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Paying for childcare - help for students

Multiple types of financial support is available to students to help fund general learning and childcare costs.

Southampton Children and Young People's Information Service will be happy to give you information about finding and choosing high quality childcare that will suit your child, or try our database of childcare providers.

To find information about childcare available outside of Southampton, please contact your local authority.

Discretionary Learner Support

Discretionary Learner Support can help students at further education colleges with the costs of books, equipment, transport, and accommodation and can also be used to help pay childcare costs. To find out more and to apply for the Learner Support Fund contact the Student Support or Welfare Officer at the college. If the student is in the Sixth Form, contact their Local Education Authority. The average grant each student will receive is about £1,300 each year. It should not affect the level of benefits that a student is entitled to.

Contact and resources:
Speak to your student support or welfare officer, or visit the Discretionary Learner Support pages of the GOV.UK website.

Help for higher education students

Students with children can receive:

  • the Childcare Grant (to help with childcare costs)
  • Parents' Learning Allowance of up to £1,523 (to help towards learning costs)
  • Child Tax Credit

Higher-education students who are parents are eligible for a Childcare Grant based on their financial circumstances. The grant is up to £150.23 a week for each child. The grant pays a percentage of the costs of childcare and is paid for 52 weeks of the year for children up to the age of 14 (up to 16 for children with special needs). The Childcare Grant is for students with dependent children. The grant will now pay a set rate of 85% of actual childcare costs throughout the whole year with:

  • 85% of childcare costs, up to £150.23 a week for one child
  • 85% of childcare costs, up to £257.55 a week for two or more children

Contacts and resources:
GOV.UK - Childcare Grant

NHS Students

There is a childcare allowance for NHS-funded students to help with childcare costs during their studies. Parents who are interested in becoming nurses, midwives or physiotherapists will know that the NHS can make a significant contribution to childcare costs.

Under the scheme up to 85% of childcare costs will be met, helping around 6,000 students a year. Up to £126.65 per week for students with one child or £187.75 per week for two or more children could be available. The allowance is means tested.

This funding will help NHS students who face difficulties when training due to increased financial commitments, including childcare costs. Help with childcare costs will be for children under 15 and under 17 if the child has special needs.

Contact and resources:
Students can check their eligibility for help with childcare costs by calling 0300 330 1345, or by visiting the NHS student bursaries website.

Educational Trusts/Charities

Limited funding may be available through these for individual students. Your local or college library may be able to help you with details of organisations that offer trusts and funds.
Useful publications that carry information on trusts and funds that you can look out for in libraries are:

  • Educational Grants Directory (published by the Directory of Social Change)
  • The Grants Register (published by Macmillan Reference Limited)
  • Charities Digest (published by Waterlow Information Services).

The Educational Grants Service (EGS) offers guidance and advice on funding for those studying in post-16 education in the UK. EGS operates nationally providing comprehensive advice and information on sources of funding available for post-16 education and training including loans, grants, benefits, access funds, hardship funds, bursaries and charitable trusts.

Contact and resources:
Family Action Grants Programme

Career Development Loans

This loan is aimed at students aged 18 and above who are doing a vocational course (education or training courses where you learn skills specific to a particular job or career e.g. leisure and tourism, engineering, nursing). A Career Development Loan offers funding for two years whilst students are in education or job related training (or three years if the course requires one year of in work training). This loan can be used for any costs related to studying and training including childcare costs.

The students will have to repay this loan, but not until one month after completing the course. The Skills Funding Agency pays the interest on the loan during the course, so students only pay interest once they start repaying the loan. A Career Development loan may affect benefit entitlement, so students also need to contact their benefits advisor.

Contact and resources:
To find out more about Career Development Loans contact the National Career Service on 0800 100 900 or check out the Career Development Loans webpages on GOV.UK.

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