If you have dependent children, you can apply for extra help with course-related costs. Content provided by Student Finance England.

What's available?

Maximum allowance for the 2024 to 2025 academic year Maximum allowance for the 2023 to 2024 academic year
£1,963 £1,915


You can apply for a Parents’ Learning Allowance (PLA) if you’re a full-time undergraduate student, or a full-time postgraduate ITT student, and have children who depend on you financially. This allowance helps with the extra costs associated with being a parent and a student. You don’t need to be paying for childcare to be eligible.

Tuition fee only funding students are not eligible for Parents’ Learning Allowance.

How to apply

  1. On your main application for student finance, fill in the section for applying for a Parents’ Learning Allowance. Student Finance England will write to you to ask for more evidence to support your application if they need it.
  2. Student Finance England will send you a letter telling you how much student finance you’re able to get, including any Parents’ Learning Allowance.
  3. Student Finance England will pay any Parents' Learning Allowance you're entitled to directly into your bank account in three instalments. This will usually be at the same time as any other student finance you get.


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

Evidence of the child's identity:

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

Evidence the child depends on you:

  • A copy 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 copies 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.

Continuing students

If you’re a continuing student applying for dependants’ grants that you’ve been assessed for in previous academic years, you won’t have to provide any additional evidence. However, if your circumstances have changed, or you’ve had another child, you’ll be asked to provide evidence to support this.


Student Finance England will pay any Parents' Learning Allowance you’re entitled to directly into your bank account in three instalments, usually at the same time as any other student finance you get. If you apply after the start of your course, your Parents' Learning Allowance might be paid later than your other student finance.

You won’t have to pay back your Parents’ Learning Allowance unless you’re overpaid due to a change in your circumstances – it’s important to let Student Finance England know if your circumstances change.

Anything else?

You must apply for a Parents’ Learning Allowance within nine months of the start of the academic year. You should upload a copy of your child’s original birth certificate and a copy of your most recent tax credit or Universal Credit Award Notice.