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Funding for childcare

If you have children who depend on you, a range of financial support is available.

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For students with children, there are a number of sources of funds. Click on the links to find details, including the eligibility criteria. If you claim one type of childcare benefit, you may find that you are unable to claim another. Always seek advice. 

  • If you’re in full-time higher education, depending on your income, the Childcare Grant can cover up to 85% of your childcare costs up to a set limit.
  • Also for full-time higher education students, the Parents' Learning Allowance can provide a grant to help with your learning costs.
  • Child Tax Credit is a means-tested allowance for parents and carers (not just those who are students). 
  • If you’re in employment and earn under a certain amount, you may be entitled to Working Tax Credit, which includes a specific element to support the cost of approved childcare. Part-time students who work more than a certain number of hours a week are expected to claim the childcare element of Working Tax Credit instead of the Childcare Grant.
  • Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit (along with a range of other benefits) are gradually being replaced with Universal Credit. Depending on where you live, you may have to claim Universal Credit instead.
  • There is also a certain number of hours of free early education available for children aged 3 and 4 and, if you claim certain benefits, you may be able to get free education and childcare for 2-year-olds.  
  • Don’t forget that Child Benefit is available for all parents and carers of children and young people (not just those who are students).  

For general information on support with childcare costs, see GOV.UK. You can find the details of Family Information Services (FIS) in your area by searching on the Family and Childcare Trust website. FIS will be able to give you information about local Ofsted-registered and other types of childcare along with advice on costs and funding.

Which? University has a section for student parents with lots of useful information.

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