Beginning higher education is never something that should be taken lightly as there are all kinds of variables to consider; the main one being of course – money. For any aspiring higher education student, the biggest obstacle tends to be money and how to pay for their courses and all that entails learning. It’s a well known fact that many students leave university heavily in debt and if you have children, this is something that you can not afford to allow, for obvious reasons. However, it is possible to get financial aid in the form of a Childcare grant and several other funding methods such as the Parents’ Learning Allowance, the Access to Learning Fund and Child Tax.
Are you Eligible for a Childcare Grant?
In order to qualify for this type of funding, full-time students with children must be using a childcare service such as a nanny or a nursery, throughout their term time and holidays. What is great about this grant though, is that it does not need to be paid back afterwards.
There are several other criteria that must apply:
- You must be a full-time student.
- Children receiving the childcare must be under 15 years-old or 17 if they have special educational needs.
- You should be a permanent resident of England.
- All children listed in your application for the grant are financially dependent on you.
- The provider of your childcare must be on the Ofsted early years register or general childcare register. You can check this with your childcare provider.
- Your child can not be cared for at home by a relative. The carer must be registered with an appropriate body.
Bear in mind though, that if you or your partner is currently receiving the childcare part of working-tax credit, you will be unable to receive the Childcare Grant as well.
There are also additional criteria that would qualify you for a Childcare Grant:
- If you are an England resident but are studying abroad as part of your UK course, you may apply for the Childcare Grant.
- You can also use childcare provided by a Ministry of Defense accreditation scheme during your time abroad.
Types of Childcare that Qualify
You must be aware that not all types of childcare qualify for Childcare Grants, and this depends on your location within the UK, as wherever you have chosen to study and have your child cared for, the childcare providers must meet specific conditions. In order to receive a Childcare Grant your childcare provider should be registered with one of the following schemes:
Childcare registered by Ofsted –If your child is under 8 years-old, they must be registered with Ofsted. Ofsted has two registers – the Early Years Register and the General Childcare Register. The Early Years Register is for childcare providers who care for your child up until the 31st of August after their fifth birthday.
The General Childcare Register is split into two parts, a compulsory part and a voluntary part:
- The compulsory part is for childcare providers who provide care for your child from the age of five (end of the foundation stage) to seven.
- The Voluntary part is for childcare providers who:
Care for children over the age of seven or
Have no need to be on either of the registers, such as a nanny caring for the child in the parents’ home.
Make sure you check your childcare provider to ensure that they are on the correct childcare register. Continue to check the Ofsted website to make sure your childcare provider is registered or contact your local Children’s information services to confirm that they are registered.
What Help Can you Get?
You can apply for 85% of the full childcare costs during term time and holidays but this is dependent on your household income. You will receive up to £148.75 a week for one child or as much as £255 a week for more than one child.
How is Payment Received?
Usually you will receive payment in three installments at the start of each term directly into your bank account.
If you don’t qualify for the Childcare Grant, there are other ways of receiving financial aid as mentioned in the first paragraph.