Wednesday, 19th September 2018
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One-Parent Family Payment and going back to education

QI am parenting alone and getting a One-Parent Family Payment. I would like to go back to college. What are my options?

A Your options depend on your circumstances. You can go back to education and transfer onto the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) or you can choose to keep your One-Parent Family payment. You will need to assess whether it is more beneficial for you to transfer to the BTEA when you go back to education or to remain on your One-Parent Family Payment and apply for a student grant.

If you go onto the BTEA, you will not be eligible for the maintenance component of the student grant. However, you can apply under the student grant scheme for a fee grant to cover the student contribution and course fees/field trip costs (where appropriate). You can also keep your Rent Supplement, medical card and other secondary benefits you may have. If you qualify for the BTEA, you are also entitled to an annual Cost of Education Allowance of €500 as you have a dependent child.

If you stay on your One-Parent Family Payment and are studying full-time on an approved course, you can apply for both the maintenance and fee components of the student grant. If you study part-time, you may be able to keep your Rent Supplement. However if you go back to full-time education and stay on your One-Parent Family Payment, you will no longer be eligible for Rent Supplement. If you are on the Rental Accommodation Scheme or living in local authority housing, you continue to pay your differential rent. However, this may be affected by the student grant, depending on your other sources of income.

Visit studentfinance.ie to find out more about financial supports while studying.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by Waterford Citizens Information Service which provides a free and confidential service to the public.

Call into 37 Lower Yellow Road or 41 Merchant's Quay or Tel: 076107 6580 or Information is also available online at http://www.citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000.

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