Students on a shoestring: budgeting for single parents in education.

Planning your family budget can be a challenge at the best of times. There are bills to pay and mouths to feed, not to mention all of the other costs associated with raising children (school uniforms, trips and extra-curricular activities to name a few). And then, try doing all of that on a student income.

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Whether you’ve just returned to education or are considering it, there’s a lot to think about. If you’re a single parent worrying about how to balance your studies with family life, it can feel even more complicated.

At single parent charity Gingerbread, our advisers often receive calls from parents wondering how easy, or difficult, returning to education will be. Common concerns include how to fund your studies, covering additional childcare needs and fitting your studies around part-time work.

“The biggest change was going from a regular, monthly salary to Student Finance that’s paid in large chunks, three times a year.”
Single mum Kerri, on retraining as a teacher

But if you do decide to go back to studying, whether it’s at school, college or university, help and support is available.

At Gingerbread, we’ve put together some top tips for single parent students. From childcare schemes and bursaries, to what benefits you can claim while studying – these should help you prepare for the change ahead:

• Finances – get advice on what support is available to finance your studies, including grants to cover your living costs.
• Benefits – did you know there is a limit on the number of hours you can study and still claim benefits? Our advice takes you through what you can (and can’t) receive while studying.
• Work – going back to education may mean you need to reduce the number of hours you work. Make sure you’re prepared for any changes that will bring, for example, to your tax credits.
• Childcare – find out about childcare options and schemes that could help cover the costs.

Along with the practical advice, you can hear from other single parents who have gone back to education. And you might also want to consider signing up as Gingerbread member (it’s free!) to join over 60,000 other single parents in our online forums and groups.

Visit our site for full details.

Featured Post on behalf of Gingerbread

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