Living on Minimum Wage

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Living on Minimum Wage is always tough; just how tough depends on which Minimum Wage your young person is entitled to.

The National Minimum Wage for 18-20 year-olds is currently £5.30 per hour.

The minimum wage for apprentices is pretty low – just £3.30 per hour. The rate applies to apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year of their training. All other apprentices are entitled to the national minimum wage for their age.

So what help is out there?

Income Support from the Government

The actual amount you get depends on your circumstances, but if you qualify you’ll get at least £57.35 a week. Visit the government website for more information.

University and College Hardship Funds

The Access to Learning Fund has been replaced. Contact your university or college to find out if you’re eligible for extra money.

You could get extra money from your university or college if you’re experiencing financial hardship. The amount to which you are entitled is decided by your university or college, then it is paid in a lump sum or instalments.

You usually won’t have to pay the money back, but in some cases you’ll get a loan that you have to repay.

Visit the government website for more information and contact the student services department at your university or college - they’ll decide if you qualify.

Handy hint: students in their final year of A-levels, college or university who don’t think they are eligible are advised to get in touch with their education provider, as often these grants aren’t fully used up (not many people are aware of them) and need to be given out by the end of the academic year.

Charity Grants

Hundreds of small charities give grants to individuals, from one-off sums to help with things such as furniture, decorating or ways to improve quality of life (eg, holidays or training) to regular amounts to help cover bills and household expenses.

The grants usually depend on an individual's circumstances, maybe any illnesses they have or their nationality, occupation, age or income.

Charity-run website Turn2us has an easy-to-use grant search which tells you how to contact any suitable charities directly, or you can register for a free account to send online enquiries and applications to charities through the site.

Read more:

How much is a student loan?

How much do graduates earn?

Paying back a student loan