To get increasingly annoyed at the mention of 'Uni funds' on here?

(131 Posts)
WincyWillis Wed 03-Oct-12 15:03:22

Am I?

Not a thread about a thread as such but I've seen it mentioned several times on here recently, in an "Everybody must start a uni fund for their child or they're a terrible parent" way. Firstly, not everyone's children want to or have the ability to got Uni. Secondly, many people don't have any spare money at the end of each month and can barely cover bills, let alone save towards a Uni fund. Also, it's perfectly possible for a child to fund his/herself through Uni, as my friend's 3 teenage children are currently doing. There is no need for Mummy and Daddy to have a Uni fund.

And the phrase makes my teeth itch!

squeakytoy Wed 03-Oct-12 15:05:07

YANBU at all.

It doesn't bother me that much, but I do agree with the reasons it bothers you. My DD is at college and hoping to go to uni. She will be on her own financially as I will also be at uni. <eek>

MrsMangelfanciedPaulRobinson Wed 03-Oct-12 15:06:06

Yep, it pisses me right off too.

I remember a thread fairly recently on here where someone said that single parents should be saving the maintenance they receive each month for a Uni Fund! Fucking ridiculous!

But don't the student loan company assume a certain level of parental contribution if your income is higher than a threshold amount. So for some parents its highly probable you will have to top up the student loan so why not save in advance.

If you child doesn't go to uni then the money can be used for something else.

If your income is too low to save then I assume your child would be entitled to the full loan package.

kdiddy Wed 03-Oct-12 15:07:53

Well whatever you use it for, I am sure most people, if they're in a position to do so, will save money for their children's future. Calling it a uni fund just demonstrates what you think it would go towards, but it could be for anything.

In any case, the current uni funding arrangements mean that often people cannot fund themselves through uni and are expected to rely on parental contributions.

Leena49 Wed 03-Oct-12 15:07:57

My eldest dd (12) asked me if I had started saving for her uni fund last year. I nearly choked! I presume she got this from friends!

Viviennemary Wed 03-Oct-12 15:08:31

I can't see the point of becoming annoyed about it. If people can afford to set up a uni fund for their children then why not. If you can afford it, then I think it's a very good idea. But I agree it is annoying to say everyone should set up a Uni fund. Everyone can't.

MummytoMog Wed 03-Oct-12 15:10:44

If my kids don't get the full loan etc, then I guess we'll have to top up to that amount. I paid my own way through university though, and while I'm still paying off my student loans, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to put money into a 'uni fund'. Urgh. What a horrid thought. Maybe I'll pack them off to American Universities and the land of scholarships (assuming DD and DS take after us and have an academic bent).

WincyWillis Wed 03-Oct-12 15:11:12

It's just such a first-world, middle-class phrase. I would imagine that those that have a Uni Fund will also be putting huge pressure on their children to attend Uni, which I think is unfair.

WincyWillis Wed 03-Oct-12 15:11:56

Single parents should be saving maintenance towards a Uni Fund?? Good lord, whatever next??

QueefLatina Wed 03-Oct-12 15:14:38

Shit! What's the income threshold?!

FromEsme Wed 03-Oct-12 15:16:08

I reckon that once you leave home, you should be on your own. I work in education and I can see a direct link between those who are funded by their parents and spoilt, needy behaviour. I'd rather any children of mine grew up to be independent, rather than relying on me for everything.

TunipTheVegemal Wed 03-Oct-12 15:16:49

But this is the first world and a lot of people on here are middle class.

It seems like a sensible thing for people to do if they can, if they know they're going to be in a position where their income will be too high for their children to get the full amount but they're also not so rich they can afford it without a thought.

Tuttutitlookslikerain Wed 03-Oct-12 15:17:09

DS1 is looking at going to Uni next year. Up until last week he had no intention of going. I am still not convinced he is going to actually go. He has the capability, I am just not sure he will enjoy it. He actually lives to join the Army so we shall see what will happen.

We have no Uni fund. The uni's he is looking at are commutable. If he lives Out he shall have to get a job and support himself. I am disabled and don't work, DH has a good job, but we are in that bracket where we don't get help but don't earn enough to save loads IYSWIM.

needanswers Wed 03-Oct-12 15:21:36

wincy offensive view there - exh and I have a "uni" fund for ds1 - we just want him to be happy - he doesn't go tO uni - we will both just have some spare cash to enjoy.

Hullygully Wed 03-Oct-12 15:22:43

I haven't seen anything about uni funds anywhere so no idea <helpful>

purplehouse Wed 03-Oct-12 15:23:30

It's from the American "college fund" isn't it?

Anyway yabu. It is bloody hard to fund yourself through uni. If parents are in a position to help, they should IMO. Government funding is based on parental income (or lack of) so there is a very clear expectation that parents will help.

WincyWillis Wed 03-Oct-12 15:25:08

I find it an annoying phrase though. Rather like "Playdate"

GoldShip Wed 03-Oct-12 15:26:22

Seriously does anyone do this? Im going to uni next year but my mum hasn't got a uni fund for me! As if. I wouldn't have wanted her scrimping and saving anyway.

needanswers Wed 03-Oct-12 15:27:43

We call it a uni fund because that's what it is - it's not money that would be handed over for anything else.

It started out as an endowment policy but it quickly became clear it wasn't going to pay out as much as expected.


However i think that if you can afford to help your child through their education and they are going tobe put at a disadvantage because of your income, then you should.

I live in a MN area, but most parents try to fund some driving lessons, or plan so that they don't have to start taking 'keep' straight away.

I think that parenst who are on a reasonable income and in a steady career, sometimes don't realise how tough it is now.

Years ago, savings plans would be taken out that would be collected on the 18, or 21st Birthday.

I would rather save than put my child in designer clothes, which i know some do.

That should have been 'Min Wage'.

Narked Wed 03-Oct-12 15:29:22

I don't like ther expression, but of course it's a good idea. A parent's income (and their partner's income if they live in the child's home) determines what loans a student can get, because they expect parents to contribute.

ZZMum Wed 03-Oct-12 15:34:43

YABU - we do not all fit into a one size fits all category and so for some people uni funds are going to be needed as some of us do hope our kids want to go to university and parental income has an impact on how much kids can borrow and so a parental contribution is needed. I am yet to see the "no uni fund, bad parent" line which is clearly incorrect but you cannot stop some of us discussing how we are going to fund our kids further education - if it annoys you, hide the threads..

have to say though I do hate the word Uni

Hopeforever Wed 03-Oct-12 15:34:46

So is the phrase that's worse than the idea behind it?

Up until now it's not hit me as a phrase many use. But I am aware of the idea that parents save money towards possible future university fees and costs.

We have a savings account that we have decided is to pay towards the children's university costs should they decide to go. If they don't, we will have more cash in our retirement.

The important thing is that we don't use this money to buy anything else as if and when they go we will not have the spare cash to help them with costs.

Some people have a nicer car or house than us, that is their choice. Others can't afford a nice car, house or to save towards a university fund.

I am very cross that it now is so expensive to attend uni not everyone who would benefit from this level of education has access.

This is what we should be annoyed about, not if some people have a savings account and some don't

WincyWillis Wed 03-Oct-12 15:35:07

Don't get me wrong. I will be contributing to my children's uni expenses if they decide they would like to go to University. And I save for this.

I just don't feel the need to talk about a Uni fund

WincyWillis Wed 03-Oct-12 15:36:04

Hopeforever, I have already stated that it's the phrase and the general attitude about Uni Funds that I find annoying, rather than the actual fact that there is a savings account

ScatterChasse Wed 03-Oct-12 15:36:22

When you look at it the expected contribution is quite high...I'm a couple of years out of date now, but I think it was about £3500 was the maximum loan if you were in the top earning bracket.

We were told the government expect a year at university to cost £5500-6000 (if you look at the scale between loan, grant and rough parental input) so there's quite a big gap there.

But yes, 'uni fund' is an annoying term so YANBU at all there!

Hopeforever Wed 03-Oct-12 15:36:50

So you do have a uni fund, you just don't call it that and you don't want to talk about it, except when you start a thread to tell us about it smile

AnastasiaSteele Wed 03-Oct-12 15:41:58

BirdsGottaFly I am most disappointed with your typo. I got all excited that a MN area existed and I could go and live there.

WincyWillis Wed 03-Oct-12 15:42:17

No I don't call it that as I won't be forcing my children into going to University. We save a fairly large sum each month anyway so what it goes on is neither here nor there tbh.

AThingInYourLife Wed 03-Oct-12 15:45:29

"It's just such a first-world, middle-class phrase."


OMG - imagine! Middle class people in the first world using phrases, the utter bastards.

How are things in the 3rd world OP?

This seems a surprising thing for someone so worried about self-indulgent wank to be posting about.

WincyWillis Wed 03-Oct-12 15:47:46

AThingInYourLife oh do get over it. I do think it's a crap phrase, and yes it is all a pile of self indulgent middle class wank, a way of people letting others know that their children will be going to Uni

Narked Wed 03-Oct-12 15:49:41

I don't tell them I'm saving for them. The big ones know they'll be supported financially if they go to uni grin versity, but I'm not telling them there's a lump sum there for them. I can't think of a worse idea than them thinking there's 'free' cash when they hit 18 or 21. DH and I will choose how to use it so that they each get appropriate support for what they want to do with their lives. I'm not funding 12 months drinking post sixth form.

Narked Wed 03-Oct-12 15:52:28

'self indulgent middle class wank, a way of people letting others know that their children will be going to Uni'


They don't need a way of letting people know that! University isn't considered a big deal in that social group, it's standard - the norm.

QueefLatina Wed 03-Oct-12 15:54:17

No problem with the concept but the word uni makes me feels cross, no idea why!

WincyWillis Wed 03-Oct-12 15:55:47

Me too QueefLatina. Reminds me of the old Scott and Charlene days in Neighbours

NameChangeGalore Wed 03-Oct-12 16:01:55

Yabu to call it a UNI fund. UNI what? Unicycle fund? Uniform fund? Unibrow fund? Yes. It's UNIVERSITY. There's nothing wrong with having one. Everyone should aim to send their children to university.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 03-Oct-12 16:02:35

I think yabu. Although I don't like the word 'uni' either.

But this is something that people genuinely worry about at the moment. Those parents who genuinely can't save anything will be fine because their dc will get bursaries if they want to study, the rich will be able to afford it anyway, and the rest of us in the middle are just concerned that if we don't start saving then our children will either have to sacrifice further education or start their adult lives with a ridiculous amount of debt.

If this website is meant to be about supporting each other with parenting stuff, then I think university funding is something that is more than worthy of some thread time.

I get where ypu're coming from Op. I find myself getting wound up on threads where someone is saying that they're struggling with a newborn or finding it hard to manage work and a baby and a dozen people say'get a cleaner'. Presumably if they could afford one they would have one?
Don't have a problem with anyone having a cleaner or a uni fund, just yhey're Assumption that everyone else should have one.

RuleBritannia Wed 03-Oct-12 16:06:49

'Uni' is not a word. Let's use 'university' in future because that's what it is.

I don't like 'invite', quote', advert' to be used as nouns either.

What happened to 'invitation', quotation' and 'advertisement'? If people offer me a quote, I say, "No, I'd prefer to have a quotation." Younger people don't even know that they are short versions of the correct words. <returns to Pedants' Corner>

RuleBritannia Wed 03-Oct-12 16:13:14

And I don't like 'Brit'. I'm a Briton or Englishwoman.

StrangeGlue Wed 03-Oct-12 16:14:38

The government assume a level of parental contribution and you can't just borrow what you need, borrowing is capped so if you can afford to put something away its a good idea but if you can't you can't.

We're putting money to one side but don't call it a uni fund and dd won't be told about it so no pressure (or thinking the money is her's to do as she pleases with if she doesn't go - ha!)

I think its a bit flippant to say "they'll just have to get a job whilst a student" when there are so many people trying to get jobs without having to fit them around non-flexible lectures. And even in the good times not all universities are in places with a lot of jobs available, bangor, sunderland, lampeter, etc.

Obviously we all priorities money and if there's none left at the end of the month you shouldn't scrimp for a savings pot but seems an odd thing to give a toss about anyone else doing.

NatashaBee Wed 03-Oct-12 16:21:27

The phrase is a bit annoying. But we have a 'uni fund' for DS and DSD (well, a college fund, as we're in America). I'm not trying to be smug, but we have a reasonable lifestyle and I would find it hard to justify to DSD in a few years why we couldn't send her to college when she can clearly see that we have spent money on other non-essential things. Having said that, if we were skint, I wouldn't feel at all bad about not being able to help her, if she could clearly see that we had struggled. If she wanted to go on to college that badly she would fund herself somehow, with or without our help.

SCOTCHandWRY Wed 03-Oct-12 16:22:19

FromEsme Wed 03-Oct-12 15:16:08
I reckon that once you leave home, you should be on your own. I work in education and I can see a direct link between those who are funded by their parents and spoilt, needy behaviour. I'd rather any children of mine grew up to be independent, rather than relying on me for everything.

That's a little harsh ESME, as student loans are based on parental income. My 2 DS who are at uni receive only minimum maintainence loan... the princely sum of £940per year. We are legally responsible for funding them until they reach age 21, unless they "divorce" us, at which point they would get the full loan entitlement. This is Scottish student loan rules, but similar rules in England.

If parental (household) income is above c.£35k, mimimum loan only.
Lower income parents DC get loans, may get grants and additional bursary, so yes, these kids can support themselves without parental help... fairly modest 2 income families can easily find they HAVE to fund the DC through uni at a cost of thousands of pounds a year, as there is no funding available.

£6k a year we are paying to each child - they are not spoil, most of the cash goes on student halls. One is at a uni which does not allow students to work during term time and the other is looking for a job but it's a very tough to get anything where he is.

Without our parental input, they wouldn't BE at university... that has nothing to do with "spoiling" them, we are enabling them to get on a career path. Would you really cut your children off financially the second they leave school? shock

DontmindifIdo Wed 03-Oct-12 16:28:57

Yep, the idea that people who earn enough so their DCs won't be able to borrow the money to go to uni (before you've even thought about if you're happy for them to run up those sorts of debts) should start saving, even if it's just a little each month towards the costs.

If you are a higher earner so your DCs won't be able to borrow the funds they need, you need to take a good look at your spending habits if you dno't have anything at the end of the month to save.

If you're earning a smaller wage, then your DCs will be able to access the money they need to go to uni another way.

the DCs who are completely screwed are those from wealthy parents who choose not to give them any money - they can't borrow it, and in student towns it's incredibly hard to get a job that fits round lectures.

TunipTheVegemal Wed 03-Oct-12 16:34:00

agree DontmindifIdo.
It's much more common in America to work while studying but the system has grown up with that in mind, there are more jobs for students in universities, more appreciation by universities of the need to work while studying and they are far, far more richly endowed hence more scholarships.

Adversecamber Wed 03-Oct-12 16:36:20

Sadly life is unfair and some people will be able to afford a fund and some won't. I do remember asking one of the students just before graduation what he was doing, he was off to work in the city and his Dad had bought him a flat in the Docklands.
The job may very well have been through contacts, now who wouldn't use a contact to gain advantage but that is something that is in a way even harder than a lack of funds.

Ragwort Wed 03-Oct-12 16:36:53

I too hate the expression 'uni' - never used it in my day grin.

We save for our DS's future (we've even got a pension fund for him that he can't access until he's 55 grin). I know my parents also put money aside for their grandchildren. We don't talk about it though - however on the Christmas thread lots of people are commenting that they would spend £200/£300 on their chidrens' presents shock - I would never do that but would happily put money on one side to be saved. I never understand the mumsnet logic, its OK to buy a 3 year old an ipad but not save for the future confused.

whiskyplease Wed 03-Oct-12 16:38:29

I worked at a UNIVERSITY for over 20 years. It was always called a UNIVERSITY by staff, students, telephone callers. To me the only people who say uni are those who will be wobblers all the way through (e.g. the parent who was amazed that little Tommy wouldn't be provided with his own microwave. Turned out it wasn't the only thing he couldn't cope with).

Puts on flameproof suit and inverted snobbery guard and waits for the flames of hell.

adeucalione Wed 03-Oct-12 16:43:31

Well I'm not saving anything at all towards university costs, and have told DC that they are on their own and will have to apply for tuition and maintenance loans.

I can't think of anything more bananas than giving DC cash that they could borrow on extremely preferential terms, and may never have to repay at all.

Incidentally, maintenance loans of 65% of the maximum entitlement are not means tested, although wealthier parents will be expected to make up the 35% shortfall I expect (or student gets a holiday job).

adeucalione Wed 03-Oct-12 16:44:20

And Uni doesn't bother me, nether does phone, fridge or pram, all of which probably had someone reaching for the smelling salts when they were first used.

Shakeyshakes Wed 03-Oct-12 16:52:14

Lots of people dont have "Uni" funds but are screwed over with the current system of grants etc.

All those families that bring their kids up on low incomes with no spare money to save or put away, striving for years to better themselves and then when they finally do start to earn a better income are classed as being well off and their kids not entitled to grants etc because they so say come from a well off family.

Too skint to save anything or much at all for years followed by earning enough to put £50 to £100 a month away maybe a year before their kids go to uni but not entitled to much help at all.

They are the ones that are completely buggered.

marshmallowpies Wed 03-Oct-12 16:56:15

I definitely agree the implication everyone 'should' be saving is wrong, and referring to a 'uni fund' desperately middle class and smug...but...but...

...I didn't pay tuition fees (graduated the last year before they came in) and I disagree with them (and protested against them at the time). I believe students should work or get loans to help support themselves, but the education itself should be free.

So I intend, if DD wants to go to uni, to pay her tuition fees and contribute to her rent, but to pay for living expenses she will need a job or a loan.

That at least puts her on a level playing field with the situation I was in in the 90's (I took out student loans and worked in the holidays) - it doesn't mean she will be in no debt, but it won't be as ruinous as it might otherwise be.

To me, it's about making a personal stand against fees. I don't think any student should have to pay them, the least I can do is rescue my own child from having to pay them.

We only have 1 DC so far, though. If we have 2, it would be a challenge to save enough to pay for both fees. And I'm not dead set that my children have to go to uni, but I guess would use the equivalent saved money for vocational training or something else relevant to their future.

DontmindifIdo Wed 03-Oct-12 17:00:12

BTW - I went to a redbrick university in the last Century - it was called 'uni' then. You have to be really old to think uni is a 'new' word... wink

ethelb Wed 03-Oct-12 17:04:32

You are assuming maintence loans and fee loans will be available in 15 years.

rollmeover Wed 03-Oct-12 17:05:04

I dont really see whats wrong in having a fund for education whatever you call it!
So YABU in that sense. We are lucky enough to be able to save some money each month for our daughter (and subsequent children) and in my head its a uni fund, though if she wants to start her own business, or needs it to pursue a sport or activity or travel the world or put it towards a deposit on a house then thats all good too. Or if our circumastances drastically change then I will spend it!

I certainly would never judge anyone who couldn't afford it for not having one despite working hard, as these are exactly the people whose children should get support for higher and further education.

lubeybooby Wed 03-Oct-12 17:06:01

Well, like it or not if your kids intend to go to uni you're going to need one.

A lot of stuff needs paying upfront before grants and loans etc come through, so even if you qualify for full funding and loans etc you could be seriously up the creek without a fund.

MY DD is 16 and I've been glad of all the posts on here about unexpected costs, paying for accomodation upfront, and uni funds, etc - as I now know what's coming.

CelineMcBean Wed 03-Oct-12 17:06:07

YABU. Get annoyed at the fact people need a uni fund to be able to go. Be annoyed at the politicians who enjoyed grants and free higher education making these decisions. Get annoyed at these changes to £9,000pa fees being brought in with barely any notice and certainly not enough to save that sort of amount unless you're super wealthy. Get annoyed that social mobility is all but erroded in the UK.

Don't get annoyed at people seeing that the options for people without a uni fund are less than those of their wealthier peers and ability has very little to do with opportunity these days.

perfectstorm Wed 03-Oct-12 17:06:48

How do you force an 18 year old to go to uni? Threaten to email all their friends with embarassing childhood anecdotes, illustrated with naked baby pics?

The reality is that parents are now expected (though not made, which causes all kinds of issues, tbh) to subsidise their kids at university unless they earn less than half the country do. From the number of threads on here where parents say they can't afford to do that, then saving sounds wise. If you earn below the threshold, then your kids get full help, anyway.

The world where you didn't need to help your child go to university altered when over half the population started going. The funding for that level of tertiary attendance just isn't there. I think it's a good thing if those who can afford it start setting aside the wherewithal early.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 03-Oct-12 17:07:59

YABU... Just because you can't afford to save anything for your kids' future, why get upset that others are more fortunate and are planning ahead? Does everyone have to be like you?

TunipTheVegemal Wed 03-Oct-12 17:10:36

People in England started saying 'uni' a lot in the late 80s when Australian soaps were popular.
That's a long time ago now!

AThingInYourLife Wed 03-Oct-12 17:11:33

It's a bit silly to be complaining about one dickish phrase using the dickishest phrase of all time.

I'd take a hundred "uni funds" over a single utterance of the unspeakable "first world problem".

MoominmammasHandbag Wed 03-Oct-12 17:13:43

Waved DS1 off to Uni a couple of weeks ago. Because of our income he is allowed to borrow £3500. His halls alone are well over £5000. So if we hadn't saved a Uni fund he'd be pretty stuffed wouldn't he? Lots of his more disadvantaged friends are getting thousands in grants and bursaries. There is an argument that he is losing out because of our hard work. And yes I do personally know people people manipulating their income to be under the grants/loans threshold.

perfectstorm Wed 03-Oct-12 17:16:30

How is a very obvious abbreviation "a dickish phrase", anyway? It's not like people who call Sainsburys "Sainsbos" or "Sainsbugs". It's just shortening a 5 syllable word. Unless people also prefer to say they're putting their perambulator in the boot of their mechanised carriage so they can meet their friend for luncheon, I don't really see the problem.

smalltown Wed 03-Oct-12 17:22:21

Could we call it a Poly fund instead?
I too went in the last century when there was a clear distinction between a proper uni & a poly smile

Narked Wed 03-Oct-12 17:25:55

Exactly MoominMammasHandbag.

PropertyNightmare Wed 03-Oct-12 17:29:13

Each of my four dc have 'child trust funds'. They can use them towards Uni should they decide to go. To have specific 'Uni fund' seems rather presumptuous!

messtins Wed 03-Oct-12 17:34:49

We hope our children will want to go to university. If they do it will cost an arm and a leg. We will be in an income bracket where they don't get full loans and will be expected to have parental contributions. We can afford to save a bit now towards those expenses. Where exactly are we being annoying??
If they turn out not to want to go to university then those same funds will be available for other training, or to give them a leg-up onto the housing ladder, or for anything else we deem sensible at the time. What would you prefer we called it?
It doesn't make you a bad parent if you don't or can't afford to do this, but if you can then surely it's sensible.

Startailoforangeandgold Wed 03-Oct-12 17:36:34

Fucking government have taken our Chidbenifit, that was my two's 'Uni Fund'

PropertyNightmare Wed 03-Oct-12 17:42:00

Agree that if you can afford to pay into a fund for your dc on a regular basis then it is sensible to do so. It could go towards a house deposit or similar if Uni funds end up not being needed.

Thowra Wed 03-Oct-12 17:43:38

If you are a family with two working parents, you are going to need to find several hundred pounds a month for DC at university. whether that is squeezed from current budget, or relatives, or a 'Uni Fund', or the student will have to find work (quite a lot of work, to the detriment of their studies.) Or, not go.

Single parents, or those where one parent chooses not to work, or two parents choose to work very little, may not need to find the money, as the government and universities will pay for their children. With bursaries, a low income student is about twice as well off as our DD will be at university, so we have to make up the shortfall - it's about £4.5k per year * wibble *.

the figures are here, scroll down a bit. remember that on top of this, the 'poorest' students get an additional bursary from the uni which can be £3k.

Expect student accomodation to be £4K + per year outside London.

Thowra Wed 03-Oct-12 17:44:55
Mintyy Wed 03-Oct-12 17:46:10

Honestly, honestly, honestly, I cannot believe you are so wound up by this (apart from the use of the word Uni, on which I agree with you).

If people cannot afford to start one then I guess they just won't at the moment, but might put a little aside when times are better?

Did you not know that a lot of people on Mumsnet are middle class?

Thowra Wed 03-Oct-12 17:51:03

Oh, and for those with younger children... I am convinced it is just a matter of time before they start to means test tuition fees - currently £9k everyone can borrow (although sometimes discounted for students who's parent's don't earn / work much).

Thowra Wed 03-Oct-12 17:52:44

That's £9K per year btw.

wordfactory Wed 03-Oct-12 17:57:50

If parents can't afford it then so be it, but for those that can I think it's got to be hugely helpful to start saving.

The amount of loan available for living expenses is means tested. Many DC will not get anywhere close to what they need to even pay their accommodation costs, let along travel/books/social life etc.

SeamonkeyHasMyMoney Wed 03-Oct-12 18:10:46

These threads are so frustrating.
Every time they pop up they are full of 'only spolit children get a fund from mummy and daddy, my children will pay for it themselves because they're oh so independent.'

Parents who earn over the Student Finance threshold are pretty much expected to part fund their child's education.
In my first year, I was entitled to a £4000 maintenence loan. My accommoation fees alone were £4400 for the year.
Living in a small town with 3 big universities combined with very busy timetable, placements, and a heavy workload mean that holding down a term-time job is near impossible.

I am very grateful that my parents had saved in case I decided to go to university.
I sure has hell wouldn't have been able to get my degree if they hadn't.

mummytime Wed 03-Oct-12 18:21:56

Well into my DDs Uni fund goes left over birthday money and money they earn from singing. And we have been vaguely saving for University since they were born (not as much as we should have, but some).

My mother was on benefits when I grew up and saved for me from birth (with the hope I would go to University) and that was when you got a full grant and no fees.

Saving if at all possible is always a good idea. I would probably feed my kids on more lentils etc. if we couldn't afford to save a bit.

Hopeforever Wed 03-Oct-12 18:54:19

Sea monkey, the funniest thing about this thread is the OP has a savings fund she will use if her children go to university grin

ethelb Wed 03-Oct-12 18:57:59

I agree with seamonkey.

I went to university with people who had parents who went on about how they expected their children to be financially indpeendent "like they were". Bollocks. They got hand outs from the state if they went to uni. And if they didn't they had a realistic chance of apprenticships etc. Then they came out the other side to more affordable living costs.

I know one family that had to do a huge about turn in the middle of their first child's second year as they realised how stupid they had been.

They ended up paying all of their other children's uni costs once the message came home that if your parents work they are expected to top you up by the gov.

In germany you can take your parents to court if they don't help you financially at university!

It's not great. I am 25 and would far rather have been "financially indepenent" ie had the gov give me the funds like previous generations rather than my parents helping me with rent. I would also far rather be living in an economy where I could save up and buy my own house rahter than raid my "granny''s pension fund". It's not going to happen under this government though!

TunipTheVegemal Wed 03-Oct-12 19:04:32

Agree, also you get a lot of 'I paid my own way through university' from people who don't realise their fees were only paying a portion of the full cost of their degree and students now will be expected to pay a lot more.
Not to mention the massive rise in rents etc in the last few years.

23balloons Wed 03-Oct-12 19:10:54

YABU it is reaching the stage where only children from poor or very well off families can afford to go to university, anyone from middle income families won't be able to borrow enough to survive on and if their parents cannot help out they won't be able to stay in education unless they work a lot of paid hours/week.

If your family earns pretty much nothing you will recieve £3k+ free money (grants) and be able to borrow the maximum amount from SFE and probably also be eliegible for extra bursaries from the university. i know of students whose parents have split up and they claim to be living with the one on low income to be eligible for the maximum loans etc. yet the ones from two parent middle income families can't even borrow enough to cover rent costs. If you are in this bracket OP and you want your dc to go to uni you had better start saving too.

wordfactory Wed 03-Oct-12 19:13:01

Well quite tunip many of us older posters had no fees to meet and got a grant towards living expenses.

Sure I worked but at no stage was I expected to borrow around 16k a year.

scottishmummy Wed 03-Oct-12 19:13:50

i started savings accounts and isa for uni since birth
i am fortunate i can afford to
i dont need to but i chose to.dont want them to struggle and whilst i appreciate not everyone an i certainly dont feel apologetic at saving for uni

My DD has one. I call it the Bora Bora if she doesn't go fund. Don't kid yourselves that it will stay at 9,000. By the time your young children are there, it will be more and the loans and assistance will be less. I don't judge people who don't have one. Please don't judge me for having one.

scottishmummy Wed 03-Oct-12 19:21:14

worked my way through uni and it was fucking hard scraping by
freezing in winter and eking out a cheap dinner isnt fun
im more than happy to save for kids uni fund,and fortunate i can

wordfactory Wed 03-Oct-12 19:21:17

I think it will become more common to have an investment plan for DC from birth/early age to cover university/house deposit...

Happygirl77 Wed 03-Oct-12 19:22:06


We have 3 dc and no such savings. We are both professionals (three degrees and a set of professional qualifications between us) but I am well aware that my kids may want to leave school at 16 and become hairdressers / plumbers / nannies or whatever and I'm fine with that!

thebody Wed 03-Oct-12 19:24:15

Op not sure what your friends earn but we have 2 kids at uni at the moment and we certainly have to 'fund them through uni'

They both have part time jobs in term time and full time in holidays.

Both me and dh work full time.

My lads have the basic maintenance loan that doesn't even cover rent.

Sorry you don't know what you are talking about.

scottishmummy Wed 03-Oct-12 19:24:35

is unreasonable to be annoyed others have made provision
whilst i get one is fortunate to have the ability to plan for uni
i also dont think it warrants youre ire either

Knowsabitabouteducation Wed 03-Oct-12 19:26:50

I think it is more annoying when parents get surprised when their DCs are on the verge of Freshers' week that they might just need to support their issue.

puds11 Wed 03-Oct-12 19:27:21

Well, i have a 'uni fund' for my DD and i am a single working class mother. I am doing it so that if my DD wants to go to uni she can. If she doesn't want to go to uni she can use it for something else.

With the increase in fee's i personally think you would be stupid not to save for it. Call it whatever you like, i don't give a shit, but i do want my DD to have opportunities, whether she takes them or not is up to her.

Flossiechops Wed 03-Oct-12 19:28:30

I couldn't give a shite that the op or anybody else for that matter is annoyed at the mention of uni funds. We have been saving a small amount for our dc since they were born. I'm a nurse and dh is on a small salary, so we don't earn a huge amount, but as other posters have said it won't stop at 9k. God knows how much it will be in ten years when my dc are at that age. If they choose not to go to uni then it can be their house fund!!

bigkidsdidit Wed 03-Oct-12 19:29:37

I have put £100 a month into a fund for DS since he was born. I call it his university fund, but it's not to boast about it or force him into it! If he doesn't go we'll use it for whatever training / business setting up needs he does have. Although seeing as I and three of his grandparents are all university lecturers, I would be staggered if he didn't go

And speaking as a lecturer, university is really really expensive. Saving is a very good idea if possible

flossy101 Wed 03-Oct-12 19:30:00

We have a savings account for our little boy. I don't call it a "uni fund", just putting money away, maybe for a car when he turns 18, maybe to support through uni if he goes. Whilst we can afford to put a bit by each month I will continue to do so.

Maat Wed 03-Oct-12 19:31:35

We started a fund for our kids. It was not necessarily for Uni but might have been for start up costs towards independence.

It was called an endowment policy.

Not worth the bloody paper it's written on now.

So even those of us that try to make some kind of provision can't predict what the future holds.

DS1 is at university and DS2 goes next year. We will support them where we can but it's not easy.

PiggyBankMum Wed 03-Oct-12 19:33:14

As soon as anyone CAN save it would be prudent to do so. For pension, for University, for a house deposit.
No shame in not being able to, but no reason to slag off people who can and who choose to put money away for a child's future rather than spend it.
And of course people mean 'IF s/he goes to University.
It's just doing as you do - saving - by a name that irritates you.

scottishmummy Wed 03-Oct-12 19:59:24

lol,just seen op does save for dc does have finances to save
just wants to split hairs and get wanky about what its called. because she can
call it mum and dad are contrary despite being as mc as everyone else fund

Tressy Wed 03-Oct-12 20:07:59

'Single parents' get full grants/loans and bursaries, bit of a sweeping generalisation there. Some single parents earn about the threshold, don't ya know.

Mine gets the full grants/loans and bursaries because I don't earn above any threshold but I do work just as hard as families with two parents. In fact I've worked since she was 13 weeks old shock.

My DC wasn't expected to pay for anything up front i.e hall fees where due once the student loan came through. She paid a fair bit up front for freshers tickets though grin and also all her household stuff as we couldn't transport anything due to the distance. I managed to save the meager maintenance I got for many years as a backup for when she reached 18, so not a 'uni fund' as such.

Don't understand why university being shortened to uni is annoying or why the OP is quibbing when she herself is saving money.

Tressy Wed 03-Oct-12 20:08:50

'above' not about.

lunar1 Wed 03-Oct-12 20:17:37

Not read all the reply's but this really feels like a middle class bashing thread. I hope that my boys go to uni and if they do DH and I will be expected to pay towards it as we earn over the threshold.

Obviously they are free to make their own choices but the money i am putting away is not for frivolous spending, it is an investment. I may use it to help them with a deposit for a house.

We work hard as a family and are lucky enough to have the qualifications to earn good wages, what is wrong with saving to help our boys achieve the same if that is what they want.

perfectstorm Wed 03-Oct-12 20:24:44

I think saving for uni is a loving and responsible thing for a parent to do, really. I'm always rather horrified to see a parent justifying their child's struggling without state or parental support on the grounds that "students are meant to be poor." Being poor is horrible. There is no glamour to poverty unless retrospectively remembered from a warm house with a full stomach and the ability to pay the gas bill.

Whether we like it or not, many won't be able to go to university in future unless parents help them with it. If you can, and you plan ahead, good for you. As for it implying an assumption they will go - it's hardly an evil assumption, is it? That your child will work hard and be sufficiently bright to want to stay in education until 21 or 22? And saving towards that goal is a sacrifice, not a vanity. After all, you can't suddenly magic up those saved thousands overnight if they do go, not if you needed to save to begin with.

Think it's a lovely thing to do.

SCOTCHandWRY Thu 04-Oct-12 12:42:58

A perfect post from PERFECTSTORM. Exactly this.

As for the word Uni.... even in the far north of Scotland, that was coming into widespread use when I was a student 20 years ago... I always thought the traditional English/British abbreviation was hideous - VARSITY, ugly word, I'll stick with Uni grin

ICBINEG Thu 04-Oct-12 13:23:27

jeffing hell...

thanks for the money saving expert links guys!

I just spent an increasingly alarming 10 minutes learning that paying your kids uni fees up front is a TERRIBLE financial idea....

<mind boggles>

seriously....the next time you hear someone talking about a uni fund you need to send them direct to money saving expert for re-education....

maddening Thu 04-Oct-12 13:52:00

Of course we should though but in reality we SHOULD be doing lots of things that aren't always possible - money saved for retirement, money saved for ill health/periods of unemployment, getting fit etc where life gets in the way.

It is hard to gauge what education and health system we will have in 20 years and I doubt there will be any state pension etc

LesleyPumpshaft Thu 04-Oct-12 14:17:27

Single parents should be saving maintenance towards a Uni Fund

Hmm, because all single parents actually get maintenance don't they. hmm

ReallyTired Thu 04-Oct-12 14:23:02

If my children don't want to go to uni then maybe they will want a desposit for a house or a car. We put by £50 per month for each of our two children. I hope it will pay for the parental contribution. It won't be a fortune at 18, but I hope it helps them.

Whats wrong with a bit of forward financial planning?

OldCatLady Thu 04-Oct-12 14:59:24

What a load of crap!!

My parents earned over the threshold so I got the absolute minimum loans, but they will always cover your FULL tuition fees, and get up to a certain amount for housing which depends where you are, and the uni will help you find housing within your budget. I had absolutely no help from my parents, and had to get a part time job to pay for food, expenses etc. And you know what, it really pisses me off that your parents are 'expected' to help if they earn over a certain amount when number of dependants, mortgage, bills, debt etc is not taken into account. But if you're poor enough you get money GIVEN to you (not a loan) by the government which means you don't even need to get a job.

OldCatLady Thu 04-Oct-12 15:00:17

By the way I'm not saying 'you must not save for their future' I'm just saying you don't need to if you don't want to/can't afford it

SCOTCHandWRY Thu 04-Oct-12 16:12:50

Thu 04-Oct-12 13:23:27
jeffing hell...

thanks for the money saving expert links guys!

I just spent an increasingly alarming 10 minutes learning that paying your kids uni fees up front is a TERRIBLE financial idea....

I'm not sure what you mean by this? If you mean course fee loans (typically £9000pa), that's not what most people on here are talking about... it's Maintinence loans, as these are means tested.

All students can get coarse fee loans (though in the future, who knows what will happen?).
House hold income above a certain limit (around £35k), means minimum loan only, and it won't even cover the cost of halls... parents are expected to contribute the rest of the living costs - it;s not a case of wanting to pay instead of borrowing the money, parents are HAVING to pay!

wordfactory Thu 04-Oct-12 16:18:13

My view on course fees is that the cash is better off in my pocket for the three year duration (and perhaps a few years thereafter if DC go travelling or continue in education).

Paying up front when you don't need to, seems silly, whilst there are no downsides to repayment in the future.

However, loans for course fees won't put a roof over your DC's heads. Or clothe and feed them. This cash has to come from somewhere.

DontmindifIdo Thu 04-Oct-12 16:30:08

OldCatLady - at the moment, that is the situation, however, DS is preschool. Since I went to university, fees have come in at £1k pa which we were assured at the time they would only rise with inflation, and maintenance grants have gone. The loans have changed from flat amounts anyone can borrow, that had to be paid back regardless of what you earned (only the speed you paid it back varied), now fees have gone up to £9k, loans will depend on what your parents earn and how much you pay back will depend on what you earn. That has all happened in less than 20 years.

It will be over 15 years before DS goes to uni (if he goes)- I really can't make financial decisions now on the assumption this most recent change is the final one. If your DC are going to uni next year, then the advise not to pay upfront might be a good one, but if your DCs are going any later than that, it doesn't follow that the system will be the same.

I am fairly certain one way or another way, it will be more expensive when DS goes to uni. It might be the case he can borrow all the money needed for fees and living costs, it might be the case that those loans can be paid back in a flexible way that doesn't put a massive strain on his ability to save for a home of his own/live comfortably on his wage though his 20/30s. However it might not. If we start to save now, then if we are pleasently surprised by the system when he gets to 18/19, then I'll buy a shed load of designer handbags and shoes with the money... I just have a horrible feeling I'm going to continue to tote round ugly cheap old handbags in my 50s and there's going to be a lot of young adults who will be limited in their uni choices by the size of the fund the parents have or don't have for them.

adeucalione Thu 04-Oct-12 16:38:40

ScotchandWry -

Actually you need a household income of over £62.5k before you are only entitled to the minimum loan (of £3575 pa).

Anyone with a household income of £35k would be entitled to £6216 in maintenance loans and grants.

The maximum entitlement (household income less than £25k) is £7125.

The average cost of halls of residence is £4035 whilst the average cost of a room in a student flatshare is £345pm.

Fishwife1949 Thu 04-Oct-12 16:43:05

WincyWillis but thats mad how can you know at 1 or 2 years old which is when most start saveing if they will go to uni or not

I started a savings account for my child from birth for uni but now at 13 i cann see its not going that route so it might be for wedding or car or deposit on flat(chance will be a fine thing) but there was no way for me to tell at 1 years old and if i hadnt saved and he turned out to be a savont then i would be fucked

DontmindifIdo Thu 04-Oct-12 17:03:48

Fishwife - agree - if you start when they are babies, the percentage of your monthly income you have to set aside is far less and therefore less painful to find than if you start when they are 13. I see no reason to tell DS i've got a uni fund before he's at an age to start thinking about it.

Saving early means that the wonders of compound interest work for you. I know interest rates are in the toilet right now but who knows what will happen?Uni funds (agree it's a crappy phrase) are like condoms. I'd rather have one and not need it than need one and not have it.

ICBINEG Thu 04-Oct-12 17:20:05

erm sorry perhaps I misunderstood, I thought a uni fund was intended to pay tuition fees when the time came...

if so then by all means save the money but don't actually pay the fees...coz that would be a big financial mistake....

I am not a huge fan of the word 'uni' - but I damn well wish that we had started a savings plan for the boys when they were little. I foolishly assumed that the land wouldn't be means tested, and we only found out a year ago that our dses would only get the minimum maintenance loan, so we would have to find £48K+ to cover their university maintenance. Oh, and as ds1 has just started at university, we had a year to sort this out.

The rules here in Scotland change next year, and they will get a minimum loan of £4.5K per year - this doesn't make things really any easier - it just means that there will no longer be a point where there is nothing in the account to give the dses. Oh, and ds2 has broken it to us that degrees in Scotland are mostly 4 years long - so that is an extra £4.5K we will have to find for him, and for ds3 if he goes to a Scottish university, as he is currently planning. Then a second bombshell - the course that ds2wants to do is actually 5 years long - meaning an extra £13.5K in total that we will have to find over the next 6 years.

porcamiseria Thu 04-Oct-12 17:20:52


BUT, I really want my kids to go Uni

an earn shit loads of money afterwards

Fishwife1949 Thu 04-Oct-12 17:26:45

I think most dont want there kids to be in debt and the laon only covers the course you might need to pay for housing and some cousres need alot of equipment

complexnumber Thu 04-Oct-12 17:35:05

What happened to 'invitation', quotation' and 'advertisement'? If people offer me a quote, I say, "No, I'd prefer to have a quotation." Younger people don't even know that they are short versions of the correct words. <returns to Pedants' Corner>

Do you still get on an omnibus?

amothersplaceisinthewrong Thu 04-Oct-12 17:36:52

The alternative to the "University fund" is the student working throughout university to make up the shortfall. The bottom line is that most students can't borrow the whole amount needed for living expenses at unviersity and so have to naje the shortfall somehow.

My view is that those who have to work just to eat and live are disadvantaged, so what parent would not pay if they were able to. I

I wish we could send less and fund them properly.

I agree with Don'tMind

I am doubtful that the system is going suddenly get more generous in funding students I suspect it might get less so. My oldest child in 9 and I started saving relatively small amounts several years ago. If they don't go on to higher education then it may help them to get a start in life in another way or it may go to fund DH & I being able to retire a year or two earlier.

"Omnibus - from the Greek, meaning to or for, by, with, or from everybody - which I think is very appropriate, actually" - Flanders and Swan.

Or possibly from the Latin - my memory is failing me. blush

halloweeneyqueeney Thu 04-Oct-12 17:40:50

"It's just such a first-world, middle-class phrase. I would imagine that those that have a Uni Fund will also be putting huge pressure on their children to attend Uni, which I think is unfair"

rubbish most people say the "uni fund" will go towards driving lessons/first car/first flat etc if not used for uni

its a good thing to do if you can, what's the problem OP? is it because you CAN'T at the moment (neither can I but I don't get annoyed at it, its in the long term plan) or what?

DontmindifIdo Thu 04-Oct-12 17:43:43

ICBINEG - as I said, might not be the same situation by the time DS goes, plus at £4k per year for hall fees, then needing money to actually live on for 3 years (just how little do you think you could live on?) it's a lot to find for most parents at short notice, or a lot of debt for a young person to take on. Remember, this is on top of the £9k a year debt from fees alone... (and the argument that you could live at home with parents only works for people who's parents have had the foresight to live in commuting distance of a university that will actually take you.)

SCOTCHandWRY Thu 04-Oct-12 17:47:18

adeucalione Thu 04-Oct-12 16:38:40
ScotchandWry -

*Actually you need a household income of over £62.5k before you are only entitled to the minimum loan (of £3575 pa*).

blush you are right about the £62.5k (well, £61k here in Scotland), don't know why I fixated on 35K, I think that might be where the loan starts to get reduced here (Scotland).

I am greatly vexed over the whole thing as I currently have 2 DS at Uni (on 5 year and 6year long courses!), and each can get only £940 per year (Scottish as I said up-thread). £940 each... Halls are roughly £4.5k per son.

We are giving them a bare minimum, frugal amount to live on... that still adds up to £6000per DS, per year, a scary amount especially with DS3 due to start in a couple of years... we will be funding 3 for 2 years shock

SCOTCHandWRY Thu 04-Oct-12 18:03:05

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Thu 04-Oct-12 17:20:11

Like you, we assumed the living cost loan would be available to all students, and didn't find out until we actually applied for it after DS1 had his Uni place... and I know other parents who were caught out the same way.

DS1 course is 6 years even though it's an English Uni, DS2's is 5 years (Scottish uni)... that's a long time to be paying out.

Obviously it will improve a bit next year as Scottish minimum loan increases... but still there is a big funding gap to plug.

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