What Happens If My Child Drops Out Of College?
Are you the parent of a child who recently dropped out of college? If so, you may be feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. In this blog post, we will explore what options are available for parents whose children have become college dropouts in the UK.
What Happens If My Child Drops Out Of College?
What happens if your child drops out of college depends on circumstances such as the following:
- whether your child is dropping out of college due to a health condition or disability
- whether your child is dropping out of college due to financial constraints
- whether your child is dropping out of college to start an apprenticeship or part-time job
If your child drops out of college due to a prevailing health condition or a disability, you will be able to continue receiving the financial support that you were receiving before such as grants or welfare benefits. If your child is recently diagnosed with a health condition or disability, you may be able to claim support and benefits for them (and in some cases for yourself too).
Similarly, if your child drops out of college due to your low income or the inability to pay back student loans, you may be able to apply for financial support through your local council or the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
In the case of leaving college for an apprenticeship or part-time job, the consequences of this decision will depend on your child’s earnings and if they are eligible for benefits.
Below are some financial implications that you can expect to arise as a result of it:
- First of all, you should know that if your child drops out of college, they will no longer be considered a full-time student and will be liable for council tax. Council tax exemption is only available to those who are studying for at least 21 hours per week. If you and your child are the only two people in the household and you were claiming the 25% single-person council tax discount, you will lose this benefit. However, there are some exemptions available depending on the circumstances, such as if your child is on a low income or claiming certain benefits.
- Dropping out of college can have serious financial implications for both the student and the parent. Depending on when your child decides to drop out, they may still be required to pay any tuition fees they have already incurred. In addition, student loans will need to be repaid as normal unless an application is made to Student Finance for a partial or full loan write-off due to exceptional circumstances.
- If your child was receiving welfare benefits such as Child Benefit, Working Tax Credits, and Income Support while studying, these may be stopped if your child is no longer classified as a full-time student. If your child drops out of college and starts to work part-time, their earnings may affect your eligibility for these benefits, or you may have to make a claim for Universal Credit instead.
- If your child drops out of college and starts working (whether full or part-time) they may also lose eligibility for welfare benefits such as Universal Credit if they were claiming it while being a student. However, this will depend on their monthly earnings and other circumstances such as a health condition or disability.
- If your child is dropping out of college to enter into an apprenticeship or take up part-time work, it is essential to understand how this will affect any student loan repayments. Generally speaking, if your child is earning over a certain threshold (currently £18,935), they will need to start making repayments. This threshold varies according to their course and year of study, so it’s worth checking with your loan provider before taking any action.
In either of these situations, it can be a difficult and disheartening time if your child drops out of college.
What Happens If My Child Drops Out Of College To Start An Apprenticeship?
If your child drops out of college to start an apprenticeship, they will need to meet the following conditions to be considered a full-time student:
- work for at least 30 hours per week
- earn under the apprenticeship national minimum wage
However, working hours can only be reduced to 16 hours by increasing the duration of the apprenticeship. This means that a two-year apprenticeship that requires you to work for 16 hours per week, may need to be extended to a three-year duration to make up for missing essential hours.
If you wish to be eligible for welfare benefits while your child completes their apprenticeship, additional conditions listed below will also need to be met:
- your child must work under an approved training program
- they are working towards a recognised qualification or vocational training
- they should not have an employment contract
Can My Child Drop Out Of College And Claim Benefits?
Yes, if your child drops out of college, they may be able to claim certain benefits. These include the following:
- If your child is at least 17 years old and living with you, they can claim Universal Credit
- If your child is at least 17 years old and not living with you, they can claim Universal Credit and Jobseeker’s Allowance
However, their benefits claim will depend on whether or not they can meet the following eligibility criteria:
- not have any parental support
- have limited capability for work
- have a health condition or disability and they can provide medical evidence
- be responsible for a severely disabled person or child
- living with a partner who is eligible for Universal Credit
- expecting a baby in the next 11 weeks
- have had a baby in the last 15 weeks
At What Age Can A Child Legally Leave Education?
Although it is against the law to leave education before one is 18 years of age, students in England can drop out of education at the age of 16 years as long as they fulfil one of the following conditions until they turn 18:
- start an apprenticeship or approved traineeship
- spend at least 20 hours each week working or volunteering (in addition to part-time education)
That said, leaving your education may offer immediate benefits if you start working; however, it reduced your ability to find better job opportunities as compared to college graduates.
To ensure you are not negatively impacted by your child’s decision to drop out of college, it is important to speak with the college and loan provider to understand the financial implications. It’s also important to talk with your child to identify the best solution for their individual circumstances.
The above discussion brings us to the conclusion that unless a child has to drop out of college due to a health condition or a disability, the financial burden of having a child not attend full-time education can be a challenge for parents; especially if they are claiming benefits.