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Has anyone started university whilst on income support?

(3 Posts)
SurlyCue Sat 11-Jul-15 15:39:17

I'm trying to get an idea of what my finances will look like when i start university in september. I am lone parent of two DC getting income support and child tax credits. I was speaking with lone parent advisor yesterday and she was unable to say what i would be entitled to come september because obviously not all students get the same amount in student loans. I have applied for student finance in the full amounts available to me.

Anyone who has been in the same situation would you be able to give me a rough idea of what to expect? I am also looking for work too but without knowing what hours i will be in classes yet it is hard to predict what i will be earning if i do find work.

somethingsmall Sun 12-Jul-15 22:49:32

Well done on getting into uni!

I went to uni on IS as a single parent a few years ago, so different loans system, but I think lots of the benefits stuff is still the same.

They counted student loans/grants as income for IS/HB. Even if you choose not to take the loan, they still count it, so there's no point choosing not to take them. The result for me was that I lost IS, but still got some HB (about 50% paid). Council tax should be nil as a f/t student. During the summer holidays, you can re-apply for IS and get HB reassessed so that it's fully paid just for the summer break. CTC continue to be paid in full as they ignore most of student loan income (some of it counts, but it's not high enough to lose any CTC). I found that I didn't need to work with the amount I got in loans/CTC, but I only had one dc and had a low rent council tenancy.

Make sure you get all the elements you're entitled to on the student loans - not sure what they are these days, but I got a dependants grant and childcare support. It is not just the loans they offer to normal (single school leaver) students, there are extra elements offered to single parents. I also got a bursary from my uni of £1k but that was based on my A level results - make sure you've checked your uni's funding pages for anything extra they offer. Also there is another fund run by universities for hardship, and I used to get about £1.5k every year as it prioritises lone parents. But you have to apply direct to the uni once you're enrolled, and it's discretionary so you can't rely on it.

Best way to get a full check is to go to the student advice centre at your uni, as they will be able to do a detailed individual calculation, and they'll also know about discretionary funding etc.

SurlyCue Mon 13-Jul-15 12:00:51

Thank you so much something thats a really helpful post. Much appreciated. smile

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