single parent and university

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  • #50083 Report


    Hi i’m a single parent and going through a divorce. I’m on universal credits which is helping me pay my rent and bills. I have the opportunity to go to university full time and fullfill a dream. But i’m so scared i will not be able to pay my bills if i do this. I’m obviously very happy to work aswel as studying and looking after my children. I would just like to know if anybody else has been in this situation and managed to study aswel as keeping a roof over your head.


    Many Thanks

    #50103 Report


    I really admire this! I am also planning to go back to university to chase my dreams but often I worry about bills and childcare fees. It helps if you can study part time and work, hopefully I can work during the day and study at night, 1 lecture per week in the evenings. The way I am thinking it’s only for a season and the rewards will Worth it and not to mention the better career prospects. Wishing you the best.


    #50465 Report


    Hi to both of you

    I’m in the second year of my degree as a single Mom :o) so I can tell you about my experiences?

    I too was concerned about finances, so what I would encourage you to do first is apply to Student Finance England.  They will tell you exactly how much you will receive, you don’t have to progress the application if you decide not to go ahead with your UCAS application. We can often talk ourselves out of these big decisions before gathering all the information, so I would say do this first.  It means you are able to make an informed choice and hopefully a good one for your future.

    There are quite a few single parents on my degree course, so it is manageable.  I won’t deny, a degree is a lot of work and you have to plan your time carefully.  But if you love your course as I do, you will really enjoy the experience.

    A full time degree is pretty much what it says on the tin, it’s full time.  That means on lots of degree courses (though not all) you will have three, four hour lectures each week – so twelve hours of lectures in total.  This in itself doesn’t sound like a lot, but for each of those four hour lectures you can expect roughly eight hours independent study time, so thirty six hours total each week.  I say all of this, not to put anyone off, in fact the opposite, because that sounds a lot (and it is) but, you can do the independent study time each week to fit in with you and your family.  For example, I tend to do a lot of mine when my children are spending time with their Dad, or on an evening.  It’s whatever works for you.

    Please, please explore a degree.  Though hard work, it is the springboard to a fulfilling future.

    Good luck x

    (If you have any other questions, please message back I’m more than happy to give as much information as I can).

    #50506 Report


    Thank you very much for the encouragement. I’ve decided to go part time and work during the day and study at night. I know it’s not going to be easy, but I believe God didn’t give me the vision to go to law school for no reason. Wishing you both all the best. Xo

    #51300 Report

    Lorena Bills


    #51497 Report


    Hi ladies


    I am a single mum to three kids and I am in my final year of uni. financially I have coped ok so far, emotionally and academically have been hard this year with home schooling and online learning. however going to uni has been an amazing experience I will never forget. I am 46 this year and did an economics degree! if you get a chance take it as it is well worth the stresses and strains! xx

    #53017 Report


    Hello all

    I am looking at starting a degree in September but like all of you, I am worried about whether I can afford to do it. I have applied for student finance and have been granted the maximum for maintenance loan but it won’t be enough for my daughter and I to live on alone. Did/Do you get financial support from Universal Credits? If so is it much? I really want to make an informed decision but feel like it’s a leap of faith as I have no idea what I might be entitled to from the benefits side. I would be classed as a full time student.

    Any help or guidance would be greatly received please.

    #53063 Report


    Just putting another option out there. I’m a single mum working full time and studying part time with the open university. It will take me twice as long to get my degree this way but it works so much better for me. The course is mostly online and you have deadlines for exams/assessments/assignments, a suggested amount of study time per week and breakdowns of what you should complete each week but you choose what you study and when, so long as you do the work set and meet the deadlines for assignments etc. My work is on a three week rotational pattern and my son has no contact with his dad so this was the only viable option for me. I can honestly say I’m so happy I started this course. I have always intended to go to a physical university but waited years for the time to be right. Now I am progressing nicely with my degree even though the time is still not ‘right’! I can do my uni work sat up in bed, at my desk, in the car, waiting for my son’s school bus… anywhere, anytime. It’s not for everyone but you don’t have the extra travel costs or set lecture times. You can also choose to study full time if you think you can fit it in or you can mix it up a bit, you choose when to sign up to which modules so you can overlap if you think you can manage the workload

    #53070 Report


    To: A11ie

    Yes you would still get tax credits. I still get Child Tax Credit, Child Benefit and my Student Loan (which includes the maximum maintenance payment). I work a few part time hours too.

    I’m at the end of my second year (I’m doing a BA (Hons) Social Care) I really encourage you to go for it!!

    Hard work, but totally worth it xx


    #53103 Report


    Hi A11ie,

    You can contact the Gingerbread single parent helpline on 0808 802 0925 to talk to an adviser about your options and the possible impact on your benefits.


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