Not many full-time students are eligible for Universal Credits during their studies, but one group who are is lone parents.
If you are eligible for a student loan for maintenance, it counts as income when applying for Universal Credit, along with any Young Students’ Bursary, Dependents’ or Lone Parents’ Grants. Any Independent Student Bursary, Tuition Fees, Disabled Students’ Allowance, Childcare Grants, or Travel Expenses are disregarded.
If you are not eligible for a student loan and receive a grant instead, the grant income counts as income when applying for Universal Credit. This includes the Care Experienced Bursary and Accommodation Grant, Nursing and Midwifery Bursary, Dependents’ or Lone Parents’ Grants. Any Tuition Fees, Disabled Students’ Allowance, Childcare Grants, or Travel Expenses are disregarded.
Even if you are eligible to apply for Universal Credits while a student, you may find that your student income, received during term time, results in you being entitled to £0. However, this may change during the summer months when student funding is not taken into account.
If you do receive Universal Credits while studying, and receive the Standard Allowance of Universal Credit, this will be taken into account when you apply for student support. If you receive any Housing or Child elements of Universal Credit, these are not taken into account when you apply for student support.
Further information can be found on the UK Government website.
*CARE EXPERIENCED BURSARY
From 2022/23, if you are a continuing student in receipt of this bursary, you must choose if you want your bursary paid during term-time only (as has been the case until now), or if you want to spread this over the full year. We must stress that the bursary amount of £8,100 will not change, you simply decide how this is divided up.
It’s important to think about the full year ahead when making your decision. If you are a student who is eligible to apply for Universal Credits during your studies, such as a lone parent, you will need to consider how your decision in relation to your bursary impacts your Universal Credits.
Term-time only payments:
Pros: Larger monthly instalments.
Cons: No payments during summer break.
Pros: Source of income every month, even summer.
Cons: Monthly payments will be less as the bursary will be divided by 12.
IF YOU ARE ELIGIBLE FOR UNIVERSAL CREDITS:
Not many full-time students are eligible for Universal Credits during their studies, but one group who are is lone parents. The options you have available in respect of your bursary won’t impact your overall entitlement to Universal Credit but will impact how that entitlement ties in with your bursary payments. We hope the following example helps you see the difference based on the new bursary payment options:
Example based on student parent eligible for UC of £1200 per month, before deductions:
No matter how you choose to receive your bursary, the Universal Credit calculation is based on the length of the academic year. Bursary income is divided across the months of study and the first £110/month is disregarded. I.e., £8,100 divided by a 9-month academic year is £900. Minus the £110 that is disregarded, the Universal Credit calculation takes student funding into account at £790/month.
Choosing to receive the bursary over 12 months:
During term-time, you get £675/month via the bursary and £410 from Universal Credits (remember this is reduced each month of academic year by £790). The total income is £1,085 per month.
This changes in the summer vacation where Universal Credits is paid in full at £1,200. Factor in the monthly bursary at £675 and the total income is £1,875 per month.
Choosing to receive the bursary during term-time:
During term-time, you get £810/month via the bursary and £410 from Universal Credits (remember this is reduced each month of academic year by £790). The total income is £1,220 per month.
This changes in the summer vacation where Universal Credits is paid in full at £1,200. As you elected not to spread the bursary over the full year, this is your only income.
*While the overall income across the entire year works out to be the same in both cases, the income is more evenly spread over the year when the choice is made to receive the bursary during term-time. A more even level of income may be easier for you to manage.