Student parents

This page is for full-time UK resident undergraduate students funded by Student Finance England, who have dependent children.

Student Finance England

If you are a single parent, you will be entitled to a higher maintenance loan of up to a maximum of £11,658 (elsewhere rate).

If you have dependants, you may be eligible for additional grants for dependants, which include:

  • Adult Dependants' Grant (ADG)
  • Parents' Learning Allowance (PLA)
  • Childcare Grant (CCG).

Grants for dependants

Full-time students with adult dependants and/or children may be entitled to additional non-repayable grants.

The following applies to students funded by Student Finance England. Information for students from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales is available from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland, Student Finance Northern Ireland, and Student Finance Wales.


Adult Dependants' Grant

Childcare Grant

Parents' Learning Allowance

What is it?

Help for students with an adult dependant (not an adult son or daughter) who is dependent on them financially.

Help for students with dependent children in registered or approved childcare.

Help with course-related costs for students with dependent children.


A student’s spouse or civil partner or a cohabiting partner (if the student is over 25) or an adult dependant of the student whose net income does not exceed £3,796 in the current academic year.

Childcare provider needs to be registered or approved (for example, childminders, nurseries, playgroups, holiday play schemes, after school club, language clubs and nannies). For children under the age of 15 (or 17 if registered as having special educational needs).

Must have one or more dependent children.

Maximum award


Childcare grant of 85% of the actual cost up to a maximum of £193.62 per week for one dependent child and up to £331.95 for two or more dependent children.


How is it paid?

Three instalments at the start of each term, at the same time as your other funding.

Direct to childcare provider via a third-party system.

Three instalments at the start of each term, at the same time as your other funding.

Will it reduce welfare benefits?




Childcare Grant (CCG)

You will need to apply to student finance for a childcare grant as part of your main application for funding (or later if childcare costs begin at a later date). Once assessed, you are invited to register with a third-party system and create an account. On a flexible basis (weekly, fortnightly or monthly), the childcare provider will request payment for actual costs incurred via the third-party system. You will then review and approve childcare costs to release payment.

How grants are calculated

Students aged 25 or over with a child and living with a partner will be assessed for grants for dependants based on the assessed partner’s gross taxable income. The below table shows how income affects each of the above grants for dependants:

  Parents' Learning Allowance Adult Dependants' Grant Childcare Grant (1 child)* Childcare Grant (2+ children)**
Maximum entitlement £1,963 £3,438 £10,068 (52 weeks) £17,261 (52 weeks)
Minimum payable £50 £0.01 £0.01 £0.01
Lower income threshold for maximum grant £14,910 £8,746 £9,727 £11,118
Upper income threshold for minimum grant £18,835.98 £15,621.98 £19,795.23 £28,379.39
Grant reduction amount (loss of grant per £1 of income after deduction of lower threshold) £0.50 £0.50 £1.00 £1.00

*Weekly maximum amount for one child is £193.62

**Weekly maximum amount for two or more children is £331.95

Students aged under 25 with a child living with a partner: the partner is not considered to be a dependant for the purpose of Adult Dependants' Grant and their income will not be used to assess the grants for dependants. Student finance will work out whether the child is mainly financially dependent upon the student or the partner to determine if any award of PLA or CCG can be made.

Case studies

Example one:

Single parent with one child. Childcare costs £230 per week for 40 weeks.

  • Parents' Learning Allowance: £1,963
  • Childcare Grant: 85% of £230 subject to maximum weekly amount of £193.62 x 40 = £7,744.80

Example two:

Couple, student over 25, partner's income of £14,000, two children with childcare costs of £300 per week for 30 weeks.

  • Parents' Learning Allowance: £1,963 (income below lower income threshold)
  • Adult Dependants Grant: £811
  • £14,000 (income) - £8,746 (lower income threshold) = £5,254
  • Reduced by £0.50 per £1 = £2,627
  • Entitlement £3,438 - £2,627 = £811 ADG
  • Childcare grant: £4,768
  • Maximum entitlement 85% of £300 = £255 x 30 = £7,650
  • £14,000 (income) - £11,118 (lower income threshold – 2 children) = £2,882
  • Reduced by £1 per £1 = £2,882
  • Entitlement £7,650 - £2,882 = £4,768 CCG

Additional funding for healthcare student parents

The parental support is an additional non means-tested grant from the NHS of £2,000 for student parents studying the following healthcare courses:

  • Nursing (Adult, Children’s, Learning Disabilities and Mental Health)
  • Midwifery
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Radiotherapy and Oncology
  • Diagnostic Radiography
  • BSc Paramedic Science

More information can be found at NHS Learning Support Fund.

Please note, this additional funding is not available to students doing the Health Professions Foundation programme during the foundation year.

Student Support Fund

As you may find it difficult to supplement your income with earnings from part-time work, you can apply to our Student Support Fund (lone parents are considered a priority for this fund). Your whole circumstances will be taken into account and it may be that we are unable to support you further if your finances are relatively secure. We can consider, for example:

  • helping you with childcare costs which are not covered by the Childcare Grant or Allowance
  • travel costs to and from the University
  • any unexpected costs which you might incur relating to your home (for example, if your washing machine breaks down).

How to apply for the Student Support Fund

Welfare benefits

Universal Credit

Universal Credit (UC) is a benefit that has replaced:

  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income support
  • Housing benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit.

You may qualify for Universal Credit if you're responsible for a child or qualifying young person. If you are making a new claim for benefits or have a relevant change of circumstance you are likely to have to claim Universal Credit (rather than Income Support or Housing Benefits). Claims are made and maintained online.

Your student funding reduces UC, even if you decide not to take out the Maintenance Loan. During the long summer vacation your entitlement should increase as student funding should not be included during that period.

If you are in receipt of the special support element in your maintenance loan (due to being a lone parent or disabled student), that amount should be disregarded.

Find out more about Student Income and Universal Credit.

If you receive Universal Credit, you may be entitled to help with NHS charges or free school meals.

Claiming UC can be complicated so we advise that you contact an advice agency such as Citizens Advice, Talking Money or North Bristol Advice Centre before making a claim or to check that your award has been correctly calculated.

Housing Benefit

If you are already in receipt of Housing Benefits then this may continue once you become a student, however some of your student funding will be taken into account as income.

At some point, either due to a relevant change of circumstance or as part of managed migration, you will need to claim Universal Credit and your Housing Benefit will stop.

Child Tax Credit

If you are already in receipt of Child Tax Credit then this may continue once you become a student and your student funding will not be taken into account. Receipt of child tax credit with an income below a specified level will give access to free school meals and exemption from NHS charges.

Lone parents who work 16 hours per week or more may also be entitled to Working Tax Credit.

At some point, either due to a relevant change of circumstance or as part of managed migration, you will need to claim Universal Credit and your Tax Credit will stop.