Should I help pay for DN's education?

(29 Posts)
LorettaJones Wed 13-Jul-16 20:37:53

I have two siblings and all together 2 DNieces & 1 DNephew.

My sister's seemingly lovely husband turned out to be a cheating, lying twat. DSis managed to rumble him about a month ago, kicked him out and has been trying to sort out her life/finances ever since.

The truth of the matter is, Dsis is 39 and hasn't worked in almost ten years, ever since they had DNiece(9). They've lived a comfortable lifestyle and are in the middle of a very messy divorce, DNiece attends an independent school and soon to be ex BIL has threatened to stop paying for it if DSis doesn't start to act reasonable. Truth be said, she's is taking him to the cleaners and acting slightly scary.

She's currently started looking for employment and if she manages to put her degree to use can hopefully find something very quickly and suitable, but she's asked me if I would loan her the money for DNieces schooling for the following school year, it's a lot of money & I do trust she'll pay be back but I'm just not sure when and what if DBrother asks if I'll do the same for his 2 kids?

Am I overthinking it?

monkeysox Wed 13-Jul-16 20:39:55

If she can't afford the fees get her into state school. Yabu

ZigZagIntoTheBlue Wed 13-Jul-16 20:40:44

I know it's family but I'd stick with the old 'only lend it if you can afford to give it'. If you NEED it back I wouldn't lend it, it's exbil responsibility to pony up the cash for school - I wonder if your dsis will be applying to local or indy secondary schools?!

dustarr73 Wed 13-Jul-16 20:42:17

No i wouldnt,what if she cant pay you back.I think at this stage as hard as it will be she will just have to put her into a state school.

pasturesgreen Wed 13-Jul-16 20:42:18

I'd think it through very carefully.

Can you afford it? What does your DP says about it?

PerspicaciaTick Wed 13-Jul-16 20:46:08

Only lend money you can afford to lose.
There was a Money Box programme on radio 4 this week about lending to friends and family and the one repeated message was assume the money is a gift, be pleasantly surprised if you ever see any of it again.

OhMrDarcy Wed 13-Jul-16 20:47:50

She could ask the school for some help- maybe a bursary or other fund would be available to help reduce the fees to something more manageable for the next year. Otherwise, I think you shouldn't lend the money - it is a long slog ahead for school fees to 16 or 18 years old and it doesn't seem that your ex BIL will be happy to pay for this.

BusStopBetty Wed 13-Jul-16 20:48:44

I wouldn't, unless I was happy to wave goodbye to the money.

Not lending her the money might be the incentive she needs to act reasonably?

peggyundercrackers Wed 13-Jul-16 20:51:57

Definitely don't let it, you will loose it. What if she doesn't get a job? Lots of people are looking but funnily enough they can't find one that pays what they want it to pay.

redhat Wed 13-Jul-16 20:54:46

I wouldn't. She doesn't currently work, hasn't worked for ten years and will have to earn a reasonable amount to be able to afford school fees. As others have said, only hand it over if you can afford to treat it like a gift.

I think its completely wrong for her to ask you,

LIZS Wed 13-Jul-16 20:56:09

Hmm, for how long. You're looking at minimum 10k pa at that age and it only goes up as time goes on. Either they can afford this long term between them or they make the decision to move to state sooner rather than later. Their choice. Not your problem.

EverythingWillBeFine Wed 13-Jul-16 21:15:13

The fact you are asking is telling me you would be really angry at your dsis if she couldn't pay you back or if you felt you had to pay for the other dcs too.
In which case, I would advice to say that unfortunately you can't afford it.

I personally gave done something similar and so have my parents. But we all started from the point that it was a gift to the child, not the mother and were happy even if we were never seen our money back.

EverythingWillBeFine Wed 13-Jul-16 21:15:56

And YY don't lend her cash that will you stranded!

BeckyMcDonald Wed 13-Jul-16 21:16:41

Nope. Unless you're a millionaire.

I'd say the chances of her paying you back in a decent timeframe are minimal. By the time she starts toy you back, next year's school fees will start to become due. If she's been out of work for so long, she might get a big shock when trying to get back into the workplace on any kind of decent wage. I know many, many recent graduates and post-grads working for minimum wage in their chosen profession because there aren't enough professional jobs to go around.

People on low wages can't afford to send their children to private school, even if they're getting a decent amount in maintenance.

RB68 Wed 13-Jul-16 21:18:41

I wouldn't. I think she is at a good age to leave the school and go to state now - in a year or two's time it won't be so easy as going up to secondary. I wouldn't worry about being asked for other nieces and nephews. It is a loan if you do it so ask for a repayment schedule etc. But frankly not having worked for some years she will find it difficult to get back to work as there are lots of people out there looking with much more recent experience. She needs to balance what she is going for with the needs of her kids/child by the sounds of it

Gruach Wed 13-Jul-16 21:27:46

Your sister really needs to speak to the school first. If they're keen to keep her daughter they may well offer some degree of bursarial support. (If your sister really is in financial difficulty.) It's a fairly common situation - although bursaries are easier to come by at senior school.

Was your niece due to move in yr 7 or yr 9? And what was the ongoing plan? If she needs to stay to prepare for a year 7 move to a grammar, say, then it might be best to stay put. If they were hoping for an independent senior school that the father will never pay for - it might be best to bite the bullet and move now. Unless your niece is likely to be awarded every scholarship (and thus bursary) going?

Heidi42 Wed 13-Jul-16 21:32:48

I think hard times may be ahead for your ds and I think not having the money for school fees may be the least of her worries. I hope I am wrong . Therefore I would hold on to your money OP and encourage your ds to send her dd to a state school . You may be called upon to pay the gas and electricity and put food in their tums let alone pay for school fees . I am so sorry

NapQueen Wed 13-Jul-16 21:35:14

I don't think paying the school fees is the best practical use of the money you are prepared to offer her.

How long will it buy her?

The state provides good education for free. The money you are offering could be better used, imo.

OnesieTheQueensSelfie Wed 13-Jul-16 21:43:25

The fact you're even considering it makes you a kind and sympathetic aunt OP.

BUT...the reality is, many people will say anything make well intended promises in order to secure loved ones, particularly dcs, the best (in their opinion) future.

So unless you are able to write cash off/prepared for a fight to be repaid, don't do it.

Gruach Wed 13-Jul-16 21:44:16

So no - it's not the best plan for you to pay. If she's doing brilliantly at school they'll keep her on, if not then you would be better finding other ways to offer support.

Unless you are ridiculously rich.

SisterMoonshine Wed 13-Jul-16 21:44:22

She shouldn't have asked.
Would you be able to say "no" ok?

I agree that you shouldn't lend it. It's all very up in the air: she has no idea yet how her financial situation is going to be.

LorettaJones Wed 13-Jul-16 21:53:55

Heidi, that thought actually scares me. She should get a decent amount out of the divorce, they were married for 14 years & she's sacrificed a lot, I just see how much she's struggling & how much keeping everything as routine as possible for her DD means to her.

Perhaps I can get her enthusiastic about State schools, it might even be better to bring on all the changes at once, I just don't understand why that dirtbag would do this to his family, she's given up everything for him, regardless of how difficult she's being , going down this route will not help anyone.

Momamum Wed 13-Jul-16 21:54:34

I agree that the mother should approach the school's Bursar, explain the changed circumstances, and ask if there are any grants available towards helping the child continue her education.

Is she very bright, btw? The Public Schools Yearbook (libraries hold copies) is also a good source of info on other charitable trusts which could help fund her.

Witchend Wed 13-Jul-16 21:57:15

It's really kind for you to consider it but...
1. She may never be able to pay it back
2. By the sound of it you may be paying pretty much it all-that'll be around £10K a year.
3. I suspect if you start paying on the basis she'll move to state at year 7, you'll find a "but all her friends are going to <insert expensive school> if you won't pay then she'll be devastated." And you'll be the evil aunt who stopped her going to the school she wanted.
4. Your other nieces and nephews may ask why you're not doing the same for them. They'd probably benefit just as much from the school.
5. You may have your own dc in time and it would be kind of ironic if by paying for your dn to go to private school now you can't afford it for your own.
6. I have a very good maths degree, but little experience. It took me 2 years to get paid employment that would fit round school. Even then what I'm paid would not support fees and living. Your dsis may well find the same.

Mycraneisfixed Wed 13-Jul-16 22:16:19

Parents always feel guilty and sad when can't afford to keep DC at private schools but when they have no choice but to send them to state schools they soon get over it. Voice of experience here! Do not in any way facilitate her: she will have to take your DN out of that school eventually.

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