Helpful advice for parents studying at college
Applying to college is a big step for most people, but even more so for those who have children to care for.
There is added pressure for parents to ensure they have enough money to keep a roof over their family’s heads and put food on the table. They also need to arrange for childcare whilst they attend classes and consider what will happen if their child is ill and they need to take time off college.
With this in mind, please find below some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for parents studying at the College.
What types of funding can I access?
Parents on FE courses (NC, NQ, NVQ, Access etc) are able to apply for bursary/travel/materials funding. This will be assessed on your own circumstances or income. You will need to submit your child’s birth certificate to prove you have a dependent child.
Parents on HE courses (HNC, HND, BA etc) should apply directly to SAAS (Student Awards Agency Scotland) for their main funding. They may also be able to complete a college funding application for assistance with housing costs and/or childcare costs.
Can I get help with housing costs?
A housing fund is available for assistance with rent/mortgage costs if you have your own permanent accommodation and are financially responsible for these costs. This is a cash limited fund therefore you will only receive a percentage of your housing costs. This fund is means tested on your household income.
If you are an HE student you must take the maximum funding from SAAS before you are able to receive assistance from this fund.
Lone parents and families where both parents are full-time students may be eligible for housing benefits/housing allowance and should therefore apply to the council in the first instance.
Can I get help with travel costs?
FE students are able to apply for help with travel costs if they live 2 miles or more from the college campus they attend. They will receive a zonal student weekly ticket price or fuel costs.
The college will cover childcare costs to allow you to travel to and from college however this will be up to a maximum of one hour before your first class and one hour after your final class. You will be responsible for costs over and above this.
Can I get help with childcare costs?
A childcare fund is available for assistance towards childcare costs. All FE students are eligible to apply to the fund and HE students can also access the fund if they have applied for the maximum funding available from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) and the Student Loans Company (SLC).
This allowance is only paid for days you are timetabled to attend college or approved college work placements. The amount awarded will be dependent on whether the family is a one-parent or two-parent family. If you have a partner in employment, your household income should be less than £39,999 per year.
There is a guaranteed Lone Parent Childcare Grant for Lone Parents - a grant of £1215 that all lone parents (Full-time/Part-time FE and HE students) are eligible to apply for if they have registered childcare costs. However, HE students should apply for the Lone Parent Grant (LGP) from SAAS in the first instance.
You may receive these grants even if you are not eligible to receive any further assistance from our childcare fund.
The childcare provider you use must be registered with Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS).
Any assistance from the college’s childcare fund is paid directly to the childcare provider. Payments are also subject to attendance checks and parents will be eligible for any costs that are not met by the college.
Do I receive help with childcare costs for college holidays?
The college will not provide assistance with childcare costs during extended college holiday periods. You should check the College website or the College’s latest Childcare Funding Guide for more information on dates this will apply to each session.
What should I do if my child’s school or nursery is closed?
If you know in advance that your child’s school or nursery is closed and you require full day childcare that your childcare provider can accommodate, please contact the Student Funding Team and they will advise if the College can cover these costs.
If the nursery or school is closed in an emergency and you have no-one to care for your child, you can seek an authorised absence.
What do I do if my child is ill and I can’t attend college?
If your child is sick and there is no-one else to care for them, you can obtain an authorised absence. You should submit a letter from the child’s school or nursery or childcare provider. This should be within seven days when possible. It is essential to obtain an authorised absence as payments for all student funds require 100% attendance.
You can obtain a maximum of 7 authorised absence days per block.
If your child is seriously ill or injured, the Student Funding Team may authorise a medical absence up to a maximum of 14 days per block. Please submit, where possible, a letter from the child’s GP confirming illness/injury.
What should I do if my child has a hospital appointment?
Please submit a hospital letter or appointment card in advance of the appointment to be granted a medical absence.
Who can I speak to if I’m struggling?
Whether you’re finding it hard to make ends meet, feel like you don’t have enough hours in the day or are finding it hard to cope with your coursework – there are lots of ways to access support and advice whilst at the College.
The Student Funding Team can assist with any money queries and you can also click here for more information.
For anything else please get in touch with the Learner Advisory Team in the first instance.
For more information:
Student Funding Team 01324 403000
Learner Advisory Team (Alloa) 01259 215121
Learner Advisory Team (Falkirk) 01324 403000
Learner Advisory Team (Stirling) 01786 406080
Help with budgeting - https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk
Information on childcare providers - http://www.careinspectorate.com/
Information for parents and carers - https://www.scottishfamilies.gov.uk/