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Finance For Mature Students
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Amy Said:I'm 34 year old and start a 3 year honours degree course on Monday?
We Answered:First stop should be the student money advice office at your uni as they will be able to tell you everything you need to know.
Are you a single parent? As a single parent student you cannot claim income support as they consider the maintenance loan an alternative source of income available to you wether you claim it or not. This loan is currently around £4, 500 pa. You are eligible for a parent learning allowance of about £1,500 pa. In Wales you can get a Welsh Assembly Grant that is worth up to almost £3,000 pa. You should be able to get tuition fee loans too. Most single parent FT students are eligible for housing benefit but it may not cover the rent fully. Some areas refuse this benefit but your uni finance office can fight for it for you and they will win. They know their stuff! You can continue to claim child tax credit and they told me my wages went down as nothing and student loans etc not counted tho you must inform them. You should get max amount. I'm told it's possible to get some help from income support but you have to declare loans and I don't know of any real person who has received such assistance. I haven't been eligible for all of the loans etc and have managed to get by due to the help of the Uni Hardship Fund who have been fantastic. I'm only in my second year. It's not easy but it is possible. Hardship funds can't guarantee you money but you will be high priority as you have dependants. Some uni's offer grants too (often around £1,000 pa) and there are sometimes bursaries that can be applied for. It all helps.
You CAN get income support for most (not all) of the summer break. You can still get child benefit. All students are exempt from paying council tax. They take into account any maintenance loan you are eligible to receive wether you apply for it or not so apply for full loans. Income support is only payable to people who have no other means of support and whilst it seems unfair to classify a loan as 'other means of support' that is how the law sees it. I tried fighting this to no avail.
It is possible to negotiate a slightly higher free student overdraft if you've been with the same bank a long time and have a good record but be very wary of their 'student loans' they might try and talk you into as they cost a lot in the end. My bank also upped my credit card limit to six times the amount it was when I was working!! Try to avoid using this credit and get as much assistance from your uni as you can.
I also travel 50+ miles each way 3-5 times a week and Uni Hardship Fund have helped tremendously with petrol and car maintenance costs. They are fantastic so talk to them at your uni as soon as possible.
Talk to the student money advice team about the possibility of getting some kind of disability / attendance allowance if you or your daughter are spending time looking after your parents.
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