Students with Children
Because of the extra costs associated with being a parent in full-time education there are some additional grants you can apply for. The awards below are based on the income of your dependants – e.g. child, partner, elderly relative.
MMU offers a student support package to all year one, full-time first degree students (except NHS funded degrees) whose income is up to £25,000 per year. The student support package offers discounts on tuition fees, discounts on MMU accommodation, and discounts on other MMU services.
MMU ACCESS TO LEARNING
This is a hardship grant that you can apply for once you’ve enrolled at MMU. More information can be found here.
Most full-time students are not entitled to any benefits whilst they study but students with dependent children may be eligible. If you are eligible for benefits, some of the money you receive from Student Finance England will be included when your benefits are calculated so the amount of benefit that you receive will be reduced.
If you have a partner, they may be able to apply for benefits for you both, but again some of your student income will be taken into account when his/her benefits are calculated.
Child Benefit is available to all parents of a child or a qualifying young person (child aged up to 19 in full-time education)*. It is a fixed amount per child:
- First child £20.50 per week
- Every other child £13.55 per week
You may be eligible for Income Support whilst a Full Time Student if you are a single parent of a child aged under five. However usually you will not actually receive any Income Support during term time as your student loans and grants will be taken into account when your entitlement is calculated. During the summer vacations (July and August) income from Student Support is ignored entirely. However we advise that from July 2014 you visit us to review your entitlement to Income Support in case you are transferred to Universal Credit.
Working out what your childcare requirements will be
Get your course timetable as early as possible, so you can start working out what childcare you might need. The university expects students to reach a minimum attendance requirement, which should be outlined in your course handbook – you should ensure that those sessions and any necessary travel time are covered.
You may also want to think about childcare for self-study time as well as timetabled lectures, seminars etc. You may find you need this more around coursework deadlines or exams. Again, check with your tutors when those items are coming up and the requirements (word count, how much of the course it makes up) so that you can prioritise your childcare needs appropriately.
Finding time / study skills
Trying to fit in full-time studies and looking after children can be a tough challenge, especially if you have been out of education for a while. There are various university staff who may be able to help you focus on the issues involved and help identify ways of coping. This can include: your tutors and lecturers, library staff and your Faculty Student Support Officer. Student Support Officers can offer help with academic skills. The University also runs regular time management and stress management courses through the Counselling Service which you may find helpful.
If you think you might be pregnant it is important to approach your GP as soon as possible so that you have more time to plan and become aware of all the options available to you.
The majority of benefits and additional student support are only available once your baby is born (i.e. Child Benefit, Income Support as a lone parent, Child Tax Credit, Parents’ Learning Allowance). Details of these are described in the Funding section of this booklet. You can prepare by filling in as much of the form as possible and then completing final information like your child’s date of birth when you know the details and have the evidence.
This will save you having to try and complete the forms when you are also trying to look after a new born baby. Forms are available from your midwife or online.