Find out if you're eligible to receive a Childcare Grant, and how to apply for it. Content provided by Student Finance England.
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How much can I get?

Depending on your household income, you can get up to 85% of your actual childcare costs during term time and holidays. You can get up to £174.22 a week for one child, or £298.69 a week for two or more children. Your household income is the income of your partner and any dependants.

How many children do you have? Maximum grant for the 2019/20 academic year Maximum grant for the 2020/21 academic year
One child £169.31 £174.22
Two or more children £290.27 £298.69

Eligibility

You can apply for a Childcare Grant if you’re a full-time undergraduate student, or a full-time postgraduate ITT student, and at the beginning of the academic year, you:

  • have at least one dependent child under 15 and in registered or approved childcare
  • have at least one dependent child under 17, who has special educational needs and is in registered or approved childcare

You may also be able to get a Childcare Grant if you:

  • ordinarily live in England and study abroad as part of your UK course
  • can use childcare provided under a Ministry of Defence accreditation scheme while you’re abroad

If, during the academic year, you or your partner get the Childcare Element of Working Tax Credi, the Childcare Element of the Universal Credit, Tax-Free Childcare from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), or NHS-funded childcare grants, you won’t be able to get a Childcare Grant at the same time.


Types of childcare that qualify

You can only apply for a Childcare Grant if your childcare provider is registered or approved by:

  • Ofsted
  • the Care Quality Commission
  • the Department for Education
  • an equivalent inspection body appointed by the Secretary of State to inspect certain independent schools. If your childcare provider is in Wales, Northern Ireland, or Scotland, they must be registered or approved by the regulatory body that inspects childcare in the country they’re based

You won’t be able to get a Childcare Grant if your childcare provider is:

  • your partner
  • a relative of your child, and providing care in your child’s home
  • a relative of your child, and is:
    • approved under the Approval of Child Care Providers Scheme in Wales, or the Approval of Home Child Care Providers Scheme in Northern Ireland
    • providing care away from your child’s home and for your child only
    • only caring for children he or she is related to

Applying for a Childcare Grant in 2019/20

If you're starting your course from 1 August 2019, you can apply for the Childcare Grant online, as part of your main student finance application.

What happens next?

If your application is approved, you’ll receive an email from the Childcare Grant Payment Service. This email will direct you to set up an account with them, where they’ll be able to pay your childcare provider directly. Your childcare provider will also need to set up an account to receive payments.


 

Evidence

When applying for a Childcare Grant, Student Finance England may ask you to send additional evidence so they can make sure you get all the student finance you're entitled to.

Evidence of the child's identity:

  • A photocopy of each dependent child's birth certificate, adoption certificate, passport, or certificate of naturalisation.

Evidence the child depends on you:

  • A photocopy of your most recent Tax Credit Award Notice, Universal Credit Award Notice, or Child Benefit letter. This must be in your name and must list each of your dependent children. It should be dated no more than one year before the date of application or start of your course, whichever is earlier.
  • If your child doesn’t live with you but is still financially dependent on you, you should send photocopies of evidence to show this. For example, evidence of Child Support Agency payments, payments to an ex-partner, or a solicitor’s letter or legal papers confirming the shared custody agreement.
  • For dependent children over the age of 20 who are still in full-time education, you should send a letter, on headed paper, from the school, college, or training organisation confirming the child’s attendance.
  • If you have dependent children who are no longer in education, you should send a letter explaining why your child is still dependent on you. Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Payment

Student Finance England will send you a letter confirming the amount of Childcare Grant you've been approved for. You'll then get an email inviting you to register with the Childcare Grant Payment Service on their website, to set up your online account. The Childcare Grant Payment Service (CCGPS) is a recognised government partner.

  • You'll get an email each time your childcare provider sends Student Finance England a request for payment.
  • You just need to sign in, check the amounts are correct, and approve it.
  • If you approve the costs submitted by your childcare provider, the payment will be taken from your Childcare Grant balance, and paid directly to them.

You might not use all of the Childcare Grant you are approved for. Any remaining balance will be returned to Student Finance England.


Anything else?

You must apply for Childcare Grant within nine months of the start of the academic year.

All three and four year olds, and some two year olds, are able to get a free, part-time, early learning place in a pre-school setting, such as a nursery. A Childcare Grant won’t be paid for any period covered by this free place. However, it can be paid to cover the cost of any extra childcare you use over and above this. You can find out more about free early learning places at www.gov.uk/find-free-early-education.

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