As a student with a dependent, there is a lot of juggling of university work, family and looking after yourself. We understand that your degree is just one part of your busy schedule and that knowing what financial support is available can feel like a minefield. Students parents can apply for funding in addition to their student finance to help with childcare costs and the additional costs associated with having a family. It’s important to note that the funding available may depend on what year you started your course. 

 

Student Finance

In addition to the Maintenance Loan, and depending on household income, some student parents are eligible to apply for three additional grants via Student Finance. These include:

The support you can apply for will depend on the year you started your course. Any single parents who started their course from September 2016 would no longer get the Special Support Grant and are now eligible for a higher rate Maintenance Loan.

From Sept 2017 NHS students studying midwifery and nursing will no longer receive an NHS Bursary. Students can apply for regular funding from Student Finance England.

 

When do I apply? 

The sooner you apply for funding the better. There are deadlines in place to ensure you funding is available for Sept 17, however these have all now passed. Apply now! You will need to ensure your student finance award is finalised before submitting an application for benefits. If you are already in receipt of benefits then you will need to ensure you inform the relevant party of your changes of circumstances, once you have had the Student Finance award come through. With this in mind, it’s essential that you apply for your student finance in good time as it can take sometimes for your benefits and tax credits to be amended.

 

Benefits

As a student parent you are entitled to apply for benefits to supplement your income. What you receive will depend on your individual circumstances. Contact us to ascertain what exactly you can apply for. Unfortunately we cannot advise you as to how much you may receive as we are not trained assessors.

 

Universal Credit has been created to support people who are on a low income or out of work. It has been brought in to replace six existing benefits : Income based JSA, Income based ESA, Income support, Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credit and Housing Benefit.  

 

Child Benefit is paid to those who are responsible for a ‘qualifying young person’. It is not means-tested and both part-time and full-time students can apply. Be aware that the benefit cap limits how much benefit an individual can claim when aged between 16-64 years of age.

Weekly rate from April 2017:

  • Eldest child £20.70
  • Other children (each) £13.70

 

What could I be entitiled to?

Entitledto.co.uk provide and anonymous and free calcuator to help you work out what benefits you can claim.

 

Part of a couple?

If you are part of a couple and both of you are students then you can claim child benefit and Unviersal Credit for the duration of your course. If you do not qualify for Unviersal Credit during term time, you may qyualify over the summer as your student finance only covers 39 weeks of the year. If you are a full-time student and your partner isn’t a student then your partner can claim benefits for you under the usual benefit rules.

 

Benefit disregards

It is useful to know what benefits are effected by you student finance and visa versa. We have produced a guidance sheet to list what is and isn't considered.

 

Benefit cap

There’s a limit on the total amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get. This is called the benefit cap. Click here to find out more.

 

Pregnancy, maternity and paternity

Whilst still active on your course you can apply for the BU Hardship Fund via AskBU and there may be some trusts and charities that could aid as well. Check out Turn2Us to search for grants offered by trusts and charities. 

 

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) and Maternity Allowance (MA) may be available to you, depending on your work history. If you do not qualify for SMP then you may be able to claim MA. If you don’t qualify for Maternity Allowance or Statutory Maternity pay and are unemployed or on a low income, you might be able to claim Income Support while you’re pregnant. If you have a pregnancy-related illness and you are unable to claim Statutory Sick Pay, then you may be eligable for Employment and Support Allowance. More information about about benefit entitilement when you are pregnant or have a baby can be found on the Money Advice Service website. The website also includes some useful money management tools such as an interactive money timelinemoney saving tips for baby shopping and managing family finances when you've had a baby.

 

In addition to the benefits listed on our student parents page, some lone parents can claim a Sure Start Maternity Grant of £500 if there are no other children aged under 16 years in the household. If you are part of a couple you can claim the Sure Start Maternity Grant if one of you receives a qualifying benefit. There is a deadline of three months after the baby is born to claim so familiarise yourself with the process and apply as soon as possible.

 

You may also be eligible for the Healthy Start food vouchers and vitamins. Healthy Start provides food vouchers and vitamins to those who are at least 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four years of age and you or your family receive income support/income-based jobseekers allowance or child tax credit or universal credit.

 

Whilst pregnant you can apply for a Maternity Exemption card. Your midwife will usually give you the application form and sign this for you. This card entitles you to free prescriptions and dental care.

 

Council Tax

Council Tax exemption is available to all full time students. Part-time students may not qualify. Disregarded persons aren’t taken into account when counting adults in a residence. Even if a property has more than two adults, a discount of 25% or 50% may still apply. You can apply if you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working. Any reductions available will depend on:

  • where you live - each council runs its own scheme so contact them directly to find out more about what is available to you
  • your circumstances (eg income, number of children, benefits, residency status)
  • your household income - this includes savings, pensions and your partner’s income
  • if your children live with you
  • if other adults live with you

Bournemouth Council: www.bournemouth.gov.uk/CouncilTax

Poole Borough Council: http://www.poole.gov.uk/benefits-and-council-tax/

 

You will need a Council Tax Exemption Certificate which is issued to you when you enrol at BU. If you lose this or your course end date changes, you will need to apply for a new certificate via AskBU.

 

Useful links

www.studentparents.org/