Grants and benefits if you're studying and have a baby

If you’re a student at college or university with a baby, you could qualify for student finance to cover everything from living expenses and learning costs to travel and childcare grants.

If you live or study in England

Did you know?

You don’t usually have to pay back grants. However, you might have to pay back part or all of a grant if, for example, you leave school before the end of the academic year or term your grant covers.

Care to Learn

What is Care to Learn?

This is a government scheme to help with childcare costs if you’re studying in college or university.

It’s a weekly fixed amount paid to your childcare provider. It can also be used to pay for elements of childcare, such as deposit and registration fees, childcare taster sessions and keeping your childcare place over the holidays.

Who gets it?

You might be able to get Care to Learn payments if:

  • you’re a parent under 20
  • you live in England
  • you’re studying a publicly-funded course (your school, college or learning provider can tell you if your course is eligible)
  • you’re the main carer for your child
  • you’re a British citizen or a national of a European Economic Area (EEA) country
  • your childcare provider is registered with Ofsted.

How much is Care to Learn?

With Care to Learn you can get up to:

  • £160 per child per week if you live outside London
  • £175 per child per week if you live in London.

The payments go directly to your childcare provider.

How to claim

Apply online with the Education Funding Agency or call them on 0800 121 8989.

Find out more about Care to Learn on GOV.UK

Childcare Grant

What is the Childcare Grant?

A weekly grant to help with childcare costs while you study.

The amount you’ll get depends on your income, childcare needs and the number of children you have.

You don’t have to pay a Childcare Grant back.

Who gets it?

To get a Childcare Grant you must:

  • be a full-time student
  • live in England permanently
  • have (or be eligible for) a student finance package
  • have a childcare provider who is registered with Ofsted
  • have a child under 15, or under 17 if they have special educational needs.

You can’t get a Childcare Grant if you or your partner are:

  • claiming the childcare element of Working Tax Credit
  • claiming the childcare element of Universal Credit
  • receiving help with childcare costs from the NHS.

How much is the Childcare Grant?

The amount you get depends on:

  • your household income
  • the cost of your childcare
  • the number of dependent children you have.

You can get a grant to cover up to 85% of your childcare costs.

In the 2018-19 academic year the most you can get is:

  • up to £164.70 per week for one child
  • up to £282.36 per week for two or more children.

How to apply

Follow GOV.UK’s steps on how to apply for a Childcare Grant.

Find out more about Childcare Grant on GOV.UK

Parents’ Learning Allowance

Did you know?

You don’t need to be paying for childcare in order to qualify for the Parents’ Learning Allowance.

What is Parents’ Learning Allowance?

Payments to help with learning costs if you’re studying and have a child. You don’t need to pay back a Parent’s Learning Allowance and your partner can also apply for one if they are in full-time education too.

Who gets it?

You could get a Parents’ Learning Allowance if you’re:

  • a student from England with dependent children
  • studying a full-time undergraduate course or an Initial Teacher Training course.

How much is Parents’ Learning Allowance?

The amount you get depends on your household income.

In the 2018-19 academic year, you could get up to £1,669.

How to apply

You can apply for Parents’ Learning Allowance when you apply for student finance.

If you live or study in Scotland

Lone Parents’ Grant

What is the Lone Parents’ Grant?

A payment made to single parents living in Scotland with at least one dependent child.

You don’t need to pay back a Lone Parents’ Grant.

Who gets it?

You could get the Lone Parents’ Grant if you’re bringing up at least one child on your own and you’re:

  • single
  • widowed
  • divorced
  • separated.

How much is the Lone Parents’ Grant?

You could get up to £1,305.

The amount you get depends on your income.

How to apply

Apply directly to your college for financial support from the Lone Parents’ Grant

Childcare Fund

What is the Childcare Fund?

Payments from The Childcare Fund can be made by your college or university to help cover registered childcare costs for the days you have to attend college or university. You don’t have to pay the money back.

Who gets it?

Childcare Fund payments are made on a case-by-case basis by each college or university.

Not all eligible students will get help as the fund is limited, but priority is usually given to lone parents.

You can apply for a Childcare Fund payment if you’re:

  • a full-time undergraduate or postgraduate student
  • getting the maximum student loan available
  • eligible to have your tuition fees paid by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS).

You must be paying for registered childcare, which includes:

  • daycare
  • pre-schools
  • after-school clubs
  • registered childminders.

How much is the Childcare Fund?

If you’re eligible, you can apply for a payment of up to £1,215.

Your college or university will decide how much the payment should be.

How to apply?

Apply directly to your college for financial support from the Childcare Fund.

Read the Student Awards Agency Scotland’s (SAAS) guidance on the Childcare Fund (PDF).

If you live or study in Wales

Financial Contingency Fund

What is the Financial Contingency Fund?

Payments from your college or university to help with the costs of childcare if you’re on a low income.

The fund is also used to help students without children who might need financial help to participate on their course.

Who gets it?

You might be able to get help from the Financial Contingency Fund if:

  • you’re 16 or over
  • you pay for registered childcare
  • your annual household income is less than £28,000.

How much is the Financial Contingency Fund?

Your college or university will decide how much you get.

How to apply?

Ask your college about help from the Financial Contingency Fund.

If you live or study in Northern Ireland

Care to Learn

What is Care to Learn?

Payments to help with the costs of childcare if you’re studying.

Who gets it?

You could get help from the Care to Learn scheme if:

  • your child’s main carer
  • you live in Northern Ireland
  • you’re aged between 16 and 20 at the start of your course
  • you’re studying a full- or part-time course listed on the National Database of Accredited Qualifications (NDAQ) - your college will be able to confirm if your course is eligible.

How much is Care to Learn?

You could get up to £165 per week for each child.

How to apply

Ask your college about help from the Care to Learn scheme.

Find out more about Care to Learn in Northern Ireland

Childcare Grant

What is the Childcare Grant?

Weekly payments to help up to 85% of your childcare costs.

Who gets it?

You can apply if you:

How much is it?

Depending on your household income, you can apply for up to 85% of your childcare costs up to a maximum of:

  • £148.75 per week for one child
  • £255 per week for more than one child.

You won’t be able to get the Childcare Grant if you (or your partner) get the childcare element of Working Tax Credit.

How to apply?

You can apply for Childcare Grant payments on your main student finance application.

Complete the CCG1 form on the application, or download a form from Student Finance NIopens in new window (PDF).

Find out more about the Childcare Grant in Northern Ireland

Parents’ Learning Allowance

What is it?

Payments to help with course-related costs if you have children.

Who gets it?

You can apply for help if you’re a student with children.

How much is it?

If you’re eligible, you could get up to £1,538 a year.

The amount you get will depend on your household income.

How to apply?

You can apply for Parents’ Learning Allowance on your main student finance application.

Complete the section about extra help for students with children.

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