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BA/BSc Hons, financial advice for single parent please :)

(12 Posts)
BadgerBadger Fri 19-May-06 21:24:19

I'm hoping to start this September but I'm struggling to understand the financial side of becoming a student again.

What financial help could I be entitled to? Which benefits are allowed (i.e. Income support) to be kept? Any info/ advice welcome!

Tarynsmummy Sat 20-May-06 01:09:06

Depends if your single or a couple. My situation- am single, was on IS, HB, and CTB. When I started at uni my income support stopped. This is because of the student loan, even if you decide not to take it, it is classed as income that is available so they count it. Got all council tax benefit as a student its free, housing benefit is a bit tricky tho, because of tax credits etc. One year I wasn't paying anything and now a contribute a small amount. Childcare is covered by your LEA, term time only and as long as your not working.
What I get:
Student loan approx £4500
Parents learning allowance approx £1300
Childcare paid
Housing benefit (partly)
Council tax benefit (in full)
tax credits.

What I personally found is that by working 16 hours I was well better off. By only working 16 hours-no less you get working tax credit as well as child tax credit. By doing this you can claim childcare through them 85%, this meant dd would be in nursery through the summer (so wasn't disrupting 4 her)you can't claim childcare through both tax credits and LEA. You still get council tax benefit, although you will have to pay a bit extra on your rent again its a tricky area. I found this to be the best option, I was working around my uni hours and with tax credits had quite a bit of money, enough so I could bank all the loan.
What I got when working:
Wage from job
Student Loan
Parents Learning allowance
Childcare (through tax credits)
Council tax benefit (full)
Housing benefit (dependent on circumstances)
I think thats everything, if I cant think of anything else wil let you know. Oh just a note, unlike the social, tax credit people don't take student loan into consideration when working your money out.

Misto Mon 22-May-06 19:21:48

Taryn's that's a very comprehensive guide to student finances.

Tarynsmummy Mon 22-May-06 20:19:58

Well thank you very much

LittleSarah Mon 22-May-06 20:24:43

Grrrr, so jealous of ye English gals, we don't get childcare paid up North! I get half paid by uni - thank god - and a childcare grant of about a grand a year... as my childcare is over £400 it doesn't quite cover it!

Still, I get everything else!

LittleSarah Mon 22-May-06 20:25:05

Over £400 a month I meant!

BadgerBadger Mon 22-May-06 23:05:54

Many thanks for all this info!

All seems quite daunting ATM

BadHair Mon 22-May-06 23:34:08

In addition, check out the DfES Student Support and Aim Higher Student Finance websites for full funding info.

One of my jobs is as a student advisor (mostly part time students but a fair smattering of full timers), and Tarynsmummy's advice is spot on, if you will be studying full time. If you're studying part time things are slightly different - see DfES Part Time pages instead. Fees will be approx. £3k per year from September, but the support packages are up as well, so you can get more funding, and you don't need to pay back until after you graduate and are earning £15k+.

Another means of funding is the Access to Learning Fund (ALF) - used to be known as the Hardship Fund - but always useful to fall back on if ends aren't meeting when all other funding is exhausted. It's claimed through your institution.

TheMammy Mon 22-May-06 23:35:52

What's the parents learning allowance? I don't get that, does it only apply to single parents then?

I get my fees paid for me, and the student loan, but that's it... not complaining mind you.. the fees alone are astronomical!

BadHair Mon 22-May-06 23:44:19

Parents' Learning Allowance is only for FT students with dependant children. Like everything else it's means tested, so if you earn more than a pittance you won't be eligible.
Single parents get the Lone Parents' Grant, which is different.
Details should be on the DfES site, link below.

TheMammy Mon 22-May-06 23:56:15

I am a FT student with children, but if it is income assessed then I won't geddit, Dh is self employed and I don't qualify for the childcare element either!

Tarynsmummy Tue 23-May-06 00:40:36

I'm a lone parent getting parents learning allowance- it is the new name for lone parents grant. When I was first given it 2003/2004 they had just changed the name. Benefits people didn't believe me and there was some confusion about it, so told them to phone my LEA, they confirmed.

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