Aug-11 22:28:45

Anyone know anything about funding for doing degree through o u?

Cornwell Thu 04-Aug-11 10:56:57

There is a funding assistance eligibility checker in the Financial Support section of the OU website

theredhen Thu 04-Aug-11 11:44:47

Thanks, I'll take a look. What happens to your normal benefits? Working tax credit etc.

makemineapinot Thu 04-Aug-11 19:24:38

Another one here for teacher training but I'm in Scotland so doing the PGDE with 2 dc and a waste of space ex who never sees the dc so I get no break!! Anyway, my funding is: fees - paid cos it's Scotland! £5k student loan, lone parent bursary of up to £1305 and discretionary childcare funding from the uni. I also work pt (8 hours over 2 evenings) and earn about £270 pm. Not gonna be easy but I keep telling myself it will be worth it - and it's only 10 months! Start in 2 weeks shock so getting very nervous now - especially as I haven't been told how much of the lone parent funding I'll get. Won't know till I start but hope my figures help! It's also worth googling for grants/bursaries - there is a support network site which takes your details and tells you which bursaries you can apply for. I've found a local one to me (have to be born and reside within 3 miles of main town) and should get £500 - £1000 from it, but again have to wait till I get my lone parent bursary letter to tell them how much it is before I can apply!! (only applied in April and it's still not through so make sure you apply early!).

artydeb Wed 10-Aug-11 21:33:05

Hi, i've just finished my degree, single mum 2 DC. The grants and loans available to me were Parents Allowance, Childcare Grant (if you will use childcare) Special support grant or maintenance grant plus full loan amount. You can still claim your child tax credit and will receive your child benefit too. If you're a full time student you will be able to claim council tax exemption and if you receive full loan or certain grants there might be bursaries available too for equipment etc. You won't find out exactly how much until you apply and beware that student loans have a habit of 'recalculating' and sending new letters to you but it generally stays about the same. On the whole, I don't know what situation you are in financially now, but I was better off as a student than I am now! I know it's not the advice in figures you were after, but before I started I too tried to get definate answers and in the end just applied and never looked back. Good luck with your studies, wish I was just starting again! Enjoy it!

missmogwi Thu 11-Aug-11 15:16:29

Hi, I'm a 32 yo single mum just going into yr2 of degree. I get roughly £9600 per year in grants and loans incl parental allowance. I also get tax credits as they dont count all of the grants etc. You wont have to pay council tax and should be entitled to some housing benefit as a single mum. I didnt know about the housing benefit until this week myself. When I get a sum every term I put it into my savings account and then divide up for each month, it has helped me to budget. I can honestly tell you that doing this degree has given me so much confidence, spirit and ambition that I wish I'd done it years ago. Good luck to you.

Mumfortoddler Fri 12-Aug-11 20:17:33

I think you are all really brave. I started a part time Masters last year, its had its ups and downs but as my first H.E. (all I have is GCSE's) its improved my confidence and really made a huge difference. Its tiring, but about the same as what you went through when your babies were in their first year. I guess the best way is to not worry how clean your house is :O)

alphabetti Fri 12-Aug-11 22:56:18

just wanted to add, incase would help anyone, I am about to start a Law degree at university but am going to do it part time (4yrs instead of fulltime 3yrs) I will still end up with exactly the same qualification but will get the fees paid for me by student finance england and will also receive £280 a year to help with books and travel costs.

changeforthebetter Fri 12-Aug-11 23:02:31

Great to hear everyone is getting set up for next year. I have a scary reading list for next week but actually can't wait to get started.

juggielady Sat 13-Aug-11 10:14:52

I think it's great your going to university. I'm going into my final year and can't believe how fast the time goes. I also have found myself better off finacially as a student. I get the same as others have commented on here ie special support grant, student loan, parental allowance, childcare grant and also full housing benefit and council tax exception. My university also provides a bursuary. The nhbs also provides a bursuary for students undertaking a social work course, which I'm doing. I know this isn't relevant to you as you are undertaking a teaching course but do they provide a bursuary? I was informed, on three seperate occasions, by benefit advisors that i was eligible for full income-support during the summer months but when I applied they took my social work bursuary into consideration, and I was only awarded £2 a week. As you can imagine this made last summer a rather difficult time, as I had used up the savings from my budgeting to leave my OH and secure rental accomondation.

angrywoman Sat 13-Aug-11 10:24:28

As a student with child/ren under 7 (this may come down soon) you are entitled to claim income support in the holiday (just summer I thought) which is worth doing, though I had issues when they didn't stop paying me when they should have and I telephoned them.
You have to fill childcare grant forms which are a PITA but obviously worth doing. The admin for these is a bit hit and miss, I have had forms lost, miss-read, the lot. On one occasion only a letter to Guardian money got them to sort it!! (I still have the number of the woman who then dealt with it at student finance, and am prepared to share.) You have to make copies of all completed CCG forms and send them recorded delivery. Telephoning the regular helpline is useless.
GOOD LUCK! And yes, I was much better off as a student too.

I have previously hidden the Lone parents board as I never expected to find myself here....but I am. I kicked XP out in Feb after finally finding evidence leading to him confessing an OW. OW still lives with her 'D'H over the road. XP still shags the OW regularly at his flat round the corned hmm....but I guess that is for the relationships board.

I shall join the boat - I am dong a PGCE in secondary science (physics specialism) in Sept. I am OK financially (windfall in bank) but claiming everything I can -

Council Tax exemption
Child tax credits - full wack
Special Support Grant (Instead of maintenance grant - I think this entitles you to an extra couple of hundred quid to be paid by the uni but haven't looked into this yet)
Parental allowance (from student Finance)
Childcare Grant (up tp 85% of fees)

I am petrified of doing this as a lone parent. I was pretty scared before. I hate the lack of time I expect to have for DCs sad.

Sounds like I wil have some great company to share the trials and tribulations of being a single parent stupid enough to do a PGCE. Do you think it wi worth one of us starting a buddy thread for mutual support and hand holding?

missmogwi Sun 14-Aug-11 00:09:43

Hi Haunted,

Thats sounds like a good idea, I'm not actually doing a PGCE yet. Halfway through an English degree hoping to do post grad afterwards. But I'd like to tag onto that thread!

Sounds like you've had a tough year so far hun, good for you getting on your life. Your XP sounds like a charmer!

It will be a juggling act. But I think(hope) that if we're doing something we love and are interested in then it is worth it, after all if we're happy so are the kids.

changeforthebetter Sun 14-Aug-11 19:11:32

The lack of time for DCs is my biggest worry by far too Haunted. I keep thinking - long term, long term - but the short term does concern me. It's not just the PGCE but getting a job and the NQT year. I can't afford to wait till they are a bit older as I am mid forties and also, I want to do this for me. I've done unqualified teaching and loved it. I always wanted to find out how to teach more effectively though.

I rang SFE to chase my application and they told me they had sent a letter out but that they couldn't tell me what was in it but they thought it was a confirmation of the additional LP awards hmm

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