Financial Supports for Young Parents in Education
Depending on your situation, you may be entitled to claim a grant or other financial support to help you continue in education.
Financial Supports for student in Secondary school.
In some areas in the country, The Teen Parents Support Progamme (TPSP) has a limited budget to support young parents in second level education. These grants may be available to students who are finding it difficult to pay for books, uniforms or childcare in order to return to Secondary School. It would be wise to make contact with The TPSP in your area and make enquires (See TPSP contact details).
If you are an older student at second level you may qualify for the Back to Education Scheme as detailed further on.
Supplementary payment from Community Welfare for you returning to school.
In certain circumstances, if you are going back to school as a young parent and finding it difficult financially, you may be entitled to get a clothing/footwear grant from your Community Welfare Officer. Your situation will be examined on an individual basis.
You may need proof that you have returned to school full time after your baby. (A letter from the principal of your school/college would be sufficient, giving details of the date you returned to school.)
Bring a copy of the baby’s birth cert and your PPS number with you.
Financial supports for students going to 3rd level.
In Ireland there are four main student support schemes for students intending to go on to third-level education. These schemes include the:
- Higher Education Grants Scheme
- Vocational Education Committees' Scholarship Scheme
- Third Level Maintenance Grants Scheme for Trainees
- Maintenance Grants Scheme for Students Attending Post Leaving Certificate Courses
Check out The Department of Education and Science booklet "Financial Supports for Students in Further and Higher Education" (pdf). This booklet also contains details of 3 other student support funds:
- The Fund for Students with Disabilities
- The Millennium Partnership Fund for Disadvantage
- The Student Assistance Fund.
There is detailed information on the range of grants and funds for students in further and higher education on the website www.studentfinance.ie. A browse through this website is a must for anyone thinking of going to 3rd level. It is worth your while to check out the tools on it, to determine whether you are entitled to any of the grants available and how to apply for them.
How to apply for a Student Grant
There is an official application form for each of these grants schemes. Students who are applying for the Vocational Education Committee's Scholarship, the Third Level Maintenance Grant for Trainees or the Post-Leaving Certificate Maintenance Grant should apply to their local VEC. Check out The Irish Vocational Education Association (IVEA) website for contact addresses in your area. www.ivea.ie
Students applying for the Higher Education Grant should apply to their local authority. https://www.environ.ie/en/LocalGovernment/LocalGovernmentAdministration/LocalAuthorities/
NOTE-There has been proposed changes to the way that the student financial support scheme is processed. The system outlined above could possibly change in the future. Contact your local VEC office for details.
Social Welfare Supports
The Department of Social Welfare (Back to Education Programme) offers a range of supports to help unemployed people, lone parents and people with disabilities return to education. Second level, 3rd level courses are included in the scheme.
- Participants receive a standard rate of payment that is not means-tested.
- Eligibility for payment of a Maintenance Grant does not affect eligibility for the BTEA or the rate of payment. In addition, income from part-time work does not affect the basic BTEA payment.
- BTEA is not an unemployment payment and participants are not required to ‘sign on’.
To qualify for the Back to Education Programme you must be .....
- at least 21 yrs or
- aged at least 24 yrs for a post graduate course (limited options only)
getting one of the following payments, for at least 6 months (156 days) for Second level option 12 months (312 days) for the Third level option
- Jobseekers allowance or Benefit
- One parent family payment
- (Less relevant to young parents) Farm Assist/ Deserted wife’s allowance/ Widows or widowers pension/ prisoner’s wife’s allowance, carers allowance.
You may also get the Back to education allowance if...
- you are out of formal education for at least 2 years,
getting one of the following payments, for 6 months (156 days) for Second level option or 12 months (312 days) for the Third level option
- Jobseekers allowance or benefit/ one parent family payment
- Disability allowance/ Blind pension/ invalidity pension
Please follow link to the Department of Social Welfare for full details of the Back to Education Programme
VTOS Scheme. (Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme)
These grants provided by The Department of Education and Science are operated through the Vocational Educational Committees (VEC’s). They are designed to give unemployed people education and training opportunities that will help them find a job.
To qualify for the VTOS Scheme you need to be
- Aged at least 21 years
receiving one of the following payments for at least 6 months
- Jobseekers Allowance or Benefit or signing for credits for at least 6 months.
- One parent family payment
- Disability allowance /Blind pension/ invalidity pension
- (Less relevant to young parents)-Deserted wife’s allowance or benefit/widows or widowers contributory and non contributory pension/prisoners wife’s allowance.
If you are currently getting an Unemployment Payment, One-Parent Family Payment or Disability Allowances you will get a payment equivalent to the maximum rate of your current social welfare payment.
- You will get travel ( for distances over 3 miles ) and meal allowances
- You will be given books and materials free of charge.
- Childcare support is also available.
- You may still claim any secondary benefits you may already have such as Christmas Bonus, Fuel Allowance and Diet Supplement.
The VTOS allowance is not means-tested, so you may work without it affecting your payment. You can get the allowance over the summer if you intend going back to the course in the autumn. You can also get the allowance during Christmas and Easter holidays.
Please follow link to the VTOS website www.vtos.ie for full details of the scheme and where the centres where the courses are available.
Note: Contact your Community Welfare Officer to see how extra income may affect your Rent or Mortgage Interest Supplement.
Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance
The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BTSCFA) is to help meet the cost of uniforms/clothes and footwear for children attending school. The scheme operates from 1 June to 30 September each year. If your parent is receiving a social welfare child dependent allowance for you and you are in full-time education they may be eligible to apply.
You may be able to apply for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear allowance for your dependant child.
- You must be getting certain social welfare payments or payments for training, employment schemes or adult education
- Your total household income must be below a certain amount
- The child/student must be between 2 and 22 years before 1st October of the year you apply and must be in full-time education at a recognised school or college.