Grants for University for those on SGO

LLB
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Grants for University for those on SGO

Post by LLB » Sat May 07, 2011 10:29 am

When we got SGOs I believe that there was something mentioned about Social Services advising on higher education and that a young person with an SGO could be classed as an independent student and qualify for certain grants to go into higher education. With the present situation of exhorbitant tuition fees does anyone know where to start to find out or do we have to contact Social Services?

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Help 1870
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Re: Grants for University for those on SGO

Post by Help 1870 » Sat May 07, 2011 10:46 am


Dont know about grants, but children who were previously LAC should be entitled to leaving care services, this includes financial help for them to go to University.

Would depend on the legal status of the children prior to the SGO being granted though.

LLB
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Re: Grants for University for those on SGO

Post by LLB » Thu May 26, 2011 2:43 pm

Yes you are right Help 1870 about the leaving care support for them to find somewhere to live etc as they have previously been in care but I am not sure that this provides for actual financial support for the student.

However, I have just been searching the web and there is something about Special Guardianship and that the student can be classed as an independent student and claim financial assistance without taking carer's finances into consideration. Maybe that is the first route we should take.

Let us hope that there have been no government cutbacks here as well. These young people have been through enough already.

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Help 1870
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Re: Grants for University for those on SGO

Post by Help 1870 » Thu May 26, 2011 4:28 pm


My neice was LAC.

She receives a leaving care package which includes support from a SW, her accommodation paid for, travel between uni/home, any books/equipment related to her Uni course and a yearly bursary to help with general living expenses.

This package is not anything over and above what is offered as standard for LAC children.

LLB
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Re: Grants for University for those on SGO

Post by LLB » Sat Sep 17, 2011 8:35 pm

Help 1870 wrote:My neice was LAC.

She receives a leaving care package which includes support from a SW, her accommodation paid for, travel between uni/home, any books/equipment related to her Uni course and a yearly bursary to help with general living expenses.

This package is not anything over and above what is offered as standard for LAC children.
I have been in touch with the LA and it is only advice that they offer and nothing else plus that has to dragged out ot them!

I do find the bit in the FRG advice sheet regarding University loans etc a bit confusing because when I looked up the references they referred to 2008 and a lot has happened since then.

Again I found something when I searched this site to suggest that our income has to be taken into consideration when our legal obligations have ended with the end of the SGOs regardless of our love for our grandchildren. Our income does not come into consideration after they turn 18 years old and never should. We are old age pensioners and our grandchildren are not our dependents.

The government needs to update the information on its website to include all young people and not just those with parents and partners. On the website it says that those young people who know where there parents live which refers mainly to those who have just left home of their own accord have to take their parent's income into consideration because they are classed as dependent. Whereas those with partners can be classed as Independent Students. It is all so confusing.

I knew that this would happen with us because we are some of the first to face this situation being that SGOs are comparitively new

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Grants for University for those on SGO

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:04 pm

Dear LLB,

I have checked the information that is contained on page 25 of the advice sheet 19 “DIY Special Guardianship orders” about University Loans and Grants and this is still relevant and has recently been verified by a leading expert on tax and welfare rights. So the ESSR 2008 regs still apply even though they are 2008.

When students apply for funding, they are assessed on their parents’ income UNLESS they are independent from their parents. (There is no proviso to look at the special guardians income).

Students who are subject to SGO’s are usually (but not always) independent from their parents as they are fully supported by their carers-the special guardian (SG).

The regulations say that if a student comes within the list below they will be treated as “independent students”. The list is:
• the young person is estranged from his/her parents (in the opinion of the Secretary of Sate),
• the young person’s parents have both died,
• the young person was a Looked After Child for 3 months ending on or after 16th birthday,

So it is my understanding that they would NOT take into account a SG income when working out whether a student will be entitled to financial support.

Here is a link to information about student finance which you probably know about.

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/EducationAn ... /index.htm

Support from the local authority[/b

When a child was either in the care of the local authority or accommodated by the LA immediately before the SGO was made then the child qualifies for advice and assistance under the Children (Leaving care) Act 2000.
This includes:
Advice and assistance which may, in exceptional circumstances, be in cash.
They also have the power to offer financial help with living expenses related to employment or education or training and, where the child is in higher education, assistance to secure vacation accommodation.

In” care” means made subject to a ”care order” (or interim care order).
In “accommodation”-means was being”looked after” with the agreement of one of the parents.

You are saying that the LA will only provide advice and not financial support. You could ask CS to put their decision in writing and then consider whether you could challenge it by way of a complaint.

Kind regards,
Suzie

LLB
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Re: Grants for University for those on SGO

Post by LLB » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:37 am

Many thanks for your reply.

Would it be wise to ask the local authority where they were in care with a full care order or the local authority where we live? The one in which they were in care is responsible for SGO allowances but who is responsible for advice for care leavers and support after three years of SGOs?

Again, on one government website it states something about being estranged from parents which is obviously the case with SGOs especially following a full care order but it went on to ask or state whether the student knew where his parents lived. Well most of us with SGOs and whilst fostering kept up a level of contact in the interests of the children but this should go against the student when all care and decision making has been in the hands of the Special Guardians like us. He is not likely to get any financial help from his parents regardless of whether he has kept up contact. He has never stayed with them or anything in the last 11 years but with us.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Grants for University for those on SGO

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:07 pm

For support under the Children (Leaving Care) Act, the responsible authority is the one where the children were in care (immediately before the SGO was made) ie the one who are also paying the SGO allowances.

Even though a student is having contact with a parent-this should not go against the application. The child would still be seen to be estranged for these purposes. I don’t know whether any other people who use the forum have any experience of applying for student finance. Our advice sheet also suggests approaching the educational institution where the student is based, for more information. I hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Suzie

LLB
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Re: Grants for University for those on SGO

Post by LLB » Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:31 pm

Many thanks again.

I have tried various avenues to get the correct information and got back one email from BIS MINISTERIAL CORRESPONDENCE UNIT which goes on to say:

It is the responsibility of Student Finance England to determine eligibility for student support, and each application is assessed according to the applicant’s circumstances. Under the Student Support Regulations a students grandparents would not be considered as his parents when making an assessment for student finance. Students who can demonstrate that they are permanently estranged from their parents may therefore be considered as independent students when applying for support. Assessment for student finance in these circumstances would be based on the students income - if this was assessed as below £25,000 per year he would be entitled to not only a loan to cover the full tuition fee but also the maximum Maintenance Grant (which is non repayable) available as well as a further maintenance loan to cover living costs.

I have found that it is very difficult to sort this out because the schools do not have the information about Special Guardianship and only the student can sort it out and when you have a rather independent 17 year old it is so frustrating having no way of logging on to the student finance section of the website when partners and parents can but not Special Guardians who have the right to exercise parental responsibility!

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Grants for University for those on SGO

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:25 pm

Dear LLB,
Thank you for pasting part of the letter from the Ministerial Correspondence Unit. It is very useful. It states that grandparents income is irrelevant (even if they have parental responsibility via a SGO) when calculating a student’s entitlement to student support.

So your 17 year old, by showing the SGO court order (or other evidence about him being “permanently estranged”) should be able to access student finance based on his/her income rather than the parents. Hopefully, Student Finance England or the college should be able to tell you what evidence is needed to show that the student is “permanently estranged” from his/her parents.

Let us know how your 17year old gets on.
Best wishes,
Suzie

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