Childcare Costs with a PhD

posted
19-Jun-14, 10:20
edited about 27 seconds later
by jayrdi
Avatar for jayrdi
posted about 5 years ago
Hi all,

I've applied for a PhD and have a son who is currently 7 months old. As with most things a major issue as to whether I will choose to do this PhD or get a job depends on money (I would much rather do the PhD!).

I live with my girlfriend who will be working full-time for around £28,000, and I will be getting around £13,500 non-taxable per year. If this combined income were as a result of my having a 'proper' (by which I mean taxable) job then I'm sure we would be eligible for support. As it's not I don't think that we will get any support which means paying around £8000 per year I think, just for childcare. This doesn't seem fair.

Does anyone know of any support offered for PhD students with children?

Thank you for your help,

John
posted
19-Jun-14, 10:45
edited about 16 seconds later
by wowzers
Avatar for wowzers
posted about 5 years ago
Hi. I am afraid there isn't really specific funding for childcare for PhD students and it would have to be whatever ad hoc provisions each institution may have, if they have any! It might be they have an on site nursery that might be slightly cheaper than other private nursery, I know my uni has a nursery. I personally found child minders cheaper than private nursery and they can be more flexible. You may find (like I did) that you don't spend every day at uni and do part time childcare and then work some evenings/weekend. Your stipend if not attached to a teaching post is not taxable so you don't declare as earnings so check if on your partners earnings you are entitled to some child tax credits (you won't get the childcare part of the child tax credits because you are a student and not working). If you work you can try and claim some childcare tax credits but it's not much. You may find, like I did, that you are better off on a studentship than working! Working put us over the limit to get much help childcare wise and basically I worked full time for £500 a month after I'd paid the childcare so I could go to work! Good luck and congratulations on baby.
posted
19-Jun-14, 16:03
edited about 36 seconds later
by marasp
Avatar for marasp
posted about 5 years ago
Congratulations on becoming a parent and doing a PhD at the same time. As I have previously mentioned, academia is not child-friendly. A cheap nursery or a baby sitter might solve the problem. I was raised by various babysitters (my dad was an academic and my mum was working full time), and I had a great childhood.
posted
20-Jun-14, 09:18
by jayrdi
Avatar for jayrdi
posted about 5 years ago
Thanks for your replies. Going from what you've said and further research online this unfortunately looks as though I won't be able to afford to do the PhD. This is a shame because I was really looking forward to it. I would've expected the government/educational institutions to offer support to any students with children whether it's undergrad, Masters or postgrad. Surely they should be trying to get as many people as possible educated to as high a level as possible. Don't think I'll be able to get a job in this area without the PhD so will have to have an entire rethink about what I want to do :(
posted
20-Jun-14, 09:28
by wowzers
Avatar for wowzers
posted about 5 years ago
Don't dismiss it just yet. See what tax credits you can get based on your partners wage. You can ask for a 'what if calculation'. Ring and say if I dont work and my partner earns x what can we get? Check the student support office at the uni about extra funding. See if family can take on some of the childcare, be flexible with when you can do your PhD work and look for local childminders. It is do-able. As I said working and paying childcare won't always make you better off!
posted
20-Jun-14, 11:43
Avatar for ApolloBullit
posted about 5 years ago
I feel like I'm being a bit daft here, but even if £28,000 from your partner is before tax, I calculate your post tax joint income to £35,400.

Unless you have a ridiculously high mortgage/rent and/or other massive debts you are paying off, or live in London, that is more than enough for 3 people to live on, even if you had to pay £8000 a year for childcare.

If you calculate your childcare to £8000, you are still left with over £2000 monthly income between the three of you. You would be a lot better off financially than many others who are doing a PhD. Sure, you might not be able to have a holiday for 3 years, but I think some perspective might help you here.

Unless the issue is really that you don't think you should have to pay for your own child's care?
posted
20-Jun-14, 12:06
edited about 3 minutes later
by jayrdi
Avatar for jayrdi
posted about 5 years ago
I see what you're saying but it's a mixture of two things. Firstly that I don't really want my partner to be supporting me for another 4 years on top of the previous 4 from my undergrad degree.

Secondly, and more importantly, that our income would equate to us both being on equivalent of minimum wage for which other couples with a baby would receive support. It just doesn't seem fair that with less effort come greater benefit rewards.

"Unless the issue is really that you don't think you should have to pay for your own child's care?" - what a ridiculous thing to suggest!
posted
20-Jun-14, 13:25
edited about 20 seconds later
by wowzers
Avatar for wowzers
posted about 5 years ago
You will get just over £20 week child benefit and about £10-15 child tax credits. That will get you about 8 hrs childcare. I go into uni 2 days a week.babies up to 3 have lots of naps easy to work around. You might not need as much paid care as you think.
posted
20-Jun-14, 13:31
by jayrdi
Avatar for jayrdi
posted about 5 years ago
Cool, that sounds promising. I'll see if can do less than a 5-day week and look into tax credits - thanks very much for your help!
posted
20-Jun-14, 22:27
Avatar for chickpea
posted about 5 years ago
Minimum wage equates to about £12k a year, which would be a joint income of £24k. By your figures, your joint income with your partner would be £41500.

Leaving the figures aside, I've worked for minimum wage and I'm now on a PhD stipend, and I can tell you which option feels more privileged and comes with more opportunities and rewards. I can also tell you that being on minimum wage did not involve any lack of effort as your post implies - minimum wage is the reality for a lot of hard working and motivated people.
posted
20-Jun-14, 22:57
Avatar for Jellybeanz2
posted about 5 years ago
Your girlfriend will probably be able to get childcare vouchers which could save a couple of hundred in tax. Look at www.childcarevouchers.co.uk. If you can't afford it though you could get a job and do your PhD part time.

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