Single Parent FAQs: Education


Our advice and information team, who work on our Lone Parent Helpline, webchat and Ask a Question feature, receive questions from single parents around Scotland every day. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen a significant rise in requests for advice.

Our new feature – Single Parent FAQs – on our newsletter and blog spotlights Frequently Asked Questions on a different topic each month.

This month, we’re looking at Education, which is among the topics single parents ask us about most.

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See the first two Issues of Single Parent FAQs on child maintenance and child contact. We also covered Universal Credit.

Remember you can submit your own question via the Ask A Question feature on our website any time and our expert advisers will respond. This is open to single parents, their families, or anyone working to support single parent families – keep your questions coming!

Education FAQs

Q. I would like to return to education, but I do not know what course to take?

A. Have a think about what kind of job you would like to do and then have a look and see what qualifications are required and look for the right course.

Q. What is further education?

A. Further education covers Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework level 6 and below including National 5, highers, advance highers, intermediates and some access courses. Also, covers vocational and leisure courses too.

Q. What is higher education?

A. Higher education includes courses at SCQF level 8 and above, SVQ level 4 and above, HNC, HND, degree, honours, masters and doctorate part and full time.

Q. I am starting college in August what will my income be?

A. A. Depending on the level of course you could continue to receive benefits and or money from SASS everyone’s circumstances are different, and you can contact us, and we can do a benefit calculation to ensure you are claiming the correct amount of income.

Q. I am at college just now and have no money due to an unexpected expense I do not know how I can continue my course with no money.

A. College or university have discretionary funds to help in these cases, funds are limited the support services in college/university decide how to award these funds, but it is always worth asking. You can also apply to the Scottish Welfare Fund in a crisis more info can be found here.

Q. I claim carers allowance can I start a HND course and keep my carers allowance?

A. Carers receiving carers allowance can continue in education on a part time basis and continue receiving carers allowance, full time students will not be able to receive carers allowance.

Q. I want to study a HND but cannot afford to pay for the course can I get help?

A. If you are eligible for help from SAAS you will not have to pay tuition fees unless you have already received this help in the past. You will still have to apply for them at the same time as applying for the loan and grants, but the money will be paid directly to the college or university. SASS is the Student Awards Agency Scotland.

Q. Can I get help with the cost of childcare if I go into full time education?

A. Single parents can apply for the Lone Parent Childcare Grant of up to £1,215 per year to help to pay for registered childcare. The money to pay this grant is limited so you may not get it. The amount you receive also depends on the actual cost of your childcare. The grant is not based on your income, but you will need to prove you are a single parent. If the grant is not enough to cover your childcare costs, or if it is already finished, you can also apply for help from the discretionary fund from the university/college.

Q. I have a disability and will need some adapted equipment for completing my degree is there any funds to help cover these costs?

A. If you have a disability, you may be entitled to help from the Disabled Students’ Allowance. This will help pay for personal assistance and specialist equipment you may need while studying. To find out more speak to the Disability Support Services at the university or more information can be found on the SASS website.

Starting education is exciting and daunting at the same time especially working out student finance, we can advise you through the process to ensure you have the funding, grants, loans and benefits in place. Further information on education can be  found on our Work, Training and Education pages.

Still have questions?

Contact our advisers via our Lone Parent Helpline on 0808 801 0323.

Or get in touch via the webchat, email or submit a question at our 'talk to us' section. We can offer advice and information on issues affecting single parents, including benefits, childcare, separation, work, child maintenance and more.

Talk to us