Care to Learn scheme

If you’re a parent aged between 16 and 20 and studying at a further education college, the Care to Learn (NI) Scheme could help towards your childcare costs. You can apply for financial help if you expect to become a parent during your course.


To be eligible, you must during your course of study be or become:

  • the main carer of your child/children
  • at least 16 years old
  • under 20 years of age at the start of your course of study and meet residency requirements under the Education (Student Support) Regulations (Northern Ireland)

Your local college can advise you on all these eligibility conditions.

If you are under 16 and a parent studying at a Further Education (FE) college, the college will refer you to the Education Welfare Service of the Education Authority.

If you become 20 years during your course of study you may choose to stay on the scheme or to apply for help under the FE Support Funds (discretionary).

If you get or are eligible for childcare support from other sources, such as Tax Credits, Childcare Grant Support Funds or any other DfE or EU-funded programmes, you are not eligible for support under Care to Learn (NI) Scheme.

If you are expecting a baby during your course of study you may apply to find out of you're eligible for support.


The scheme is open to full-time and part-time FE students and Higher Education (HE) students, enrolled in an FE college on regulated professional and technical courses, and listed on the Register of Regulated Qualifications (RRQ). This covers regulated courses from Entry Level to Level 5.


Financial support at school or college

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