What benefits can I get as a student?

I am 20 years old and have recently gone back to college to do a course to further my career. With the set work being so intense I am unable to work, I will also be doing another course next year that will cost £700 or more. Could I be entitled to any benefits?

It’s great to see that you are completing additional courses to progress your career further.

In your question you mention you would like to know whether you can get any help or benefits in regards to the course you are doing but you don’t mention if this is a full time or part time course and if you are currently receiving Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) as you are not working.

Full-time education is where on average, you attend more than 16 hours a week and for part time education this is where you may be attending college for less than 16 hours per week.

Generally to get JSA you must be, available for, capable and actively seeking work, aged 18 or over but below State Pension age, working less than 16 hours per week on average, and not in full time education in Great Britain. Therefore, if you are in full time education then you would not be eligible to claim job seekers allowance as mentioned on the Gov.Uk website.

However, if you are in part time education then you may apply for job seekers allowance but you would also need to be actively seeking for work and ready to drop the course if you get a job offer.

For additional funding and benefits there is a section of the Gov.uk website entitled Education and Learning which you may find useful in regards to funding options available to you. There are grants and bursaries available for adult learners which you can potentially apply for so it is worth contacting the specific organisations to see if you would eligible for funding from them.

If you are looking for funding for next year’s course and if it’s for a vocational course which is essentially a course which will lead directly to employment you might want to contact the Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDL). According to the Gov.uk website “a Professional and Career Development Loan could help you pay for learning that enhances your job skills or career prospects. It’s a bank loan, so you’ll have to pay it back once you’ve left your course. However, you don’t pay interest for the period when you’re in learning”. Basically you can apply for between £300-£10,000 for funds towards the cost of the course, any fees associated with the course and also living expenses.

It may also be useful to contact your Local Authority to see if they have any information on possible funding that may be available in your area.

Finally, you may also contact the National Careers Service and speak to a careers advisor who can provide information and signposting on any funding options which may be available to you. They can be reached on 0800 100 900.

Answered by Citizens Advice on 20-Mar-2013

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