When you apply to Student Finance England (SFS) for the Child Care Grant, it is important to understand how this works to avoid delays in getting paid by SFE and to prevent overpayments.
Problems with your Child Care Grant can lead to your entire student funding package being blocked or, where SFE believe that fraud has been committed, being reclaimed.
When you apply for Child Care Grant on the CCG1 form, you complete the predicted child care you are going to need for the academic year in advance. It is important to keep a copy of this form, as often this is completed before you get your timetable and before you know exactly what your child care requirements will be.
SFE will pay the amount of child care grant you predicted into your bank account, along with the rest of your student finance. It is really important that you ring fence the child care element of this money. Don’t forget that SFE only pay 85% of the actual cost, up to a maximum of £164.70 per week for one child and £282.36 per week for two or more children, so you will have to pay the remainder from other funds.
At the end of a child care grant period (see below) you will be asked to complete a CCG2 form. This is where your child care provider confirms the actual amount of child care you have paid.
SFE will then reconcile the actual amount of money you have spent with the amount they paid you based on your predicted costs.
If you actually incurred more child care costs than expected, SFE will pay you additional funds. However, it is more common for you to have incurred lower actual child care costs than predicted and SFE will require immediate repayment of any monies they have paid you. Normally this will mean your next scheduled payment from SFE will be reduced in order to recover the overpayment.
If SFE suspect fraud has been committed, your entire student funding is likely to be blocked whilst the investigation is carried out.
The relevant child care periods for courses starting between 1 September 18 and 31 December 18 are:
- Period 1 1 September 18 – 21 October 18
- Period 2 22 October 18 – 20 January 19
- Period 3 21 January 19 – 31 August 19
If your household income exceeds £20,000 per annum, it is unlikely you will be eligible for SFE Child Care Grants, and a tapered reduction will be applied to all household income above £9,500 per annum. For more information on alternative funding for childcare, please see our page on Help with Childcare Costs.
Update for 19/20 academic year – the way SFE administer the Child Care Grant is due to be overhauled for the 19/20 academic year for current and new students. Check back here for further information which we will post as soon as available.
Important changes to SFE Child Care Grant payments 19/20
For continuing students, the initial process for applying for the Child Care Grant (CCG) will remain the same but the system for payments is to change. For new students, applications will be made on line as part of the overall student finance application.
You will no longer receive the CCG into your bank account. Instead, once SFE has established that you are eligible for CCG, all payments to the childcare provider will be operated through a third-party website - Childcare Grant Payment Service (CCGPS).
The childcare provider will submit an invoice on line for payment. You will be required to sign in, check and authorise that the amount is correct. SFE will then pay the amount directly to the childcare provider.
It will no longer be necessary for a child care provider to confirm child care costs using the CCG2 form as is currently the case.
As a result, that underpayments and overpayments of CCG will no longer occur and there should be fewer difficulties with childcare providers having to wait for payment.
As CCG only covers 85% of the child care costs, you will need to make separate arrangements with the child care provider in respect of the remaining 15% of the costs.
More information can be found here
The maximum Childcare Grant for the 2019 to 2020 academic year is:
- up to £169.31 a week for one child, or up to 85% of their costs (whichever is less)
- up to £290.27 a week for two or more children, or up to 85% of their costs (whichever is less)
Any remaining childcare costs will have to be paid by the student.
How Dependants' Grants are calculated
For the 2019 to 2020 academic year the amount you can get depends on
- your household income
- how many children you have
Students getting benefits
Childcare Grant won’t affect any income-related benefits. You must not be in receipt of the Childcare Element of the Working Tax Credit, the Childcare Element Universal Credit, the HMRC tax free childcare or the NHS funded childcare grants at the same time as the Childcare Grant.
To qualify for Childcare Grant the following must apply:
- studying a full-time undergraduate, Initial Teacher Training (ITT) or Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) course
- your child is under 15, or under 17 if they have special educational needs
- your eligible for undergraduate student finance based on their household income
- a permanent resident in England
- the children are financially dependent on you
- the childcare provider is on the Ofsted Early Years Register or General Childcare Register - you should confirm this with your provider
- if your child is cared for at home, the carer can’t be a relative and must be registered with an appropriate body - check with Student Finance England
- you or your partner are not claiming the childcare element of Working Tax Credits or the childcare element of Universal Credit
- you or your partner are not claiming the HMRC tax free childcare or NHS funded childcare grants
Page last updated July 2019