Single Parent With a Child Going to University in the UK?

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Here’s what you need to know. If you’re a single parent with a child heading to university, it can be both exciting and daunting. Firstly, you’re about to regain some freedom. But secondly, you might be about to be living alone for the first time in a long time, which can feel incredibly scary. There’s also funding, travel and your child’s health and happiness to think about. In the UK, there are various support systems and funding options available to assist single parents and their children through this transition. Not sure where to start? Let’s explore university funding, application assistance, grants, student loans, and coping strategies for single parents.

university students just graduated celebrating
Photo by Vasily Koloda on Unsplash

Seek Support

As always, the first rule of the single parent club is you are not alone, however alone you feel! Jump onto the Frolo app and find other solo parents going through the same thing as you. Try the Feeling Lonely Group Chat as a great starting place. 

University Funding Options for Single Parents

As a single parent, navigating the financial aspects of sending your child to university can be overwhelming. However, there are several funding options available to support both you and your child. In the UK, single parents can explore government grants, scholarships, bursaries, and student loans to help finance their child's university education. Here are the main ones: 

  1. Student Finance: Single parents and their children can apply for a grant or bursary from Student Finance England or Student Finance Wales to help towards tuition fees and living costs. Extra help is available for single parents, disabled individuals, or those earning below a certain amount. It's advisable to apply for student finance as early as possible to ensure timely disbursement of funds. 
  2. University Bursaries and Grants: Many universities offer bursaries and grants for students with specific needs, including single parents. These do not have to be repaid and can help cover various costs such as tuition, living expenses, childcare, or emergency situations. The student support department of the university is a good place to inquire about these funding options. 
  3. Childcare Grant: Full-time students with children under 15 (or under 17 with special educational needs) can apply for a Childcare Grant to help with childcare costs while they study. 
  4. Adult Dependants' Grant: This grant is available for full-time students with an adult who depends on them financially. The maximum available is £3,354 a year in England and £3,322 in Wales (in 2023/24). It does not have to be repaid. 
  5. Tuition Fee Loan and Maintenance Loan: Students can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan to cover their tuition fees and a Maintenance Loan to help with living costs. The amount of the Maintenance Loan depends on the student's household income. Part-time students may also be eligible for a Tuition Fee Loan and a Maintenance Loan.
  6. Grants, Scholarships, and Bursaries from Charitable Trusts: Students can explore funding from charitable trusts to supplement their university expenses. Various organisations offer scholarships, grants, and bursaries based on specific criteria such as financial need, academic achievement, or personal circumstances. 
  7. Low Income Scholarships, Grants, and Bursaries: Universities offer these to students whose family's annual household income falls below a certain amount. The eligibility is based on household income and can provide financial assistance to students from less affluent backgrounds.

Help Your Children Apply for University

Assisting your child with the university application process is crucial. As a single parent, you can provide emotional and practical support to help them choose the right course, complete their application, and prepare for interviews or admissions tests. Additionally, encouraging them to explore scholarship opportunities and financial aid options can alleviate some of the financial burden.

How Do Student Loans Work in the UK?

Student loans are a common form of financial assistance for university students in the UK. Student loans are provided by the government to cover tuition fees and living costs. Repayments are income-contingent, meaning they are based on the individual's earnings, providing a manageable repayment structure for graduates.

How Will You Cope Without Your Kids at Home?

As a single parent, the transition of having your child leave for university can be emotionally challenging. It's important to focus on maintaining open communication with your child and staying connected through regular visits or video calls. Additionally, embracing this new phase of life by pursuing personal interests, hobbies, or further education can help alleviate the empty nest syndrome and provide a sense of fulfilment. Remember to get on to Frolo to find friends to help you through the transition. Or how about checking out Frolo Dating?

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