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Parents at University: What to Expect

Have you ever thought about going to university and then taken a step back when you remembered you have a family and juggling family life is going to be hard? You’re not alone. There’s many resources and support available, including student finance and over this post, we will share further information to help you whilst at university.

Financial Support

Childcare Grant

Childcare grantAs a student in full-time education, you maybe eligible for help with your childcare costs. However to gain access to the childcare grant, you must be eligible for student finance.

The grant does not have to be paid back and is paid on top of your student finance, so keep this in mind when applying for student finance.

How much will you get paid?
For the 2019/2020 year the maximum amount you can get is:

  • Up to £169.31 a week for 1 child
  • Up to £290.27 a week for 2 or more children

So, you can basically get 85% of your childcare costs or a fixed maximum amount, whichever is less.

How are you paid?
Previously payment would go directly into your bank account across the year, however Student Finance England have changed the process for 2019/2020 term. You will now be paid into the Childcare Grant Payment Service account. An email telling you how to set this up will be sent to you once approved.

Please note, any money that doesn’t get used to pay for childcare costs will be returned to Student Finance England.

Learn more about the government Childcare Grant, including the eligibility process and more.

If you’re a continuing student, there’s a different process to follow and you can read all about it on the UK Government website.

Parents Learning Allowance

Parent learningNot only can you get help with your childcare costs, you can also get help with your learning costs if you’re a full-time student with children. To qualify, you have to be a student from England with dependent children undertaking a full-time undergraduate course or an Initial Teacher Training course.

The Parents Learning Allowance does not have to be paid back. It is paid on top of your student finance and furthermore will not affect your benefits or tax credits.

How much will you get?
How much you get will really depend on your household income. In the 2019/2020 academic year you could get anywhere between £50 and £1,716 a year.

How are you paid?
Unlike a Childcare Grant which gets paid into your Childcare Grant Payment Service account, the Parents Learning Allowance gets paid in 3 monthly instalments directly into your bank account, for you to spend however you like.

You can find out more information on the Parents Learning Allowance on the UK Government website.


If you’re a single parent or your partner is a student, you can also claim a variety of benefits, including:

Student BenefitsIncome Support
Income support can help you cover your student costs if you’re on low income. Under Income Support you will get a basic weekly personal allowance payment which is paid into your bank account every 2 weeks. Find out more on Income Support on the UK Government website.

Extra financial help from your university
Some universities also offer extra financial help on top of your student loan. Get in touch with your student services department to see how they can help.

Financial Contingency Fund

If you live or study in Wales you maybe entitled to the Government’s Financial Contingency Fund. The Financial Contingency Fund offers support to students who are:

  • in financial difficulty
  • likely to leave their education.

The Welsh Government gives money to colleges in Wales so they can help students in money trouble. If you would like further information, have a chat with your local college. Find out further information on the Financial Contingency Fund amongst others on the Wales Government website.

Facilities to support you at University

University Nurseries

Many universities offer an onsite nursery facility, helping you successfully combine your academic study with parenthood. Nurseries are staffed by qualified and experienced early years practitioners. Places are limited so, we recommend contacting the nursery well before you start to secure your place at university.

Student Counsellors

If you are looking for someone to talk to whilst at university, head over to your counselling services or student’s union. These services are there to help you throughout your university term and are confidential. They may also be able to work with you and your tutors to extend deadlines, should you have any childcare issues that interrupt your university studies.

Hopefully this post has helped you decide on your plans whilst at university. If you are already at university or had children whilst at university, please do share your experience with us and other students that maybe in your position.

If you are interested in further information including, Applying to University and Tips to Finding a Job After University/School, then take a read of our university blog posts.

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