Anyone discouraged kids from university in light of tuition fee rises?

(382 Posts)
Officedepot Fri 04-Jan-13 09:14:46

In light of uni fees now being £9k per year (so £27k for three year degree) plus living costs students starting uni now would be coming out with debt over £40k

Anyone actively discouraged kids from going to uni on this basis?

I can understand if they are going to a top uni to study medicine or law etc, but AIBU to suggest if they are going to a rubbish uni to do a pointless degree it should be discouraged.

I have lots of friends who did degrees at second rate unis in random subjects and are still earning a tiny amount in their early 30s.......

MerryMarigold Fri 04-Jan-13 09:20:01

I come from a family where we all have degrees, but am seriously considering not encouraging ds1 in this direction. I would never discourage him if he really wanted it but it does seem a colossal waste of money. He seems more mechanically minded and the amount plumbers or builders earn, I may encourage him a little more in that direction. It would be great to have a plumber in the family! He's only 7 mind you! But yes, I have totally rethought my attitude towards uni and agree with you.

MammaTJ Fri 04-Jan-13 09:20:45

No, not at all. I am encouraging my DD1 to work hard to get there. Even with taking in to account the replayment plan, she will still earn more in her chosen career than she could ever hope to without the degree.

The replayments are not at all unreasonable either.

HollyBerryBush Fri 04-Jan-13 09:21:47

Not come to that bridge yet - but I have made it clear that I won't be funding anything "tinpot" such as landscape gardening or golf course management! (Which wouldnt apply anyway)

Whatdoiknowanyway Fri 04-Jan-13 09:24:26

Mine are both at uni, one in final year on lower fees, one in first paying £9,000.

The youngest has been amazed at the number of people she has met who do not attend lectures, seminars etc. Many of them have the rationale that 'first year doesn't count towards the final degree' so it doesn't matter but some are on their second attempt at first year and don't even have a loan but are paying the full £9k themselves.

This is a Russell Group university with high entry criteria and mainstream courses.

She doesn't understand as she genuinely wants to learn and is loving her course. But why would anyone pay all that money and then fritter the time away?

mentallyscrewed Fri 04-Jan-13 09:25:15

No, never. They don't start repaying til they are earning over a certain limit and then the percentage they pay back is barely noticeable.

So if they never get a job that pays over that threshold then they will never be liable to pay it.

I wouldn't let it put them off doing it now, they may decide in a few years that they wished they had done it when they could.

catgirl1976geesealaying Fri 04-Jan-13 09:25:43

No, not at all (although DS is a long way off yet)

No way would that put me off

If they don't earn a decent wage the don't repay it. Simple. Those 30 year olds on small wages you speak about don't have to repay.

Uni is a great experience. I don't mind what course he does (although I'd like him to do something vocational and the secret pushy-mummy thinks medicine might be nice) but the social side etc is also of great value to me.

Whatdoiknowanyway Fri 04-Jan-13 09:27:15

Oh, also.
Fees are high yes. I went to uni when it was all fully funded and I got a full grant as well. Lucky me.
BUT, income tax lowest rate was 30%. That was for everyone whether they went to university or not.

MerryMarigold Fri 04-Jan-13 09:27:30

I know someone with a PhD in mechanical engineering. He had a very good job. He swapped jobs in his 40's and retrained. He is now a plumber, self employed and earns a lot more! He loves it.

cozietoesie Fri 04-Jan-13 09:27:45

Our extended family are generally allowing all the youngsters to decide what they want to do without hindrance - and privately acknowledging to each other on moonless nights that we all may have to help out some family members who will likely find themselves in difficulty as a result.

It's a great concern but there's no option. I would hate to see one of our youngsters stopped from doing what they want if there's any chance of the extended family being able to afford it in some way. (Individual family members might not be able to which is why I mention the rest.)

Although, like Marigold, I would dearly love to have a qualified plumber in the family!

Trills Fri 04-Jan-13 09:27:46

You only pay back this "debt" at a rate of 9% of what you earn over £21k.

Nobody will ever chase you for it. There will never be baliffs at the door.

Lifeisontheup Fri 04-Jan-13 09:29:51

I didn't get a degree(dropped out after my first term) and all through my career certain jobs have always been for graduates only. Am now doing an OU degree to enable me to progress so I would always encourage mine to go to uni.
The loan is only repayable when earning a certain amount and is written off if not paid back within 25 years. Also it doesn't count on your credit rating.

cozietoesie Fri 04-Jan-13 09:30:55

Trouble is that loans can't cover the whole costs.

catgirl1976geesealaying Fri 04-Jan-13 09:32:00

Nothing has ever covered the whole cost

So there is no change there

mentallyscrewed Fri 04-Jan-13 09:32:24,6678490&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

Sorry dont know how to link properly from my phone

SugarplumMary Fri 04-Jan-13 09:32:44

Parents in our area have been doing this for a while - can't say they are always wrong as the DC I've seen this done to have done well in their careers.

The area also has many adults who study degrees later in life as their careers started to demand degrees to progress – done with a mixture of few years out, OU or part time at nearest Universities.

malinois Fri 04-Jan-13 09:32:45

@merry: Engineering (in all it's forms) is a highly-respected academic subject, offered by all the top universities. It also leads to extremely well paying careers.

@holly: you should see what self-employed landscape gardeners make! It's a perfectly respectable agricultural college course - although it's usually a diploma not a degree. There's nothing wrong with vocational courses, and I suspect the average landscape gardener or golf course manager makes a hell of a lot more than the average Eng Lit graduate.

I would never discourage DS from going to university, however I will be giving quite, ahem, forceful guidance on A-level/IB subject choice, and degree choice.

As others have said, if it doesn't lead to a well paying job they won't pay back the fees (though if they run up credit cards and overdrafts on top of loans then those will need paying back! I was bloody careful at uni to be frugal and work in the holidays to make sure I graduated with just my loans!)

Which of course is great for people doing low paying degree-requiring jobs too, like archaeology, who under the new scheme will pay less than under the old scheme despite the higher headline fees.

If a young person is suited to academic study and will make the most of the social and academic advantages to university then the fees should be irrelevant - an investment for the future at most.

If they're not academic and/or have a strong drive towards a career which can be accessed via another route (like plumbing, architecture - which can be done on-the-job, even accountancy) then there's no point going to uni.

Chopchopbusybusy Fri 04-Jan-13 09:33:55

DD is applying at the moment. I have always made it clear to her that not all universities or degrees are equal. She's made some good choices which I'm very happy with.
I'm not happy about the whole system though. I believe many potential students will be frightened off by the fees. I also think it's unfair that my DD will only be able to apply for the minimum maintenance loan because of her parents income. It is a loan after all, not a grant. Why the assumption that we will make up the shortfall? Her sister will potentially follow so we will have two students to fund for two years.

SugarplumMary Fri 04-Jan-13 09:34:16

The word debt - seems to be enough to put many parents off in this area though its not an area big on education anyway.

I'm not sure how many look at the finer points of this type of 'debt'.

Trills Fri 04-Jan-13 09:34:56

I think there is a lot of scaremongering about "thousands of pounds of debt" (not on this thread but in general).

A friend's little sister was saying she felt worried about the amount of debt that she is getting into, before I reminded her that in her first jobs she will be better off in those early years after university than those of us who paid lower fees, because our repayments started at £15k.

Earn £15k - I pay nothing, she pays nothing
Earn £20k - I pay £450 (9% of 5k), she pays nothing
Earn £25k - I pay £900 (9% of 10k), she pays £360 (9% of 4k)
Earn £30k - I pay £1350 (9% of 15k), she pays £810 (9% of 9k)

Looking at those numbers it's clear why I haven't paid my student loan off yet...

Students with higher loans will pay for longer, and pay more in total, but they will pay less per month/year because the threshold is higher, so it will be less of a burden on them in the early post-university years when you think you are rich and then discover that your salary doesn't really go very far.

Dawndonna Fri 04-Jan-13 09:35:12

Two of mine will be going. However, I there is not one mp that went to uni who had to pay fees. I am anti fees. 30% tax; yes, we had a decent health service, a better funded education service etc. Can't have it all ways, unfortunately people can't see that paying a bit more each month enables all in the long term.

Greythorne Fri 04-Jan-13 09:36:06

If my child is academically minded, applies the self and has a desire to go to uni, I will encourage them to go, whatever the cost.

If they are undecided about their future, using uni as a stopgap, or going to uni to do a course which I consider pointless (media studies or leisure management), I will try to deter them.

Dawndonna Fri 04-Jan-13 09:38:15

9% of 30k is just under 3,000. not 1350.

mrsjay Fri 04-Jan-13 09:38:22

She doesn't understand as she genuinely wants to learn and is loving her course. But why would anyone pay all that money and then fritter the time away?

Imo they are the ones who are expected to go to uni and have the experience of university life, I live in a country with free uni fees places are like hens teeth and a few young people I know throw away free education by not going and then chucking it all in <rolls eyes>

Trills Fri 04-Jan-13 09:39:38

Dawndona - you don't pay 9% of what you earn, you pay 9% of what you earn over the threshold (just like tax).

beamme Fri 04-Jan-13 09:39:59

I wouldn't discourage but I wold make sure they had a career path in mind. At the end of the day it's their choice. I might encourage a university closer to home to keep costs down, but only if they offered a suitable course.

catgirl1976geesealaying Fri 04-Jan-13 09:40:13

But why would you deter them?

If they get a degree in Media Studies that will still give them a degree qualification

If they never do anything with it so what?

But think of the life experience going to Uni has given them.

Officedepot Fri 04-Jan-13 09:40:23

Yes but £21k not large salary especially in London. Would expect all graduates to earn over21k

Trills Fri 04-Jan-13 09:41:28

The question is not "do all graduates earn over 21k?" - it's "are you more likely to earn over 21k (and how much over) if you have that degree vs if you didn't?"

Chopchopbusybusy Fri 04-Jan-13 09:42:19

I don't understand why people don't see this as debt. It is debt that many will repay in full. DDs course is 4 years. Fees plus minimum maintenance grant will total £50k. With the degree she is taking she will earn good money and so I fully expect her to pay it back in full.

I take issue with scaremongers adding "living expenses" to student debt figures.
Whether at university or not, the same "living expenses" are incurred, I took a bar job during term time, and worked 3 jobs each holiday to fund my university course, and paid off my student loans within 10 years.
Media scaremongering has done most damage to students from lower income families, who are led to believe they need 9k a year to study. The message about grants for low income students is clearly less newsworthy.

amillionyears Fri 04-Jan-13 09:45:17

All mine have been fortunate to miss the largest fees.

But, please do take account that successive Governements can and may change the repayment rules at any time, as far as I know.

They may initially get a life experience, but they could also be getting another life experience in paying back that debt for the rest of their lives. As may any partner they are with too.

Chopchopbusybusy Fri 04-Jan-13 09:48:25

Inmysparetime, the minimum maintenance grant does not even cover the cost of halls. I will be encouraging my DD to work part time, however she will not be able to cover all her costs. She will have to take a maintenance loan and her father and I will also have to make a considerable contribution.

amillionyears Fri 04-Jan-13 09:48:28

Havent looked at grants lately.
What sums are they nowadays?

Also, if you live at home, your living expenses are not on the whole going to be the same as living away.
Some students now choose to study at a local Uni. But that option is not available to many, who want a specific course.

Muminwestlondon Fri 04-Jan-13 09:49:10

What I didn't realise until recently is that even the amount of loan my DD can get is restricted because DH and I are on relatively high earnings (though with little disposable income). I certainly have encouraged DD to think about courses in London, so that she can live at home at least for part of the time. It is a shame as I think living away from home is part of the experience. We would really struggle to fund day to day subsistence costs and I doubt she would be able to fund it herself via a part time job. Incidentally she is looking at Vet Med which is a very long course and not very well paid.

catgirl1976geesealaying Fri 04-Jan-13 09:50:43

they could also be getting another life experience in paying back that debt for the rest of their lives.

Only if they get a job paying a reasonable amount of money. And at an affordable rate.

Worth IMO

kakapo Fri 04-Jan-13 09:51:36

Good point amillionyears. I'm from NZ, and the repayment rules have changed at least 3 times with successive governments, since I started my bachelors (10 years ago).

Greythorne Fri 04-Jan-13 09:51:42


Because Media Studies is well known as a course which does not lead to good job prospects. If they want to study something abstruse and intellectual like Icelandic Literature (or similar) that is unlikely to lead to a well-paid job, so be it. But a non academic course which is renowned for not leading to a job? No way.

Trills Fri 04-Jan-13 09:52:21

I strongly feel that the loans should not be means-tested on your parents' income, and that they should be enough to pay your fees and feed/clothe/house yourself.

Muminwestlondon could you take a term time boarder, and your DD board near her University, effectively an exchange student arrangement. That way you get income to help with DDs living-out costs, and she gets to live away.

catgirl1976geesealaying Fri 04-Jan-13 09:54:58

They can get a grant of up to just over £3,300 which covers most of the cost of halls

Then a loan of up to £5,500

Factor in a part time job at say £100 per week term time and say £200 a week over the Summer holidays and they've got around £13k tax free before they touch an overdraft, credit card or parental contribution

It's doable (although with some degrees I appreciate working as well is not practical)

Lara2 Fri 04-Jan-13 09:55:53

I had along chat with DS1 (now 20) when he had to make the uni decision. He decided that with his interests (music) that going to uni wasn't worth it especially as on average a graduate only earns about 100k more over their lifetime than someone without a degree. For me that's about 4 years working and a large debt. he decided to do an apprenticeship (which sadly turned out to be a joke and not worth the paper it's written on) and is now looking for work. I asked him the other day if, in the light of the job situation, he'd consider going to uni now. He said definitely not - it would only delay the inevitable hunt for work and he knows loads of graduates who, 2-3 years on, are still working in places like KFC or waiting tables. I'm prepared to help him out if he changes his mind, but it's his choice. We're a family of people with degrees and I've struggled with this a bit - but at the end of the day, as long as he ends up supporting himself (and a future family?) and is happy with his life and choices, then that's what counts. Not if I think he 'should' have a degree for the sake of it.
I was really lucky with my degree - I graduated in 1984, fees paid, grant, travel paid to and from Poly every term, housing benefit in the summer, signing on in the summer. I don't feel guilty about this - I've paid it all back in my taxes many times over. I think that the system then meant that truly anybody could go to uni - now it's a very different story.

Twattybollocks Fri 04-Jan-13 09:56:03

I'm not at this stage yet, but I will be encouraging UNi once they are know what they actually want to do with their lives and have a clear idea of what degree will help them to get there. That may or may not be at 18!

catgirl1976geesealaying Fri 04-Jan-13 09:56:47

I agree the loans should not be means tested

And I think the media have been appalling for scare-mongering for good headlines which sadly will result in young people not going based on a panicy headline instead of a calm appraisal of all the facts

TrazzleMISTLEtoes Fri 04-Jan-13 09:57:18

Why don't people see it as debt?

I don't, because I see a debt as something that I actively have to pay back, rather than something that comes out of my salary before I actually see it. And also, because my student loan stops and starts with changes to my salary (while I was on mat leave/ going back part-time...)

It's the best value loan I would ever get and I don't understand why some people actively try to pay it off early. You would do (have done before the credit crunch, at least) better to put your money in a good savings account and make it work for you.

kakapo Fri 04-Jan-13 09:57:36

Trills, or anyone who knows, is there an age limit on the testing of your parents' income for loans?

LadyClariceCannockMonty Fri 04-Jan-13 09:57:48

Since when is landscape gardening a 'tinpot' degree? shock

And OP, what's a 'rubbish uni' and how exactly do you define 'a pointless degree'? I don't believe in elitism about which uni you went to, and I believe that whatever 'random subjects' people might want to study, the uni experience is valuable in itself in terms of both education and life.

The people you know who you don't think did worthwhile degrees may be in poorly paid jobs now for other reasons.

I agree with Trills that loans shouldn't be means-tested on parents' income (income doesn't matter if parents are unwilling to fund their children and I don't think they should be obligated to anyway).

Chopchopbusybusy Fri 04-Jan-13 09:58:50

Catgirl. My DD will be able to get a maintenance loan of £3575. No grant. We will have to make up the difference. £3575 won't even cover the cost of halls. As I said we will encourage her to work part time but I seriously doubt that she'll be able to work enough hours to make £100 per week. More like £50 (if she's lucky)

BreconBeBuggered Fri 04-Jan-13 09:59:01

You can subtract a good £4,000 from that total if the student has parents able to make contributions, catgirl. And not all students go home to cities bursting with temporary jobs.

catgirl1976geesealaying Fri 04-Jan-13 10:00:48

kakapo it's your household income

So if you live with your parents when you apply it goes ont their income

If you live with a partner it's theirs and if you live on your own it's yours

It used to be you had to prove some sort of official separation from your parents if you were 17 / 18 and claiming financial independence from them (eg being brought up in care or having lived on your own and supported yourself fincanically). I don't know if it's the same now

Comparing living at home with studying away at University is not a fair comparison, it would be fairer to compare with them moving out either way.
I don't know current grant levels, but my DB covers his rent comfortably with his grant.

Trills Fri 04-Jan-13 10:01:24

You are an independent student if you meet one
of the following conditions:
• You have care of a person under the age of 18
on the first day of the academic year for which
you are applying for support.
• You are 25 or over on the first day of the
academic year for which you are applying for
• You have been married or formed a civil
partnership before the start of the academic
year for which you are applying for support,
even if that marriage or civil partnership is not
still subsisting. Student Finance England or your
local authority will need to see your marriage
certificate or civil partnership schedule. (See
Note 1 on page 3 for the dates on which
academic years can start.)
• You have no living parents.
• You have supported yourself for at least three
years before the start of the academic year of
your course.

from here

Chopchopbusybusy Fri 04-Jan-13 10:02:49

I believe loans are means tested when the student is under 21.
In my opinion money which has to be repaid is debt. I used to have a season ticket loan which was deducted from my salary before it was paid to me. Is that not debt then? Very odd way to look at it.

pinkdelight Fri 04-Jan-13 10:04:30

I bet it won't be long until the whole uni fees/debt scandal is swept away by much more affordable, more tailored online courses anyway. I read a great article about how the higher education sector will have to go through the same seismic changes as the music industry. There will still be the Oxbridges/Yales and medical schools, but generally most courses can be done online at way less cost, and can fit around home/work life much more happily. It's given me great hope for when my two reach the age 18. Something definitely needs to happen.

catgirl1976geesealaying Fri 04-Jan-13 10:04:49

I know Brecon but it's not a new thing that parental contribution is factored in

That didn't come in with the new fees, it's been around for a while

When I went I didn't qualify for a grant, the loan was small and fees had to be paid up front

So in theory my parents had to pay up front fees and contribute to my living costs

Which is a worse situation than now in terms of parents in the "Middle" having to contribute

Trills Fri 04-Jan-13 10:06:10

It is debt but it is a special kind of debt, and thinking about it using the same thought processes that you would use for a bank loan or credit card debt is not very constructive because it does not behave in the same way as that kind of debt.

Vagaceratops Fri 04-Jan-13 10:06:24

I started a degree myself this year. I know that with it I will earn much more than I would without it.

DS1 is in yr7, and he already talks about going to university. I may try and dissuade him from a degree that he may not find employment from, like film studies for example, but I will not discourage him from University.

Lara2 Fri 04-Jan-13 10:07:33

Twatty - I went to Poly having absolutely no idea what I wanted to do. It was expected that I went and I did an English degree - nice and generic. I was on the dole for a year after I graduated, applying for jobs I didn't want with still no idea what I wanted to do! I eventually did a PGCE after volunteering in schools for a while ( my mum's suggestion - bless her - she knew me well!) and found something I love doing and still do. I suppose my long-winded point is that I went and did the generic degree because I had no idea, no clear path to get me anywhere, because I had no idea where I was going! It was something to do (unemployment was awful at the time - I went to the North East in the middle of the miners' strike) until I made some sort of decision. I think huge numbers of students go for the same reason - they quite like the course, it delays the unemployment problem, and delays the problem of making that decision about the direction of your life.

FredFredGeorge Fri 04-Jan-13 10:08:22

amillionyears A government could also introduce a graduate tax on all the existing graduates from before the time of tuition fees, were you warning of that risk before?

For me I hope DD can make an educated decision on the cost and benefits of going to university, if she can't - she shouldn't be going anyway.

Jins Fri 04-Jan-13 10:08:52

We're in the application process at the moment. I have encouraged DS to be realistic about his choices and to check the employment rates from his course but I've not discouraged him. Why would I? This could lead to the career of his dreams.

If it doesn't then we'll rethink. I don't discourage ambition

outtolunchagain Fri 04-Jan-13 10:09:09

The reason that for most people it won't be repaid is because of the interest that accrues over time and the fact that if you haven't paid off the loan (including interest)in 30 years under the current rules,it will be written off .

By the time you take into account the fact that your level of payment remains the same regardless of the balance ,then you haven't a hope of paying it off but if you go to university at 18 and start work at 21 and work solidly with no breaks then the balance will be written off when you are 51.The downside is that people in middle income professional jobs will pay an enormous amount over the original amount borrowed because the interest rate is appallingly high.

Gov estimates are that less than one third will pay off the loan

curryeater Fri 04-Jan-13 10:11:06

I am interested in the question but I don't know how to access information about material outcomes for people with degrees relative to those without.

I mean on the face of it you could think "£27k? for what?" and discourage your kids to go, but then find that without paying that money you effectively doom your kids to a call centre, or nothing. When I started work not everyone had degrees. Now all young people seem to before they get anywhere near a job. I wonder what happens to those without. Some of them presumably develop a career in other ways, with or without some other kind of formal training, but you don't hear much about it. The emphasis all seems to be on "universities" and "degrees", a catch-all name for very different institutions running very different kinds of courses with not much necessarily in common but being very expensive.

mine are not even in reception yet! so who knows what it will be like when they get near the age of deciding. I hope there will be a bit more clarity then, rather than the sense that every young person is automatically being pushed into "university" (whatever the cost) except those who have "failed" (I know it is not like that, I just mean the proliferation of "university" places, and students who would once have not been thought super-academic who take them up, makes it seem like that)

Of course the blatant marketisation of university degrees with the student as "consumer" and the "student experience" being part of the "selling process" may mean by then the whole thing is completely academically discredited. In whcih case maybe learning and study will be taking place elsewhere... like where?

whistlestopcafe Fri 04-Jan-13 10:13:08

There is a snobbery against less academic degrees from ex poly's. However nearly all my friends have degrees in Business Studies from Middlesex University/University of Hertfordshire etc and are very successful. There is less prejudice from employers than on Mumsnet.

curryeater Fri 04-Jan-13 10:15:59

I suppose what I am saying is that, being at my most doomy and cynical, it may not seem by older paradigms that degrees are worth all that money, but it may be the case that in the current situation you have to see it as a sort of "young person entering the work force" tax that has to be paid however unfair and punitive it is, or the alternative is to be excluded. this is why I would be very interested to see hard facts about what happens to people with degrees as opposed to those without - over the past 10 years and as the future unfolds - not just a table showing earnings, but their opportunities to develop areas of interest, improve skills and learnings throughout life, and have a satisfying career.

amillionyears Fri 04-Jan-13 10:16:05

FredFredGeorge. I dont understand what you are saying.
If you are asking have I talked about all this before with some sort of warning, no I dont think so.
Dont think I have ever talked about a graduate tax. Dont think I actually know what one is.

Hesterton Fri 04-Jan-13 10:17:52

One of the biggest changes since I left school (1979) is that jobs which were not degree level entry then now are. Nurse training for example - it paid £3000 then which was enough for the student nurse to live fairly frugally while you trained in a system of two weeks in the school of nursing, eight weeks on a ward. You did general medicine and surgery in your first and third years, and specialisms in your middle year. It is now a degree course which you need to fund yourself.

You could enter big financial companies from A Levels and if you were good, you had the chance of being promoted. There were openings in retail management etc for those working their way up from 'Saturday girl'. There were lots of roles such as unauthorised clerk in stockbroking which could be filled by a young person from school (usually a man I have to say) and that person was often given a chance to prove themself and take a pathway upwards through the firm if they were sharp and smart.

Now I doubt any of them would even consider you at the lowest level without a good degree as a starting point, whether or not it is directly related to the job. Does it really make for better employees? I think it is just a sign of changing culture in a rapidly changing job market.

All mine did degrees and all are working in areas where they wouldn't have had a chance to get in without the degree although only one of them has a degree the conten of which is vital for the work he does (doctor). The other two are in jobs which 30 years ago you could have entered at their level without a degree.

mrsjay Fri 04-Jan-13 10:18:39

MY dd is doing her degree at the university of the highland and islands college and she has already got her foot in the door 1 of her lecturers employs students , yet some of her 'friends' mocked her because it wasn't a proper university, whistle university snobbery baffles me

catgirl1976geesealaying Fri 04-Jan-13 10:19:25

I agree with that Hesterton

Our company wants degrees for receptionists on £15k a year confused

amillionyears Fri 04-Jan-13 10:21:13

I did an online course,
Nearly bored me rigid.
The only contact with the outside world with it was the person marking it somewhere else in Britain.
Absolutely nothing like a persons Uni experience.
Cant see many young people sticking with a degree done like that. Though I suppose nowadays, there would be unknown people on the internet to be able to give limited support.

cricketballs Fri 04-Jan-13 10:30:07

I am astonished reading the amount of posters that seem to be dictating their adult children's life choices - it is their life, their decision!

Whilst I appreciate parents giving advice to their offspring, the final decision on what courses, what uni, if to go to uni has to be down to them

Chopchopbusybusy Fri 04-Jan-13 10:32:18

Trills, you could argue that mortgages are also 'special' debts. I do agree that many may not repay the full amount or even a significant amount. Those are the people that shouldn't be going to university. We're picking up the tab for them pissing three or four years of their lives up the wall. Not fair and like most of the con dem policies - poorly thought out.

SolomanDaisy Fri 04-Jan-13 10:32:55

It's ridiculous to encourage a young person with the capability to appreciate and learn from a degree not to go to university. If you're really that concerned about the debt, help them look into degrees in other countries. It's not just about the earning potential, it's about learning and having access to a broader range of opportunities. Of course that means needing to understand the quality and benefits of the courses they're considering.

Chopchopbusybusy Fri 04-Jan-13 10:34:43

Cricketballs, whilst the government are telling me that I have to contribute a significant amount of money, I'll be offering my input into their choices.

MadonnaKebab Fri 04-Jan-13 10:40:29

It depends what the alternatives are
Where I live, school leavers can get $100k p/a jobs with free accommodation meals and bills, provided they will work hard for long hours on the mines
If such jobs are still available by the time the DCs are leaving school I won't be arguing if they want to do it for a few years (then buy a flat/house mortgage free) especially if they will do some University part time /online at the same time
If opportunities are less good then University will be pushed hard

amillionyears Fri 04-Jan-13 10:43:29

Does a young person at 18 know everything about all of this?
They need an awful lot of advice and guidance.
As do parents.

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Fri 04-Jan-13 10:43:59

I didn't go to Uni as I couldn't 'waste' my parents money (that they didn't really have) on a degree that wasn't going to lead me to a high paid job. So unlike alot of my peers I didn't go, I ended up earning more and having a better career then alot of them who chose not to pursue a career specific degree.
I think too many people went as it was the 'done' thing and actually have no benefit from going, other then a rocking few years on the piss
Obviously this is just my experience and I've friends who studied career specifics who benefitted massively (doctors, lawyers and Stock market).

outtolunchagain Fri 04-Jan-13 10:44:37

Chopchop actually if you look at the figures those who won't end up repaying the total include many of the middle level professionals including for example lawyers and accountants ( unless one of the very few who are partners in top city magic circle firms)

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Fri 04-Jan-13 10:45:01

As for my ds, if he wants to go and it's for the right reasons I'll encourage it. If its just to get out of work, I won't.

TrazzleMISTLEtoes Fri 04-Jan-13 10:48:58

Thanks trills that's what I was getting at.

chopchop yes my loan is debt in the sense that its money I owe, but it's not something I have to pay back regardless of my circumstances, is it?

ChristmasNamechangeBridezilla Fri 04-Jan-13 10:49:36

I won't be discouraging them at all. We have a family building firm both my sons are welcome to join if and when they want to so there is a backup in place if things go wrong or if they are not academically inclined into their teens but I hope they decide to go to university, for the experience as much as the qualification. We'll just have to suck it up and pay whatever it takes tbh.

curryeater Fri 04-Jan-13 10:55:27

yes Hesterton - and this is the worry, isn't it, that this whole thing is a scam that just puts money into the hands of businesses (which is what universities are now), delays young people appearing on unemployment statistics, doesn't massively enrich them in any meaningful sense BUT it is an unavoidable scam, a protection racket that has to be complied with, or you are excluded from all interesting or reasonably paid work and any future formal or informal learning opportunities.

curryeater Fri 04-Jan-13 10:58:12

Don't forget that adult education opportunities have been massively scaled back to the point of being barely existent. So if you don't jump through the hoops that make you seem eligible for training or learning (informal or otherwise) facilitated by your employer, there is not much opportunity to do it in your own time outside work. Or so I hear. Anyone who knows differently, or has examples of other ways of doing things - I would love to hear them. I mean non-degree things - I don't mean birkbeck or OU - I mean does anyone know anyone (or are you someone) who has been in a dead end job, kept the job up while learning on the side, and converted the side-learning into a career?

Hammy02 Fri 04-Jan-13 10:59:14

I'd be very surprised if the 2nd rate Uni's/colleges still exist in 10 years time. I went to one of these & wish I hadn't bothered. I used to work at a call centre technical help desk and almost everyone there had degrees but the job didn't necessitate any qualifications above GCSE's. For all those saying it is a good 'experience', I'm sure I could think of a hell of a lot better experiences for £30,000.

herethereandeverywhere Fri 04-Jan-13 11:02:44

What concerns me is the impact such a large debt has in such formative years.

I went to Uni without tuition fees and with sponsorship for my post-grad year and still started my working life with c.£20k of debt. (This included borrowing to locate to London where my sponsors had offered me the job, rental bond and deposit on flat, suits for work etc.). It took until I was 30 years old to pay off and that was earning the wage of a city solicitor. My DH and I bought our 1st place using a 95% mortgage and the deposit was his savings (he's from a wealthier family so started out with no student debt). This enabled us to live in a modest 2 bed flat when we decided to try for kids in our early 30s.

So take my example but bring it up to date with at least £40k of debt, rising house prices and much higher deposits demanded for buying a house. Add the variable of a job which may not be in the top 2% of earnings as a city solicitor was. It makes any decision about having children MUCH more difficult (and I would argue from a feminist perspective that accordingly this fees regime disproportionally adversely impacts women). At the time when you are fertile you are still paying your student debt and only able to afford rental accommodation (much more expensive per square foot than a mortgage) - do you take time off for babies and set your career further back AND raise your children in less-than-ideal circumstances OR hope you're still fertile by the time your finances are sorted? Which brings me on the the 3rd option....

...what I like to call the "Kate Middleton degree". My prediction (and a blow for feminism) is we'll be seeing lots more of these, i.e. women choosing their degree/uni based on likelihood of finding a wealthy man to spend the rest of your life with, this rendering the problems in the example above not-applicable.

So, in response to the OP, if I can't help my DDs out when the time comes, I'll certainly be discouraging any degree without clear propects and career path.

curryeater Fri 04-Jan-13 11:03:31

Hammy02, they will exist if people are effectively being forced to go to them (give them money) to enter the job market.

catgirl1976geesealaying Fri 04-Jan-13 11:07:23

I wish I'd done a K-Middy degree

I turned down my offer from St Andrews as I thought it looked dull

Am a fool grin

ImperialBlether Fri 04-Jan-13 11:08:32

I have two children at university, one studying a part time Masters and one studying a BA. I'm a single parent.

I don't know how the grant/loan system is worked out because it appears to have little bearing on actual costs. My son pays his rent by the term, so he will pay on Monday until his next grant/loan appears in April, I think. He will be left with £300 for that period of four months and that will have to include all of his bills. Luckily he doesn't have to get a bus to university. He can't do this without working part time but I know some students do struggle to get part time work and for some, it's impossible to do, eg if you're studying Medicine.

My daughter works with someone who's training to be a Vet. She is not allowed to work for more than 10 hours per week. She is permanently hungry. When I was at university in the 80s she would not have been hungry and none of us worked during term time.

Having so many students work part time will inevitably have a knock on effect on the number of jobs available for people who aren't students.

curryeater Fri 04-Jan-13 11:08:40

herethereandeverywhere - yes, exactly. I think this whole situation, resonating with the constant older-fertility-panic constantly being whipped up by DM type media, is a direct attack on women's independence, as they feel they have no choice other than to partner up with someone much more financially secure (whether just from a wealthy background, or just 10 years older with a property and a good job) and this puts them at terrible risk of abuse within that partnership, as it was 60 years ago (and for time immemorial) when women had no access to money or security except through marriage and therefore marriage was essentially a tool to distribute women to men to do what they liked with.

feelathome Fri 04-Jan-13 11:09:44

can anyone answer this for me? If you leave uni with say £40k of debt, find a partner and want to buy a house, will any bank lend you a mortgage if you already have £80k of debt between you?

JenaiMorris Fri 04-Jan-13 11:11:14

curry I used my degree to make up for having only three GCSEs, which I studied for PT having left school at 15. I went on to do an Access course. It is now not possible to study for GCSEs at my local college and Access courses have been cut back hugely.

OU isn't for everyone - it's not just about self-discipline it's the lack of human contact. I don't think I'd have done any where near as weell had that been the only option.

ImperialBlether Fri 04-Jan-13 11:12:47

Herethereandeverywhere, I find that a really sexist comment about Kate Middleton degrees. St Andrews is a good university. She would not have got in without good A levels.

Many, many graduates met their partners at university. It's obvious, really, isn't it, that that will happen? This doesn't mean the woman goes there intending to never work again. It means that like-minded people are likely to meet and eventually marry.

It's more likely that a member of the Royal Family would get in on very low grades (ie Prince Charles) than anyone else. I remember Princess Anne with her two grade Es "deciding not to go to Oxford." Clearly she would have been able to go had she wanted to.

JenaiMorris Fri 04-Jan-13 11:13:29

Basically, there is No Way I will discourage ds from applying to university if he finds a course that engages him. I loved my time at university.

AlanMoore Fri 04-Jan-13 11:14:05

We won't discourage our kids from going, however we might not be able to afford for them to go sad if we had an 18yo now, the gap between the loan and the fees is too big for us to cover.

They'll have to live at home (fortunately there are a few unversities within travelling distance) and I hope they'll both get decent part time jobs in sixth form that will carry on into uni or we'll all be eating cold beans out of a tin by the glow of a candle. My friend's GD really struggled to get a job in her university town, as the traditional 'student' part-time work is being fought over by experienced mature types and recent graduates.

I would have suggested a job and OU degree perhaps, if they were motivated and good at time management, but the OU have had to put their fees up so high now that probably won't be any easier for us (I'm doing OU degree just now and it is affordable, but sadly one of my children was two and the other four months at the deadline for transitional fees!).

The world in general is pretty cold in economic terms now. I think it's come as a huge shock as most of us will have baby boomer parents who benefited from practically full employment in the 1960s/student grants, grammar schools etc., bought their own houses, all that caper.

feel - as I understand it, yes. They don't calculate it like normal debt - they just look at how much comes out of your bank per month.

Trills Fri 04-Jan-13 11:20:41

I agree that is a very unpleasant comment about Kate Middleton.

Trills Fri 04-Jan-13 11:22:43

As I understand it when looking at whether to give you a mortgage lenders simply look at how much income you have after student loan etc is taken out.

Which is probably still more than if you had not gone to university.

That's the point.

If you think that you will have a greater income after the loan repayments are taken out then you should go to university.

If you think you will have less money, don't.

(Ignoring all the other potential benefits of university)

Hammy02 Fri 04-Jan-13 11:30:34

The problem is that lots of jobs require degrees that didn't in the past. Nursing, teaching etc. Do we really think standards in these fields have improved since a degree was required? I don't. It is all a big con.

PolkadotCircus Fri 04-Jan-13 11:30:55

I'm more worried about living expenses.

I have 3 dc the same age and we earn over the threshold for them to get maximum loans.We have friends already struggling to help their dc live. Degrees will get harder and hopefully longer hours(if they're to get value for their fees).

I want my dc to be able to put in the same hours of study and thus be able to get as high a degree as those being given the max loans and the richer kids.

It seems to me the squeezed middle kids are yet again penalised not just by getting into a decent uni with zero gov help or a private education but by getting the max out of it and less of a chance of getting a first if they're going to have to work to stay there.We have several friends in higher education who are saying if they don't get a first or 2:1 they might as well not bother going at all.No pressure then!!!!

3 kids- I have no idea how we'll help x3,tbh.

tyunmite Fri 04-Jan-13 11:32:01

If they've got the academic talent, then only a fool wouldn't go to university. The income differential between a graduate and on-graduate over the course of a lifetime is over £100,000 whereas the tuition fees have increased from roughly 10,000 to about 27,000. If you don't get a well paying job then you probably won't have to pay off the whole amount anyway. There is an awful lot of scaremongering by people but the new fees system is far from the monster some people try and describe it as.

Hesterton Fri 04-Jan-13 11:32:51

Another one here very uncomfortable about the Kate Middleton degree comment. Same uni as the men but she must have been there to find a man... ho hum.

cinnamonnut Fri 04-Jan-13 11:34:56

I agree, stupid comment.

AmberSocks Fri 04-Jan-13 11:36:29

I wouldnt encourage university unless it was a career which they absolutley must have degrees for,like a doctor or something.Otherwise i dont see the point,i know learning is fun and enriching and all of that,but i dont see why people cant do that outside of university,for example if one of my children really wanted to do art i would encourage them work on their own art instead and actually focus on being an artist (or doing something artistic) instead of just doing an art degree (then realising its useless so just becoming an art teacher which is what everyone i know who has done an art degree has done!)

Hesterton Fri 04-Jan-13 11:40:16

It's still tied up a bit to an outdated class idea though isn't it. It feels like there was a golden age in the fifties/sixties when bright young people (again mainly men) from what would have been considered traditional working class homes were given the opportunity through grammar schools to go to university and have the pick of jobs which were previously only available to their middle class/upper class peers. It's reflected in the writings of the time, the angry young man plays and novels. But I suspect that even then the reality was that very little equality was actually on the agenda and the majority of graduates still came from families where the parents - or at least the father - was similarly educated to graduate level or above.

What worried me is that no real change has been effected (affected? Someone correct me!) - we are still at a stage where it is much harder to obtain a very good degree from a very good university if you haven't had the leg-up of reasonably informed and encouraging parents, money and in many cases, a private education.

Hesterton Fri 04-Jan-13 11:42:36

So if traditionally, 10% were university educated and now 40% are... what has that changed in terms of life expectations, wealth, health, social mobility etc for anyone?

Alligatorpie Fri 04-Jan-13 11:42:46

I have every expectation that my dd's will go to university ( or do some skills based training, depending on their interests and academic ability) They are 6 and 6 months now and we save monthly in an education fund for them.

I come from a family of people with degrees, dh is the only person in his family to have one (two)

My pil have said their gc, my dn (22) will never be able to go, because of the cost now. I have tried to talk to them, but they don't see education as an investment and its not my problem to tackle. I think it's sad though.

Crinkle77 Fri 04-Jan-13 11:43:00

When I went to uni it was free and you still got grants. I did my degree in politics and sociology and it didn't really get me anywhere but as we weren't paying you took it for granted and didn't really think about it. I agree with OP that unless you are doing something like nursing, teaching, law where you need a degree to enter a profession then I would not bother. I would say that many of my friends who didn't go to uni but got jobs instead are doing better as they were gaining experience in the workplace. When I left uni I found that I had all these great qualifications but no experience and found it difficult to get a job. I couldn't even start at the bottom and work my way up because many employers did not want to know thinking that i would just leave in a few months

Yorkpud Fri 04-Jan-13 11:44:47

Depends on the child I think. I would only encourage them to go if they have a set career path that uni would be beneficial to. I think a lot of unis will end up closing as a result of the increased fees.

JenaiMorris Fri 04-Jan-13 11:47:10

I might suggest to ds that he goes to St Andrews in order to find a wealthy suitable wife. I've been teaching him to cook - he makes a very good carbonara for example, which is an excellent and appealing alternative to a post-pub kebab. What other qualities will he need (other than cash), bearing in mind he's not particularly sporty so won't be a rugger bugger?

JenaiMorris Fri 04-Jan-13 11:53:25

I don't give a stuff whether university gets you a better job tbh, or even if it makes you better at your job (it does, but that's only imo).

Worst case scenario, university is fun and a jolly good use of three/four years of your youth, before you have to knuckle down and deal with boring, boring jobs for the rest of your life.

Best case, it is fun and a jolly good use of three/four years of your youth, before you go and make a living doing something you love.

People who focus solely on the career aspect know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

TrazzleMISTLEtoes Fri 04-Jan-13 11:56:12

Crinkle you don't need a degree to be a lawyer. (Though it is much faster if you do).

Hopeandbluebells Fri 04-Jan-13 11:58:34

I have a degree from a lower tier university related to what I do now, but the degree isn't actually needed to do the job IYSWIM. Everyone has o start at the bottom regardless of whether they have a degree or not and you work your way up. That said, I am still glad I did my degree, even though I'm aware it looks like a waste of time on paper- I think the grounding a degree gives you is an advantage going out into the world of work if its in a related subject, regardless of whether it's actually specified or not.

Snorbs Fri 04-Jan-13 11:59:24

So far I've been giving my DCs the impression that most people go to university and that they might as well assume that they will too. In reality and given it's a few years off before we have to start considering it for my eldest, I really don't know what the situation will be. I'd like them to go but I'm not going to force them.

I work at a university and they currently offer a 50% discount on fee costs for children of staff members. Whether my DCs will want to go there is another matter and I'm not convinced my DS has a clue what he wants to do. And what the fees structure, grant/loan criteria and admission criteria will be in 2017 is another thing entirely.

Hesterton Fri 04-Jan-13 12:02:32

It might be fun and jolly good but it leaves young people from less wealthy backgrounds with huge lifetime debts. It has to be valid. If you want fun, why not pick grapes in France/oz for a couple of years?

Not many people can afford not to focus on career/value for money as part of planning their education.

Jamillalliamilli Fri 04-Jan-13 12:02:53

Snorbs is that standard as far as you know, and does staff mean any kind of worker, or only degree educated type positions, please?

herethereandeverywhere Fri 04-Jan-13 12:05:39

ImperialBlether I think you misunderstood my post (or indeed I made my point badly!)

I'm not disputing the credentials of the University or the validity of the application process - I'm talking about the reason behind choosing a particular establishment/course (assuming you have the required grades to grant you that choice). There have been well documented "rumours" that St Andrews was chosen as Kate and her mother fancied a pop at becoming royalty - I have no idea whether it's true or not but if you look at how Pippa's tried to cash in on the royal connections recently it's not inconceiveable.

My fear is some women will not be choosing to educate themselves and grant themselves financial independence, they will choose the seek out a partner to "protect" them from the financial risks of doing a degree and having a family during your fertile years. Look how Kate was applauded on her wedding day for turning round her "humble beginnings" - choosing to marry a rich man is still a valid option in our society. Prioritising finding a financially secure partner over an independent career could be easily argued as the sensible option under the current fee regime. And the choice of marrying into money is similar for men but not the same as having children does not adversely impact career progression for men in the same way as it does for women.

TBH I wish someone had been open and honest with me about the clash between career opportunities and fertility - throwing £40k debt and inability to buy my own home into the equation may well have swayed my decision on what/where and whether to study.

Re:application for mortgage, the student loan repayment will be treated as any other financial outgoing so yes, it will be taken into account just like utility bills etc.

buttercrumble Fri 04-Jan-13 12:07:18

No not at all we have twins going to uni in september, and we are stoney broke .But we will work our butts off and live on jam and bread, if it means they have better opportunities than we had....

MrsHoarder Fri 04-Jan-13 12:08:49

Jenai, how is he at golf?

On a serious note, the current first years will be better off than I am in terms of repayments, hardly anyone pays off their loan at the moment so it doesn't matter how high it is, it is paid off as a % of income over £20k (currently £15k) and written off after a certain amount of time.

We will save to help DS start his career and his own home though, however he chooses to do it. But in the very unlikely event that the system hasn't changed by the time he gets there we would give it to him as a house deposit because that will help far more than reducing his loan a bit.

cuillereasoupe Fri 04-Jan-13 12:13:08

The smart thing to do is make sure your kids learn a foreign language, then pack them off to study abroad. Degrees are still basically free / very cheap in much of Europe, and you broaden your horizons at the same time.

JenaiMorris Fri 04-Jan-13 12:13:30

Hesterton, because the fun isn't just about going out and getting drunk or watching daytime TV or any other of the cliches; it's about be able to study something you love (even if some of the lectures are a bit dull) surrounded by others with a shared interest.

MrsH - I'll work on the golf wink

CharlotteBronteSaurus Fri 04-Jan-13 12:14:28

TBH i would still prefer if the DDs went, but I wouldn't encourage them to do what I did, which was go at 18, and do a philosophy degree for the fun of it, without a thought for what it would lead to.

i would be happier for them to work for a couple of years, have a good think about what they enjoyed and were good at work-wise, and then do a degree with this in mind at 22 or something. it's not so much the fees as the three or four years spent out of the job market while others get valuable work experience. I know a large number of people who started degrees between 22 and 30 (including a surprisingly large number of doctors). the delay doesn't seem to have held them back, and their focus and experience has been beneficial.

However, as i will not be in a position to help with fees the decision will ultimately be theirs

FredFredGeorge Fri 04-Jan-13 12:18:40

JenaiMorris I think the assumption that you have to "knuckle down and deal with boring, boring jobs for the rest of your life" is very sad. Yes university is fun - but tbh I had more fun the years I spent 6-9months working 3-6 months off, I had significantly more money, I got to spend my time in a much wider range of places with a wider range of people than the university time.

I'm also very happy in my job (which I didn't need to go to university for, indeed the course which was in a related subject was actually enough to prevent me entering the career for 2 years post university while I regained an interest in it) so now I've stopped the Contract/Fun cycle I still really enjoy it - as well as enjoying the family life.

The solution to a boring job is not to spend a few years at university creating memories to get you through it - it's finding something you enjoy enough that it's not boring!

Hesterton Fri 04-Jan-13 12:22:09

I agree with you Charlotte. There is a lot to be said for taking a few years out of education before making the decision to do a degree. This worked well for me and it also worked well for my daughter. Harder financially in some ways though because you may have other responsibilities by then.

When it has been a few years since school and you have grafted in the workplace for a bit, the learning part feels like so much more of an exciting opportunity. You certainly appreciate it and in both of our cases, we knew where we wanted it to take us.

AmberSocks Fri 04-Jan-13 12:24:10

education isnt only available in an institution,just because you dont go to uni doesnt mean you cant be educated.

also,mostof the people who work for dh went to uni doing various things,and couldnt get a job at the end of it so now they are scanning books for £6 an hour,a degree doesnt guarantee you a job anymore.

personallyi hope my kids are like their dad and have enugh motivation,determination and entrepreneurial spirit to start their own businesses,you can either make your own dreams come true,or someone will pay you to make theirs.

BackforGood Fri 04-Jan-13 12:24:32

I agree with a poster back on about P3, who said, the difficulty is, jobs that relatively intelligent, capable 18 yr olds could get, and then make good progress with back some 30 yrs ago, don't seem to exist anymore. That is as big an issue for us as the fees. We've been trying to look for any kind of options for my ds - who is intelligent, but not especially interested in academic life / actually studying (I don't think this is at all atypical for teenage boys, tbh, at the risk of you all calling me sexist). He's doing A-levels, but not 100% convinced he wants to go to university and {his words} "start life with a load of debt". The only other route seems to be engineering type apprenticeships, which isn't something he's at all interested in. There don't seem to be the jobs in banking, insurance, sales, retail, etc.,etc until you have a degree.

PS - I went to a talk for parents offered by my local University, to 'bust' some of the myths about finance, and they said, much to the distress of the Daily Mail wink their Golf Management Degree had 100% employment record for people going into graduate jobs..... but I digress!

Hesterton Fri 04-Jan-13 12:28:47

BackforGood, could he have a couple of years working in an area he is interested in at any level until he knows better what he wants? He is far more likely to make a success of a university course if he can see the value of it.

Mum2Luke Fri 04-Jan-13 12:30:45

I am glad my 19 year old has chosen a totally different career and is not going to Uni like her brother did. She is training to be a chef on an apprenticeship wage of £2.60 per hour at a hotel in Manchester. Not a piece of cake (sorry about the pun) by any means but she loves it so far even if the shifts are rubbish.

She will be able to do NVQs soon and hopes to be taken on by the hotel full-time soon.

Her brother (22) gained a 2:2 History degree and now works at the factory where is Dad is in management but not in same department.

herethereandeverywhere Fri 04-Jan-13 12:32:23

The social aspect of university was vital for me. Had I been working to earn money every spare minute I was not studying I would not have developed the social skills needed to "make it" in my profession (I'm 1st generation university, educated in a council estate comp, I have no friends from those years and lots from university - although none from my course (law)).

I don't mean going out, getting smashed and creating memories of that sort of merriment. I mean having the time to meet up with people, join some of the social societies at university, establish some hobbies and make new friends through all of that. That's what made me "me" and studying at home or working whenever I wasn't studying would have radically diminished those opportunuties and, as a result, my employment prospects (I say that as someone partly responsible for recruiting trainee solicitors at my previous firm).

Snorbs Fri 04-Jan-13 12:34:26

JustGettingOnWithIt, I don't know if it's a standard thing across all universities. I doubt it to be honest but I'd imagine most universities have at least some kind of assistance for children of staff members. Before the increase in fees it was a 100% discount.

In the university I work at and as far as I am aware all staff who have been directly employed by the university for at least a year are eligible. You don't have to be teaching staff (I'm not) but sub-contracted staff like the cleaners and security guards don't qualify.

BackforGood Fri 04-Jan-13 12:44:15

Thanks Hesterton I think that's exactly the route he will go down. We're going to encourage him to spend a couple of years working in Outdoor Ed or sailing or something he's loved (and got loads of experience with), until he chooses what he's going to do more long term.

Jamillalliamilli Fri 04-Jan-13 12:46:06

Thanks Snorbs, very interesting. Hope the desperation doesn't smell too much!

Jamillalliamilli Fri 04-Jan-13 12:51:41

Bright but SEN d/s who wants to study engineering, but will have to do it from home which limits.
Encouraging him, but only if he can get into a reasonable (engineering wise) uni with reasonable grades.

We’re getting told again and again that his chances of getting initial employment in the industry are lowered from some uni’s, and that if you don’t get your foot in the door quickly post degree you will struggle as they move onto the next batch of recent graduates and it’s very hard to gain employment if you’re ‘out of date’ by a year.

He will take a little bit longer than most to reach adult independence but should get there in the end and should be employable, (he’s extremely bright but at a price) but won’t know if he’s cut out for it without him actually doing it.

We’ve done the maths very carefully and as a very low income family, using all likely grants and assuming him to be unlikely to be capable of working alongside studying, (likely) his total debt at today’s interests rates, living very frugally, by the time he graduates; appears to be either £46,000 according to directgov, or £50,000 according to uniguide.

On a starting salary of £25,000 and normal career advancement he would repay £154,030, over 30 years and will still owe over £25,000 at 51 according to direct gov, so that £100,000 a lifetime better off is gone straight away.

It’s beyond terrifying to be encouraging him towards such a massive debt regardless of all this ‘write of’ palaver, as we don’t believe for a minute the governments of the future wont find some way of punishing further those they reckon have been advantaged, but his ability to live on his wits like the rest of his family is poor, so…

Southeastdweller Fri 04-Jan-13 12:53:14

I don't have kids yet but if/when I do and they're old enough I would sit down with them and go through the employment stats as well as pointing out some things that most people - usually the ones who haven't been to university - don't realise, that is that regarding getting onto your career path and going upwards also can depend on the connections you make at uni as well as doing as much relevant work experience as you can.

As someone who went to a 'second rate' university I'd like to say that I'm proud of going to where I did (a former poly up north). Just because some places aren't Russell Group doesn't mean they're not worthwhile. We can't all go to U.C.L! I graduated with 5K debt but would happily have spent many times that amount, primarily for the reasons that herethereandeverywhere gave. A degree is about more than having a nice career. Some things are priceless.

VerlaineChasedRimbauds Fri 04-Jan-13 12:59:50

I agree with everything Hesterton has said on this thread.

BackforGood something your ds might like to consider is getting some good office skills and looking for temping work. My dd didn't finish her degree (it was a difficult choice, but the right one for her after much soul searching). She certainly found that loads of jobs needed degrees but was taken on by a company as a temp and then invited to apply for a permanent job. My feeling (though I don't know for certain) is that she a) would never have applied for the job in the first place because it wouldn't have looked all that appealing on paper - and was in an area she knew nothing about and b) they wouldn't normaly have considered her as a candidate without a degree had they not seen what she could do first. It's a way of testing the water and can be quite well paid.

My ds has a degree - from a drama school. No-one who employs him is remotely interested in the fact that it is a degree - though they are interested in where he trained. He's doing very well, compared to many, but he's probably not going to be paying back his loan any time soon...

I have a degree but have scarcely used it in my career to be honest. I'm not sorry I have it - but I do think it's very different now. I think the fact that degrees are now asked for where they are not needed (because the nature of the job does not need the same skills as studying at University) is a scam - and a worrying one. Capable people without degrees (as described so eloquently in an earlier post by Hesterton) are at a much greater disadvantage than they used to be.

There are plenty of so-called "vocational" courses that turn out a lot of students who are not going to get work within that "vocation". Mind you, drama school is one of them grin.

JenaiMorris Fri 04-Jan-13 13:09:47

FredFred that's just the worst case scenario though. Best case, you get a job you love.

When it has been a few years since school and you have grafted in the workplace for a bit, the learning part feels like so much more of an exciting opportunity. Hesterton I couldn't agree more - it's what I did and I would encourage ds to do the same, particularly if there wasn't a course he was chomping at the bit to do straight from school.

Mum2 I worked in catering for donkeys years and although it's hard, hard graft it can be great fun and very satisfying. I know several chefs who have gone to university later in life too; the option is still there for her if she discovers an aptitude and a passion for something else (plus she'll be able to earn decent money working PT throughout her studies).

JenaiMorris Fri 04-Jan-13 13:11:39

Southeast yy re connections. I agree that some things are pricelss, too (another former-poly gradutate grin )

Proudnscaryvirginmary Fri 04-Jan-13 13:11:56

Very interesting thread.

I'd never actively encourage either of my two to go to university because I think there are some pretty useless courses out there - and three years for most subjects is TOO BLOODY LONG. I'd encourage them to look into all sorts of other training/courses and ways into their chosen careers or areas of interest.

If they do want to go to university (they are both very academic - like all Mumsnetter's children wink) I'll advice them to choose vocational courses or at least have a rough idea of what they wanted to do and choose the course and uni wisely.

I did an English degree, but honestly spend 80% of my time down the pub AND got a 2:1!


Even though I don't value my degree or the university experience in itself very much - crucially it enabled me to do a vocational post grad degree years later and train in a prosperous and enormously satisfying career that I still love.

So kind of on the fence...

Nope ds2 wants UNi had marked which ones and a levels picked for course he wants he started planning before picked gcse

But he looked and said he rather have nearer UNi so can live at home and reduce costs so is being realstic about it

Aware we are fortunate to live near several UNis

FredFredGeorge Fri 04-Jan-13 13:15:59

Do people really think "employment stats" are that relevant to degree level jobs - if you don't enjoy your job, you're not very employable, because the employers soon recognise it. You shouldn't pick a career based on what other people do - it should be what you enjoy, certainly there are some careers with very low employability and it doesn't make much sense to invest in those, but neither does it make sense to pick one with a high chance of employment despite not enjoying it.

BoffinMum Fri 04-Jan-13 13:38:41

I'm more worried about the massification of HE. It seems to me that many students sit in large groups and receive a bland diet of pre-approved lectures that don't offend anyone, and there is more emphasis on lecturers marking essays in a timely manner than encouraging brilliance. Student feedback leads the educational provision, but a lot of the time students are only asked about superficial aspects of learning and not about the deeper processes.

Meanwhile universities try every trick in the book to keep students spending money in campus coffee shops, on fancy en suite accommodation, etc. That's not what I want for my kids. I'd like my kids to get an education and learn to be stroppy, not to become consumers or educational drones.

MrsHoarder Fri 04-Jan-13 13:43:09

But employment stats are important when deciding whether or not the investment of going to university is worthwhile. Yes you should do something you enjoy, but its also important to check that doing that degree will lead to the career you hope it will.

If only 1 in 20 of the people starting a course get graduate-level employment at the end then that tells you something important about how valuable that course is likely to be to your future career. It is possible to then decide that you are willing to take the risk or can afford to do it for fun, but if not then look elsewhere. Sometimes minor differences in courses (like working with local employers, sandwich years) can make a big difference to long-term prospects.

BackforGood Fri 04-Jan-13 13:43:35

Thanks verlaine - we'll look into it. smile
I agree with the "massification" point BoffinMum - it's ridiculous the numbers of students lecturers are expected to lecture at any one time in some institutions... I've even come across the lecture being video linked into a 2nd lecture theatre. what hope has a student got of asking a question / clarifying something ? confused

higgle Fri 04-Jan-13 13:55:51

Right, I will be arranging a meeting with DS2s friends' parents and we will pair them off into civil partnerships.

Hesterton Fri 04-Jan-13 14:14:04

Interesting ideas being developed on this thread.

My daughter also temped after gaining some secretarial skills post A levels and watched the graduate trainees doing the job she realised she'd love in the media company where she had become a PA. Her managers told her she would be great on the graduate scheme but they couldn't put her there without a degree. So she went to uni at 20, knowing what she wanted at the end, got a 2:1 at a minor uni and then used temp contacts to go back into a similar but more in her line- media firm back in an admin role. She worked her socks off in admin there, doing 2 people's jobs at one point without complaining about the tiny salary they paid her and was recognised and rewarded by being moved into the graduate side.

She wouldn't have had a sniff of a placement without a Russell Group degree if she'd tried to get in the conventional way, straight from school -> uni -> placement. They can afford to be incredibly picky about getting only those with the very best degrees from the very best universities.

She's now having a glamorous (if not-very-well-paid-yet) career which is where she wants to be, in a young, dynamic industry in the middle of London.

I think many young poeple have to live on their wits before and after their degrees, be prepared to work extremely hard in the more routine jobs. You can't afford to think something is below you - that's one of the problems with paying so much for a degree, it can make people feel they have earned a big step over the ground level workers into the professional job they want (which used to be the case to some extent). So many other things count, like building business networks and contacts, persistence, adaptability and experience within the industry you are interested in. Most degrees in themselves are a passport to nothing.

BoffinMum Fri 04-Jan-13 14:24:42

Typical university promotional film giving an image of what you pay your £9k a year for.


Spoof version.


niceguy2 Fri 04-Jan-13 14:27:31

People are looking at this all wrong and partly it is the government's fault for not calling it what it really is.

The current system isn't really a loan anymore. It's more akin to a graduate tax.

It saddens me to see people put off by the notion that they will be leaving with '£40k of debt'

The reality is that under the new system you pay less back per month than the system it replaces. Yes the overall 'debt' is higher but this gets written off after 30 years regardless of what you have repaid.

So if you graduate and earn £21k, you take home £1400 per month and have to repay £39. And it goes up as you earn. So one day if you are lucky enough to earn £50k you repay £256 per month....a lot yes but then you are also taking home £3k per month. Less than 10% of your take home pay.

Of course if you compare it to the good old days where you got a full grant and no fees then this system sucks. But those days have long gone and will never return no matter which government is in power. So we need to just accept that as fact and move on.

My daughter will be going to uni in a couple of years. The way I see it is that there are no guarantees that a degree will guarantee her a good job. But statistically she will earn significantly more over her working life with a degree than without. So as a parent my job is to maximise her chances and this is one of the ways.

Would I prefer my child to compete in the world with a degree or without? The answer is 'with'.

dottyaboutstripes Fri 04-Jan-13 14:36:27

My dd is in her first year of a teaching degree. I don't suppose she will end up earning shed loads somehow! It seems to me the problem is not so much the fees and paying them back in the future, but the daily cost of living, accommodation etc

BoffinMum Fri 04-Jan-13 14:37:17

Statistically speaking, higher achieving graduates who work full time in graduate level jobs from the off will command a premium in wage terms.

However for some graduates there is no premium at all, and in some cases, once you have taken 3-4 years of loss of earnings into account, they may do less well than if they hadn't gone to university.

This group includes people who end up working part time out of choice or necessity, people who take maternity leave, people who have career breaks, people who study for arts degrees, and people who live in certain parts of the country, or who attend post-92 institutions.

Therefore there isn't an automatic link between paying to go to university and enhanced earning power. This fallacy is based on misquoted research.

Xenia Fri 04-Jan-13 14:38:51

I hope all ours go. Three have graduated so far. We had a bit of these issues as there were some fees for them but not the £9k deferred there now is and I simply chose to pay the fees and support them so they were in the same position I was on graduation. My parents in their day also paid (there were no grants if your family income was middle not low in my day). Given how the state often changes rules on all kinds of things it would be surprising if state finances get even worse they suddenly decide to lower the £25k when you pay it back or 30 year period to £15k and 50 years or take husband's or wife's income or your capital into account.

SO if you know you will always earn very little or you just want to marry young and never work again even then you may risk a change in loan rules which means you have to pay it back. If we take one of my offspring on say £65k mid 20s I think it best to be loan free. That of course might require your mother to pick well paid work and not be a housewife so it will be a lifestyle issue/choice for some women - stay home an saddle my child with debt and present and image that women serve men and clean or go to work and ensure my children can graduate debt free.

(hereand, on the feminism point there is the option many women take which is very short maternity leave and back to full time work, no career impact at all - it works really well for many of us, particularly those who do not marry sexist men and in a sense is the pure option as it keeps yo on a level pegging with men)

ClaraOswinOswald Fri 04-Jan-13 14:41:13

I've already spoken to my 2 about the option of attending a local university and living at home. We are lucky as we are in commuter distance to Bristol, Bath, Cardiff, etc. and several local colleges are affiliated with these universities.

They are aware that if they live here, we can help them out financially, but if they go away to uni, we can only contribute towards rent and food.

They are both doing very well at school and I want them to have as many options as possible but we need to be realistic about the cost of a degree.

amillionyears Fri 04-Jan-13 14:45:04

Xenia, potential illness also need to be taken into account. Of the young perosn, or of the people financially supporting the young person. Doesnt happen that often, but it does happen sometimes.
No ones future continous income stream is guaranteed.

Jamillalliamilli Fri 04-Jan-13 14:48:56

Niceguy you might want to do the maths on the 'will earn more with than without'.
We have, and while it's far from the only reason for wanting him to go, the reality is in an average career in his industry, set against an average career in the same industry without a degree, he can expect to earn significantly less because of the amount of interest paid.

I don't know enough to know if you can compare which candidate is going to get better opportunities, the one with the degree, or the one with the practical training background?

BackforGood Fri 04-Jan-13 14:51:39

I think the point is Xenia - your 'average' graduate is not on £65K in their mid twenties nor at any stage in their lifetime.
There are a whole heap of very worthwhile jobs now, for which you need a degree, that will never take the person into the higher tax bracket - think teachers and nurses to start with, but I suspect those sorts of careers are in the majority, not the one your dc seems to have. I'm delighted for you that you have done so well in life, but it seems to give you a narrower view of what is 'usual' than most.

carpetsw33per Fri 04-Jan-13 14:52:46

I didn't find uni 'fun' - I got massively depressed and nearly had a breakdown. Half of my friends were necking Prozac. :-/

I'm now 40, divorced, working in the charity sector, no pension and in rental accommodation. Divorce and ten years raising children has shafted me financially.

I'm not encouraging my children to go to uni. sad

JanuaryJunes Fri 04-Jan-13 14:58:15

I'm waiting to see what mine are like and what they want to be.

I'll be happy if they get a trade, train within employment, work for themselves or go to uni, as long as they are useful to society and happy I will pleased.

ophelia275 Fri 04-Jan-13 15:07:24

I don't think my kids will be able to afford to go to university but tbh, I am not that bothered. My dh didn't go to uni and he has been working in his field since he left school. Also, I don't really get the point of doing a degree if you have £40k of debt as unless you get a job earning something like £100k per year, it is never going to be worthwhile and you will have more debt than you ever earn. I think it is a bit overrated and a lot of universities (especially ex-polys) are going to close down because nobody will see the benefit in paying £27k to have a career in some vague, non-subject that won't get them a job, let alone a job paying enough to pay off the collosal debt.

HappyMummyOfOne Fri 04-Jan-13 15:16:51

I'll be leaving the choice up to DS. We have a savings account for him that will help him if he decides too.

I wouldnt be happy though if he chose a fun degree, i would prefer him to have one that will actually be useful in a good work area.

Fees should be high as its not compulsory education and if it were free of cheaper everybody would go and degrees would mean nothing. I disagree with wiping the debt or threasholds though as far too many never use the degree and dont pay for the privildge. Perhaps they could lower the fees a little and then insist on repayments regardless of the persons salary or job status.

Greythorne Fri 04-Jan-13 15:18:27

Xenia - do you ever post on any topic where you can't (a) boast about your own income (b) brag about how you've made such great choices such as returning to work without maternity leave and (c) bang the drum for women getting high paid jobs as the bee all and end all?
Just curious because your posts are incredibly boring samey, no matter what the topic is.

Lifeisontheup Fri 04-Jan-13 15:19:39

That's the point though ophelia if you don't earn enough you don't pay off the debt and in the end it's written off.
If I'd done a degree at 18 with the loans now in place I would only have started paying a tiny amount this year as it's the first year I've earned enough.

mrsjay Fri 04-Jan-13 15:20:45

i swear xenia is katie thingy whATS HER NAME anytime i see her post about how great they are,

Dawndonna Fri 04-Jan-13 15:24:00

That of course might require your mother to pick well paid work and not be a housewife so it will be a lifestyle issue/choice for some women - stay home an saddle my child with debt and present and image that women serve men and clean or go to work and ensure my children can graduate debt free.

You just get more and more rude don't you. Your way is not always the right way and as I've said before, bet I've got more friends than you. Bet my kids like me more than yours do, too, even though they'll be saddled with some debt. Mine have been brought up to think that there isn't anyone to bail them out. What are yours going to do when the bank of Mummy fails?
Oh, god, don't answer that, I really can't be arsed with yet another Xenia diatribe.

Oh, ignore her. If she doesn't get that 65k is out of range for most people (and, if it weren't, what would be the advantage of earning it?! Prices of everything else would just go up), she never will.

niceguy2 Fri 04-Jan-13 15:39:50


I understand what your point is but bear in mind that your child may not always for whatever reason stay in that industry.

For me it's about hedging your bets. And with that in mind, a decent degree is going to stand you in better stead than no degree. Emphasis on the decent. There's little point to some degrees and I'd agree that you may as well go get a job.

Vagaceratops Fri 04-Jan-13 15:43:18

So what degrees do people think are not good?

JenaiMorris Fri 04-Jan-13 15:43:53

wrt working, I think xenia has a point, sorry.

Most parents will be in a far better position to support thier children through university financially if they've not spent too long out of the workplace. By too long though I mean years and years, not a year or two here and there on mat leave. It's playing the long game I suppose.

Having said that I do wish she'd accept that not everyone has it in them to earn big money.

Vagaceratops Fri 04-Jan-13 15:47:59

Or that everyone wants to.

Many, many people go to university to study for jobs that will never lead to massive amounts of money - nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, midwifery, radiology. Many people do those kinds of degrees because they want to help other people.

amillionyears Fri 04-Jan-13 15:51:25

One point that I dont think has been mentioned yet, is that a degree can be a ticket out of this country, particularly if this country does get into deeper and deeper financial trouble.
I dont know much of the ins and outs of getting a job abroad anytime with a degree, versus getting a job abroad without one, so someone else may have to elaborate on that point.

JenaiMorris Fri 04-Jan-13 15:51:25

Indeed, Vag.

Fluffy1234 Fri 04-Jan-13 15:56:11

I really hope ds2 and ds3 do go to university as my husband and I did. DH earns way more than he could have without his degree and i had the priviledge of studying a subject i absolutely love. Ds1 didn't do very well at school but after a few years of working in dead end jobs went to college and studied for a Btec in I.T which was definitely worth doing as he now works in a bank alongside graduates.

jenai - the way you said that makes perfect sense (mainly because it didn't hugely resemble what xenia said).

Scrazy Fri 04-Jan-13 16:06:34

It breaks my heart thinking about it. The course my DD is on is costing 6K per annum (low income family) and if she had been born a year earlier she wouldn't have paid a penny in tuition fees. Also the ones who started last year got an extra £1,200 bursary which has somehow been scrapped for their year.

Adding on the maintenance loan and it becomes a mind blowing total amount over 6 years. Her course is medicine so there is no way around it.

She is hoping to get the fee waiver in cash next year which will give a reasonable amount to be able to study without worrying about money too much but again racking up more debt!

MrsSalvoMontalbano Fri 04-Jan-13 16:13:19

cuillereasoupe - shhh now you've let the secret out!
We have no view on whether our dc should or not go to university, but if they do go, they need to make realistic choices, based on the outcomes they can reasonably expect, and not be surprsied that a a 3rd class degree in media studies from a not-rated institution yields few job offers, and probably is a waste of three years - better fun can be had grape-picking, as someone else mentioned. Regarding the debt - why is this seen as a cost, rather than an investment? (And everyone knows they can go up or down) People are not put off buying a house because of the 'debt' - they see it as an investment in their future security. Good education is the same.

MrsSalvoMontalbano Fri 04-Jan-13 16:19:54

Regarding overseas work - other countries are full of unemploed graduates too, and likely to be more protectionist than the UK which does not give its own graduates priority. Article in tThe Times today about Spanish and Portuguese graduate architects (7 year study...) working in London as baristas (ie, starbucks, not barristers in law courts grin.

skratta Fri 04-Jan-13 16:21:56

I want my DC to get degrees, which will allow them more oppurtunities probably, a chance to move abroad if they want to, and to be in a job they really want to, which they couldn't do without degrees- a doctor, a dentist, a vet, a scientist, a civil engineer.

DD1 and 2 are both 11, so still young, but they both are interested in learning, they want to do jobs which means they have to get a degree, and the same is for DD3. Although DS is only 5 (and his main ambition is apparently to own an octupus) I want to be safe in the knowledge that if he wants to study at university, that I can help provide, and that there's a possibility of paying back a loan.

I have a degree, and it was necessary to have one, which meant 6yrs of study (medicine) plus further, to become a doctor, and because I love my job, and because if I couldn't afford university, I wouldn't have gotten the job, I really want all my DC to have the same oppurtunities. People from all different financial backgrounds and families are intelligent, and would work hard and be good at so many different careers, but could be prevented from, by pressure from family, by fear of debt, and because they can't afford it from the very, very start, and it shouldn't be considered fair or right.

Itsjustmeanon Fri 04-Jan-13 16:24:14

If they are academic and wish to study medecine, law, accountancy etc. then I would not discourage. If they have a burning desire to go to university, to study say media studies at a former polytecnic, then I would point out lack of graduate jobs and debt they will incur. It has to be their decision, and I would not stop them, but I would still share my thoughts and experiences with them.

BackforGood Fri 04-Jan-13 16:27:52

Because, like it or not, many of us did not have to pay for our education, and it's an alien and frightening concept for us MrsSalvo.
It's not comparable with buying a home, as, if you don't take on a mortgage, you will still be paying out the same amount (or more in some cases) in rent every month, but have nothing at the end of it. So, where it's a realistic possibility, it's got to make financial sense to take out a mortgage, and you can see what you are getting for your money. With a degree, it's much more of a shot in the dark. Not many people I know in their 40s / 50s, are doing the work they had planned on doing when they were 15 / 16 /17 - people change, the world changes, circumstances change, you discover areas you knew nothing about, you accidently fall into some jobs through other circumstances. It's all a lot more random.
Some of us were brought up to believe that debt is a bad thing, and that anything (houses excepted) you want, you should save up for, or do without, so, to be faced with the idea of a "debt" of thousands of pounds is a horrific idea. I've looked into it quite a bit, and am coming round to the idea of thinking of it as being a graduate 'tax' rather than a loan, and that sits more easily with me, but it's taken a few years and a lot of reading to get here.

houseelfdobby Fri 04-Jan-13 16:32:00

I a not sure you can assume that if they never earn a lot then they won't pay back a lot. At the moment the threshold for paying back is a salary of 20k. I bet that threshold will never move so, in ten years time, it will be average wage or below. In effect, the loan is a commitment to pay an extra 9% tax for the rest of your life - a graduate tax. This is what the Lib Dems wanted and the Tories acquiesced by dressing it up as a loan, but setting the interest rate at a level where it will never be paid back. Do you realise that the above RPI interest rate kicks in from day 1 of the course so that even by graduation the debt will be significantly inflated and a lot more than 27k? It seems very unfair on the bridge generation (kids born in 1994 - 2000) as they will be competing for houses and goods with kids born 1993 and before, whilst paying tax of half as much again (29% rather than 20%). They will have it tough.

MrsSalvoMontalbano Fri 04-Jan-13 16:37:08

When you add in the interest you pay on a mortgage, and other associated costs, the difference between buying and renting is removed, and the 'security' a myth if you fall on hard times and can't pay the mortgage. I think the reality is that people don;t value education because it had always been 'free' ie paid for by someone else -ie someone without the benefit of HE, which isd grossly unfair. People value bettter what they pay for, and are more critcal of poor teaching when it is their own money inolved. I was lucky enough to have a 'free' education - but accept that that is not sustainable for my own DC and they need to make choices on that basis,

funnyperson Fri 04-Jan-13 16:53:01

Coming from the generation who had a free secondary and university education and for whom university didn't seem like anything out of the ordinary- indeed was taken for granted, the fees issue has (unreasonably) taken me by surprise. Too late to plan for my own children, caught by surprise when tuition fees came in, except to put by for their post graduation, they will unfortunately be in debt.

However if I can I will put by for my grandchildren's education.

Kate Middleton's story intrigued me because her education was paid for by a wealthy and canny ancestor. I intend to be a canny (if not overly wealthy) ancestor.

MrsSalvoMontalbano Fri 04-Jan-13 17:00:50

I do like that ambition, to be a canny ancestor! gonna think about that

NewYearsEvelyn Fri 04-Jan-13 17:09:06

My child is academic and though neither her dad nor I have a university education and have done alright for ourselves, we would want her to have this experience for the social aspects and the personal growth involved. We are also fairly sure she wouldn't throw away the opportunities she's presented with as she's quite a serious wee girl. Admittedly, she's only 12 now, but she's got a good work ethic and a really strong sense of right and wrong. In addition, she thinks education is important because we've always said it is! Of course, it could all go tits up when she finds out about boys!!!!

TwoIfBySea Fri 04-Jan-13 17:11:44

If you're that determined to go to uni you'll find a way.

I'm ready to support either or both of my dts if that is the road they choose but I'd expect them to take a job to support themselves too. We're not well off, all this talk of free education - when my friends went to uni after school in the late 80s they all took jobs to survive. My mother ensured I didn't go which is why, although it is a way off and Scotland will probably have tuition fees by then, I'd never tell either dts "what do you want to do that for?" and kill their future stone dead.

Whatever happened to generous philanthropists though? Those with money seem very reluctant to do anything but gain more.

Scrazy Fri 04-Jan-13 17:18:20

Plenty of DD's friends are at ex poly's doing media, business studies etc. I don't blame them tbh. They are having 3 years fun, independence all funded and some won't pay a penny back.

The system is a shambles imo.

Xenia Fri 04-Jan-13 17:56:31

I want women to aim high. I want them to go to university thinking right £1m a year will do me but I could just about live on £100k. I am just as good as any other man or woman and I can achieve whatever I want to. I don't want us producing teenage girls who think I'm pretty useless and no one in our family or our experience earns very much so I am likely to earn about £20k a year and probably less because mummy stayed home so I know women don't work so any kind of job will do until Mr Right comes along. That's all. I have no agenda to show off. Loads of women earn a lot more than I do.

amillionyears Fri 04-Jan-13 18:06:26

Do you want your boys to aim just as high?

Lifeisontheup Fri 04-Jan-13 18:15:45

I'm doing a paramedic science degree, I'll never earn 60k doing that, should clever people not do degrees like that simply because the earning potential is not very high?
My daughter is doing a paediatric nursing degree, she got good enough grades to do medicine but her heart is set on nursing, I'd rather she was a good nurse on a lower salary than a unhappy doctor on a high one.

funnyperson Fri 04-Jan-13 18:23:20

This is useful

It is a myth that nurses are necessarily happier than doctors. In fact all 'to be poor is to be happy' type arguments are deeply suspect. It is perfectly possible to be a happy doctor or a happy wealthy person.

It therefore makes better sense to do a degree which is likely to lead to a fulfilling and well paid job.

Southeastdweller Fri 04-Jan-13 18:33:42

niceguy2 What do you feel constitutes a decent degree, then?

I think I have an indecent one grin

Boy oh boy the snobbery on this thread is quite something.

Lifeisontheup Fri 04-Jan-13 18:33:50

But my DD wanted to do nursing, my point was should I have pushed her into doing medicine simply because it is better paid or pushed her into doing another degree which leads to a better paid job?
I don't think so, she knows her own mind and will ,I believe, be happy and fulfilled if not necessarily hugely rich.

Fluffy1234 Fri 04-Jan-13 18:36:27

And she may get lucky and marry a doctor!!! Only kidding

spoonsspoonsspoons Fri 04-Jan-13 18:42:35

Average Graduate Salaries

This makes interesting reading for anyone looking into future graduate earnings.

p.s. I'd be happy to swap my repayment rate with the new repayment rate. 9% of anything over 21k sounds quite attractive in my position.

Greythorne Fri 04-Jan-13 18:43:27

I just have no idea why you think the daughters of SAHMs have no aspirations?
It's really odd and blinkered.

My parents ran a very successful engineering business together when I was a child. They both worked long hours, travelled, had long periods away from their DC. They were financially well off most of the time but had moments like most small business owners / entrepreneurs when things were sticky. My mother juggled us children, never really took proper maternity leave, never had regular holidays because they werw workaholics. lAmongst other things, it made me realise I wanted the exact opposite! I wanted a well paid job but with security, pension, healthcare, good promotion prospects, guaranteed maternity benefits.. So as soon as possible found myself in a blue chip multinational.

But your theory is that all children or more specifically girls follow precisely their mother's path into WOHM / SAHM.

Have you never considered that children rebel against their parents choices?

Vagaceratops Fri 04-Jan-13 18:46:58

And if anyone who has a DS/DD who wants to be a nurse pushes them into medicine, where will our nurses come from?

Consils Fri 04-Jan-13 18:47:26

How much does an OU course cost? I have just had a look and the fees aren't quoted.

There is a site called notgoingtouni which gives details of apprenticeships.

xenia, if all girls go to university and earn 60k, what do you imagine will happen to the price of everything else?

Let's be a little bit realistic here.

Consils Fri 04-Jan-13 18:48:28

vaga - yes, and will a good nurse be a good doctor, or vice versa? They are different skillsets and it devalues nursing to make out they're just doctors who didn't get the training.

spoonsspoonsspoons Fri 04-Jan-13 18:51:07

From the article

" how much ARE graduates really earning? According to these numbers, the average wage for graduates six months after graduation was £19,935. Salaries in London were the highest at £22,707 – and in the rest of England the average was £18,991. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland the figure was £20,509, £18,365 and £18,823 respectively.

The highest paid jobs were in management consultancy (£20,033), IT (£19,121) and HR (£18,413).

Clearly, these figures sound much more like it. But big questions remain. Why is it these inflated figures (from sources like the Association of Graduate Recruiters and High Fliers) that always appear in the press, and not the true figures? Who is it helping, to prevent that graduates are earning more than they actually are? Young people are making big decisions about spending a huge amount of money on expensive qualifications. Don’t they deserve to know the facts, to help them decide whether their investment is likely to pay off?

Lifeisontheup Fri 04-Jan-13 18:53:52

Exactly LRD She's doing nursing not because she's incapable of doing medicine but because that's what she wants to do.

If I'd stayed working in the city as I was in the early 90's I'd probably be earning shed loads but I want to be a paramedic and I think I'll be a good one. It's not all about money although being rich delivers a better class of misery. smile

IncognitoIsMyFavouriteWord Fri 04-Jan-13 18:55:03

No not at all.

Who's to say it won't change again.

I also intend to help DS as best I can to avoid the debt being as high at the end.

If we all discouraged our children because of the debt worry then only the wealthy would have the decent jobs and imo that would be like going back in time.

And good for her life. And good for you.

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 04-Jan-13 19:22:20

I think young people should always be discouraged to going to university to do a pointless course just so they can "have the experience".

Regardless of whether it was under the old fee system or the new one.

But I'm talking Davic Beckham studies style courses here.

iloveeverton Fri 04-Jan-13 19:28:45

My dh has degree did nothing with it, he on his own studdied for CISSCO exams and has a good career now.

I went to uni after working for 2 years and now have a career I could not do without my degree but I only went to uni for the degree- not for life experience- which was minimal tbh.

gelo Fri 04-Jan-13 19:36:02

An OU course costs £5k per year full time equivalent since the rise, so £15k for a standard degree + a bit more if you do any residentials or extra bits.

The dc that do go to university to do 'pointless' courses probably have the best chance of never earning over the threshold and so never paying a penny of their loan back, so in some ways the new system encourages the pointless courses.

Labradorlover Fri 04-Jan-13 19:36:04

Move to Scotland.....although how long it will stay free here is anyone's guess.

Dinglebert Fri 04-Jan-13 19:43:30

No, but it has hugely impacted on how we plan our finances and the private education they may have had will not be.

Having said that, huge numbers of people were going to 'University', so I am not sure that loosing a few (provided it is the right few) is a disaster.

FarrahFawcettsFlick Fri 04-Jan-13 20:24:54

Can't some degrees/post grads be free? Thinking of medicine (and related), teaching, foreign office etc... You could agree to working so many years 'for the state' to wipe debt.

DS is 6 yrs old - who knows what things will be like in 12 years time. All I can do is save money between now and then and help him make sound decisions that will benefit him long term.


No bit their are more bursaries later on in the course Ds2 looked hard into it . He has a long time studying the only good bit is after 5 years he can work and study to

He wants forensic pathology but after talking to people has been told that doing the standard forensic courses thanks to Csi a lot are doing and very few get job in field

Instead he been told med school then specialise in pathology and then do postgraduate course in forensic so lot of studying for a boy brought up by a single disabled parent living in council estate but he wants it his teachers feel he can ( y11 now ) and he wanted it since age 11 so I shall encourage him to follow his dream and were handle the how's as they happen

farrah - as human says, there are bursaries for some degrees.

Lots of postgrad courses are eligible for funding - some of them earn students more than minimum wage (there is a MNer whose degree was getting her 17k per year).

But still, it isn't really good enough when undergraduate degrees have so few bursaries.

AlanMoore Fri 04-Jan-13 20:39:29

Just to show how much OU fees have gone up, they were about £750-£1000 for 60 credit module in arts/humanities subjects. My entire six year degree (360 credits) is going to cost about the same as one module does now.

Also it's impacting hugely on the way OU operates. Residentials are disappearing fast, modules are vanishing and there is already a lot less choice than when I started. My last tutor was very vocal about this and my current one can't actually bring himself to talk about it as he gets so angry! In a nutshell they feel that it's a raw deal for students sad

gordyslovesheep Fri 04-Jan-13 20:43:47

I would encourage mine to do it anyway - I was a self supporting student with my degree - 4 jobs - fair bit of loan debt and I self funded my post grad - £6500 in 1995 - I left with a lot of debt but it's paid off now and I have (not for much longer sadly) a well paid professional job

I loved my degree - I value learning for the sake of it and I will encourage my girls to if they want to

weegiemum Fri 04-Jan-13 20:47:45

Reading all this I'm so glad we're in Scotland and have been long enough that we dont pay fees locally.

That said, if an alternative was available and best for my dc, I'd happily pay.

For some degrees now if you are in England/Wales it's worth looking into the Netherlands at their English language unis (Maastricht I think), UCD in Dublin and even the US can work out cheaper with live-in bursaries.

Luckily for us Scotland has good unis (we met in Edinburgh) and so far our children aren't looking to do anything strange or startling!

Hesterton Fri 04-Jan-13 20:48:41

There's a great deal of anxiety in the university sector about dilution of standards as course leaders are being forced to take more students on each course - which means of course less time for each student and the acceptance of those who, in the past, would not have qualified for that partiular course.

Then there's 'managing expectations'; basically, coping as benignly as possible with the complaints made by students who have sacrificed a lot to pay for their courses and expect more than the course leaders and staff are able to give them in terms of time and input.

Cuts and targets (home and overseas), competition (home and overseas), not all fun to be working in the higher education sector right now.

whois Fri 04-Jan-13 20:49:26

If you look at uni as merely a path to higher wage then yeah, £9k plus living expenses would start to make you think twice.

However it is so much more than about a better paid job, the experience I had at uni was priceless (cliche).

I loved my course and the work, loved the social side and being involved in sports clubs and the national student organisation for my sport. I grew up, developed better social skills, learnt how to cook and love away from home. Oh, and did I say I loved spending hours in the library researching my essays <geek>.

However my experience would have been much poorer if I had beem seriously worrying about money all the time and having to work evenings and weekend in paid work.

I think it's a real shame the emphasis has to be out ok monetary worth of a degree and not just the importance of learning and education in its own right.

I couldn't have got my job without a degree, so for me it was also 'worth it' in terms of money. My employer does now do an apprenticeship scheme where you qualify in 6 years with a degree and professional qualification. They are paid OK for those 6 years, think they start on £16k outside of london but if you weigh up they aren't paying out for their education at all it's a great scheme. IF at 18 you know what you want to do and have the sticking power of 6 years.

whois Fri 04-Jan-13 20:52:53

Oh, also the previous governments target of 50% to go to uni was total bullshit. 59% of this country does not need a bloody degree in beauty, or leisure, or 'law' from an ex-polly.

I'm trying to look on it more as a graduate tax than a debt.
A bit like the hopefully manageable, predictable, and normal debt of a mortgage.
I'm reasonably reassured by things like it not having to be paid back until earning over 21k and then at reasonable rate of 9%. And being written off after 25 years one way or the other.
I'd still look at other options though, such as them studying abroad - Europe ?
eg Netherlands seems promising ? Or moving to Scotland ?!
And am aware that it will likely push me towards encouraging them to do something more vocational than in my laid-back day. But that's probably no bad thing.

FredFredGeorge Fri 04-Jan-13 21:09:53


I think it's a real shame the emphasis has to be out ok monetary worth of a degree and not just the importance of learning and education in its own right.

A lot of that I agree with, unfortunately it comes down to how much the country can subsidise the education, it's already 4 (3 with the guaranteed nursury parts I guess) to 18 so that's 14 years worth. Obviously there's a big return to the country in that investment, but with the return to the country being less after 18, and the investment rewarding those who continue to study disproportionately. It can't really happen.

Hopefully more bursaries, scholarships, awards etc. that are available in countries which have had paid tertiary education for some time will appear so there are routes for people still study without the worry.

TheSamling Fri 04-Jan-13 21:22:09

I couldn't say until nearer the time, because I think it depends on several factors. if the likelihood of her getting her feet on the housing ladder is as dismal as it would be now then I'd say go for it, get into that debt and see where the qualifications take you. If however there was a chance of her getting a decent house I might advise her to wait or try a different approach.

I went to Uni as a mature student at 21, having worked for 3 years with a decent enough salary before going. After Uni I got a job earning fractionally more than I did before going, the new job was in London so my costs were higher, and I started with 20k of debt and no chance of saving a deposit for a house as I had my student loans and overdraft to pay back.

By the time I had paid them back 5 years later and was able to start saving for a house prices had gone mental, even when I relocated back out of London, I'm now in my late 30's and still have insufficient savings to buy my own place. I'm a SAHM having been made redundant, and I can hand on heart say I would be MUCH better off, with a house of my own, had I never been to Uni. plus jobs in my trained field are scarce and I am now doing something completely different.

I know thats not the case for everyone, but I'd advise DC to consider very carefully the end result of their studies and whether Uni was a wise decision for them. I wish my parents had!!

weegiemum Fri 04-Jan-13 21:25:07

You've got to live in Scotland for 3 years before uni to get it free!!

TheSamling Fri 04-Jan-13 21:26:20

Whois, it's about more than finances. I feel a complete failure at times for not being able to buy a house, despite having been very well educated at a top ranking University. I'm not sure being at Uni did bring me any more in the way of learning than real life did before and since Uni, and I'm afraid that so many people go to Uni these days, do next to bugger all work and come out with tinpot degrees that 'education' in a university sense doesn't mean at all what it used to!

cuillereasoupe Fri 04-Jan-13 21:29:27

also the previous governments target of 50% to go to uni was total bullshit

50% in some form of further education, not necessarily university, which I think can only be a good thing. I'd rather that than go back to the days of thick Tim Nice-but-Dims going to uni while the rest of sweated down t'pit.

That's interesting weegie - maybe they could go as mature students as we need to stay in England now they've started in a good secondary school ? (half-joking smile)

Smudging Fri 04-Jan-13 22:14:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ponders Fri 04-Jan-13 22:19:23

Having seen how light the lecture/seminar schedule is for humanities degrees (esp in the 1st year, which is a JOKE at £9000 tuition + £5000 finance hmm), I think most universities would be well advised to change 3-year/6 semester courses to 2-year/4 semester, both to help to reduce debt & to encourage more students to reconsider applying.

This doesn't apply, afaik, to things like Maths & sciences, which are pretty full on but do at least tend to lead to a more practical career path.

DS1 is doing Politics & Philosophy - he's second year, so is on the old tuition scheme, but even so will graduate owing c £25K. & what he'll do then goodness knows...

ponders - but surely if there were more lectures/seminars, some students who were actually studying properly would not be able to study fulltime and attend them? Of course some very bright students can attend all lectures and seminars and still have hours of free time. But the course is designed for the average. If the average student attends all their lectures and seminars, the rest of the time is intended for study. If that is not carried out, the student may well get a 2:1 instead of a first, or even a 2:2 instead of a 2:1.

timidviper Fri 04-Jan-13 22:24:28

According to my economist friend, most students will come out with a enormous debt under this new system but will pay back less than students who have graduated under the old loan system due to the higher level at which payback starts and the writing off after however many years.

When the huge amount this will cost the country hits, it will cause a major problem.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 04-Jan-13 22:26:02

I attended uni as a mature student and found that many young people whose family had funded their studies really didn't care, failed the first year, dropped out or at best didn't show up to lectures etc.
The ones self funding did no better as the poor things were working every spare hour to pay the fees and having no time for leisure or extra study.

With this in mind I would/ have told ds1 and ds2 about the above and about paying back the debt etc, but the decision was always theirs.

The thing to remember about paying back the debt is that whilst you can earn quite a bit before payments come out you never know when the goal posts can be moved.

DS1 is paying back now and on its own is not a huge amount but when added to all the other out goings he has it tips the balance and he is struggling.

landofsoapandglory Fri 04-Jan-13 22:28:59

DS1 has applied to the Universities that are local to us so he can carry on living here to reduce costs. We are a one income family, I am disabled so it will be a struggle, so living at home is a sensible option. He has applied for this Autumn, but is thinking of taking a year out.

DS2 wants to be a nurse, and will be going in 2 years time. He wants to go locally too.

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Fri 04-Jan-13 22:32:23

I have 2 DSs 1 doind A and I doing AS levels this year.
Neither can enter their chosen field without an initial and then probably a further degree.
I'm so worried about how we will manage the parental contributions that I've buried my head in the sand and don't even know how much we'll have to pay. We have a massive mortage so our 'disposable' income isn't that much unless we move house. sad

Even posting this is bringing me out in a cold sweat.

cuillereasoupe Fri 04-Jan-13 22:39:24

most universities would be well advised to change 3-year/6 semester courses to 2-year/4 semester

ponders when do you suggest academics do their research then? You know, the stuff that goes into the courses they teach...

whiteandyelloworchid Fri 04-Jan-13 22:43:33

i think it totally depends on the course.

Scrazy Fri 04-Jan-13 22:56:47

All the high earners richer parents who think that there should be no-means testing for higher education. Don't you realise that government funded higher education would escalate if that was the case, therefore, nothing for lower income students. How can that be fair ever?

Nice tory theory hmm

mathanxiety Sat 05-Jan-13 06:54:49

I would never, ever turn down the chance of a degree, though I would be choosy about what I did and where.

DD1 graduated from an excellent US university last summer having managed to work part time all through her degree and throughout all holidays, and thus paid off one of her loans in its entirety before she graduated. I know US universities take four years to complete a Bachelors, but this was a really selective university and her coursework load was enormous -- no light lecture/seminar schedule any year. And the American GPA system means that your work from day one counts towards your degree, so if you slack off or don't hit the ground running you are sunk. She went to class, studied, worked, ate, partied and slept. Actually she didn't eat much, or sleep.

I think governments can be penny wise and pound foolish when it comes to third level education and that is a pity.

For some degrees now if you are in England/Wales it's worth looking into the Netherlands at their English language unis (Maastricht I think), UCD in Dublin and even the US can work out cheaper with live-in bursaries

-- I agree Weegiemum.

funnyperson Sat 05-Jan-13 07:03:22

Ponders I totally agree with you. 8 hours contact time a week could be easily contracted to span 2 years not 3. Alternatively include provision to go onto an MA for an extra year for those who want it.

Academics teach key basics to undergrads anyway. In the sciences. No idea about humanities.

nagynolonger Sat 05-Jan-13 07:20:43

Richer parents set up a standing order for living costs and then pay off the loan as a graduation gift. I know several who have done this. They are from a generation who had free education and grants and signed on the dole in the summer hols.

Young Camerons, Cleggs and Blairs etc won't be paying their debts off in their 30s and 40s but plenty will.

My eldest DC went to university in the late 1990s so they had modest loans compared to the ones their 17 and 16 yearold DB will have if they go.

No matter what they say it is a debt, and one that keeps on growing. If the graduate can't find work or is in a low paid job compound interest is still added. It is also a debt they will still have if for any reason they drop out of their course. Even one years debt will grow out of control if ignored for years. It might not be at a high rate now but no one knows what the rate could rise to.

My 17 and 16 yearolds are well aware of what going to university will cost them.
They will be aiming like the older two for maths/science/engineering courses so like their older sibs will not have much free time for a term time job to ease the financial pressure. They also know that DH and me will help out but any debt will be theirs. Living close to home will help if they live in halls just for the first year and then commute. My nephews did this so that they could carry on playing sport for their local clubs. It as worked well for them.

alreadytaken Sat 05-Jan-13 07:24:42

yes, I have, although not my own children. I have also encouraged young people who were concerned about the cost and helped them consider e.g. gap years, jobs, going to a uni close to home to save money. We have an excellent university nearby. If a young person has the ability to study and a reasonable prospect of benefiting they should be encouraged to go. If they are not currently showing much dedication to study they may be better off getting a job, maturing and if they find a degree would be useful going to uni later. Some degrees are less use than 3 years experience in your chosen career.

The interest rate on uni debt is now substantial. Student may pay for it for 30 years, that's a lot of payments. They have also lost out on 3 years earnings and 3 years pension contributions, making the financial impact greater than they may realise. They still get "life experience" outside uni and at 21 their sort of experience may put them ahead in the employment stakes.

nagynolonger Sat 05-Jan-13 07:32:58

I wouldn't want a DC of mine to just do a degree for the sake of it straight from school. If they have no 'plan' they shouldn't go IMO. I would definately say a job.....any job to start with is better than 'any degree'.

My middle two have done apprenticeships. A brilliant route if they can get on a good one. Some companies run proper training schools so DC also get the chance to live away from home for extended periods as part of their course (all costs paid!). Do be very careful and check firms out. Some apprenticships are crap one year affairs......just labour on the cheap and very little proper training.

poppy283 Sat 05-Jan-13 07:41:15

My dcs are still tiny, so who knows what it'll be like in 16 years' time? Maybe it'll be free again!

My thoughts on this is that the loan and repayment system seems fine, but it's theswitch in the govt's attitude from, do go to uni, you're worth it! to actively discouraging university attendance that is damaging.

Not nearly enough is made of the actual repayment system, it's all about the bottom line in the press and that's what puts people off.

My DM was a SAHM until I was 6, she then worked part time, my parents have barely an "O" level between them. I went to University with no fees on a full grant (most of which I sent home to help out with bills as I worked to support myself)
My DSis went to University the first year of fees, but has paid them all off in a good job since graduating.
My DB is currently at University, he gets a full grant and is covering his living expenses, he does a few gigs for fun money.
My point is, despite my parents lack of university education and income, they have put all 3 children through University successfully. Between us we have different levels of debt, but our reason for going to University wasn't about money, it was about improving our lives. We have been successful in this, but all in different ways.

mumzy Sat 05-Jan-13 08:09:26

I think it's really sad that dc today don't have the "freedom" of studying something interesting but completely random like " Old Norse " without the dark cloud of debt hanging over them. However I've also met too many graduates who have been to universities and studied courses which would never get them a graduate level job. Does the UK have enough graduate level jobs for 40 % of the population? Or is 20% much more the target?

Molepom Sat 05-Jan-13 08:39:24

I would LOVE to got to uni but as a carer for DS I can't afford to.

BoffinMum Sat 05-Jan-13 08:39:44

We have a different plan in this house. We're sending the DS's to a bilingual school to prepare them for applying to German universities, where it only costs £1k a year. We'll also be advising them to apply for US Ivy League universities and scholarships. We've gone global in this house, and unless things improve for young people in the UK I imagine my lot will be building careers overseas as well (indeed one has gone to New York this week to do exactly that). The UK clearly resents investing in the young, that's clear.

Snog Sat 05-Jan-13 08:58:27

Re Independent student status - presumably if 18 year old students married each other they would be exempt from fees and entitled to full loans then?!!

cuillereasoupe Sat 05-Jan-13 09:02:41

<Academics teach key basics to undergrads anyway>

But they still have to do research, otherwise they'd be called teachers.

BoffinMum Sat 05-Jan-13 09:07:59

Some of them don't do research, as they are in teaching only contracts. They regurgitate any old rubbish that appears in print and spout it to the students in a suitably warm and cuddly manner. The students think they're getting the friendly face of tertiary education but they are actually getting a sub degree level uncritical approach to the subject. It's dreadful, and an insult to the students paying all that money.

amillionyears Sat 05-Jan-13 09:10:09

BoffinMum, how good does their languages have to be?

I know someone with a PhD in mechanical engineering. He had a very good job. He swapped jobs in his 40's and retrained. He is now a plumber, self employed and earns a lot more! He loves it.

I think I read about him in the paper. If its the same guy, he was working for a pittance as an academic and was astounded when he compared P45s with the plumber he called out.

BoffinMum Sat 05-Jan-13 09:28:42

They have to be able to pass something called the Deutsche Sprachdiplom which is slightly above AL, I think. The Goethe Institut would be able to advise.

cuillereasoupe Sat 05-Jan-13 09:29:59

amillionyears I'd get my kids to do the language to A-level, then send them to be an au pair / do bar work / pick grapes for a year or two to immerse them in the language. An undergraduate degree in France costs about 300 euros a year. After a couple of years they could even be a language assistant and get paid.

amillionyears Sat 05-Jan-13 09:48:57

Thanks for the answer cuillereasoupe.
As I said upthread, mine have or are nearly through the system now, though, between them, they may want to do some more postdoc work in the future.One is doing postdoc work abroad, but English is fine there.

I was partly asking out of curiosity, and partly because I know of others who might find your answer very iseful.

With mine, languages was an area they were not brilliant at.
I tried to make it fun when they each reached 5, and again when they were 7, but were not much interested.
I thought school would help out at 11, but, the school was weak in this particular area, and I am not convinced it would have made much difference anyway. They all gave up languages at 14.

Contrary to the advice form most on here, DD1 went to university because she had no idea what she wanted to do as a job/career, and it meant three more years before she needed to decide. But she started a 3 year Maths degree, which she's turning into a 4 year Masters, and that should mean she has plenty of options when she does graduate. I'd've been a lot less happy if she was doing a nothing-studies degree at somewhere you've never heard of as a means to putting off the "what do I do with the rest of my life" decision. Not so much because of the "debt", but because of the effect on her CV for the future.

Lavenderhoney Sat 05-Jan-13 10:27:07

This is very interesting as I remember when working the large corporate I worked for introduced a policy of " no one without a degree" even for the mst menial of tasks. I didn't have a degree, and when I moved jobs within, my old job was advertised at more money but you had to have a degree. I asked about it and was told I couldn't even apply as I didn't have a degree ( any degree). And I had been doing it with an outstanding appraisal for 2 years!!!

When in London, I was interviewed by a young hr person who looked down her nose at me and wanted to know how I had the experience I did without a degree. I explained "in my day" uni wasn't automatic right but she did tell me that she thought I must have had a crimnal reord not to get in !! What???

For any job there are so many cv's and having a degree and where and what in is just another way sorting them. Although when I used to have to let students work with me on internments, they mostly got very cross about doing menial stuff, like filing on their first day,. One told me he didn't go to uni to file, but as I pointed out to hm, he still couldn't do it. What a mess.... Disorganised, couldnt finish a simple task..late every day,

funnyperson Sat 05-Jan-13 10:30:04

Someone upthread mentioned the interest rate on uni debt , and the fact that it is compound interest. I think the interest rate should be revised to reflect the current low Bank of England rate, and it should be simple interest, not compound.

aufaniae Sat 05-Jan-13 10:31:14

I haven't read the whole thread (on my phone and in a rush!) but do people relise that many students will repay less under the new system than the old system because of the raised threshold for beginning to pay money back?

niceguy2 Sat 05-Jan-13 10:34:29

niceguy2 What do you feel constitutes a decent degree, then?

I would define a decent degree as one which has skills which the country is either short of or is predicted to meet future demand.

So for example any business, science, engineering degree in my opinion is worth it. We desperately need better educated employees in high tech industries if we are to compete globally. We cannot compete on low cost. We'll never beat the likes of China for that.

What I think are not decent degrees are the softer subjects such as photography (And I say that as a semi-pro). And believe it or not, forensic sciences. We have plenty of areas which are simply saturated already. Blindly turning out thousands more graduates in areas which we are already swamped with will not help the nation or the graduate.

One good side effect of having to pay is students will think twice about their future earning potential rather than just picking the most interesting course.

I remember a conversation with a lady ages ago who genuinely couldn't why now she'd graduated she wasn't finding job offers at £35k. Aside from the fact you usually have to work for years before getting to that sort of position, she also had graduated with a degree in Art. And as my dad says. "Art? Even if you are good, you only really earn money when you are dead."

amillionyears Sat 05-Jan-13 10:51:56

Thats the point funnyperson. Any Government, in theory if not in practice, can change its mind at will.
And of you are in hoc [not sure if that is the right word?, obligated?] to the Government, with a large debt, for many many years, everyone needs to proceed with care.
The one thing about it all, is that there has been, in the past at least, some safety in numbers, as the Government wants votes.

Chopchopbusybusy Sat 05-Jan-13 11:57:36

aufaniae, what on earth is the point in contributing to a really long thread without reading it, or at least most of it. Of course some students will end up paying little or nothing, but on the other hand, many students will be paying an additional 9% on top of their taxes for many, many years. One of the problems is that we don't know for how many years because of the interest.

JenaiMorris Sat 05-Jan-13 12:19:52

Chopchop, no need to be arsey.

Dawndonna Sat 05-Jan-13 12:42:41

So, nice guy, I assume Lit, Philosophy and History are out too?

Chopchopbusybusy Sat 05-Jan-13 12:42:56

Are you the boss jenai?

cuillereasoupe Sat 05-Jan-13 13:08:17

I assume Lit, Philosophy and History are out too

Or we could go back to the days when only the toffs got to study them. That would be nice hmm

Dawndonna Sat 05-Jan-13 13:13:03

No, but they're not soft options. All are essential, including for things other than teaching.

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 05-Jan-13 13:17:33

Surely nobody can seriously think that history,English lit and philosophy are "soft" subjects?!

Yes,obviously everybody should only do vocational degrees that benefit the state,not the public hmm

And re art niceguy my friend did an art degree. Graduated last year and has even before graduating been gaining increasing recognition. Holding exhibitions, being interviewe by local press,selling work. She might not be earning 35k but she is a successful new graduate by any stretch of the imagination. Good thing her parents didn't think like you!

niceguy2 Sat 05-Jan-13 13:20:25

The key question Dawndonna is how many graduates are we producing each year, do we have the jobs for those students in that area or is it an area where the government are planning to grow the economy?

For those three subjects you listed I'd guess there are not many jobs requiring that skill nor are we moving in that direction.

We need smaller companies which are innovating like Apple with new ideas which can be patented and manufactured elsewhere cheaply. ARM is a great example but most people haven't heard of them.

We need to be investing in growth markets and be on the leading edge of new technologies such as green technologies. All those in my opinion require science graduates, engineering graduates and those with business skills to turn it into marketable products.

Of course there are places for history/literature and philosophy graduates but my point is that there are very few jobs in comparison. So why churn out far more candidates than the economy can handle?

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 05-Jan-13 13:25:14

The Labour government did an entire generation a great disservice by propagating the myth that if you don't go to university then you are stupid whilst at the same time introducing tutition fees. Oh whilst continuing Thatchers legacy of dismantling British industry.

How they must have laughed to see the massive influx of cash cows young people flocking to universities.

SugarplumMary Sat 05-Jan-13 13:29:58

Contrary to the advice form most on here, DD1 went to university because she had no idea what she wanted to do as a job/career, and it meant three more years before she needed to decide.

That is partly why I went - there didn't seem to be any alternatives other than dead end jobs with no training on offer. I did do a 'solid subject' at red brick univeristy though.

I'm surprised so many young people in this area do seem to find jobs that they can and do progress along - though there are a lot of small family firms in the area that some join or join family friends firms.

Mind you the unemployment rate especially among the young in the area is very high - high number of NETTS.

Dawndonna Sat 05-Jan-13 13:37:18

Because those graduates, being churned out into our society are the ones that comment on society. They are as important as your engineers.

LettyAshton Sat 05-Jan-13 14:30:04

From what I have seen locally, there has been a mad, headlong rush into "vocational" degrees recently. Every other kid you meet wants to do "Law". There is going to be a horrible glut of "lawyers" in a few years' time.

I'm not particularly anti Golf Course Studies or Festival Studies (yep, it really exists) as presumably anyone studying these would go and work in those industries.

But I can't understand what the point is of studying for an English or History degree at one of those former further education colleges. I would dare to suggest that one's fellow students might not be of the highest calibre and for that reason I would advise ds to aim for top 5 or not bother.

niceguy2 Sat 05-Jan-13 14:37:52

You can comment on society without any of those degrees. It's stupid to go to uni for three years+, put all that effort in if you stand practically no chance of getting a decent job in that particular field at the end of it. You may as well have not bothered and gone straight into working in another field instead.

soontobeburns Sat 05-Jan-13 14:49:23

My degree is costing me zilch infact the grant I get paid gives me money. It costs £1350 for the whole degree and I get £1650 grant.

This is because I done my hnd for free with a charity and this is a top up of the final year.

There are others ways to do your degree without paying lots.

Dawndonna Sat 05-Jan-13 15:05:08

No, it's stupid to state on an internet thread that you can comment on society without a degree. Nobody's listening nice guy. No fucker.
Funny, people do/did listen to Russell, Strawson, et al.
Literature changes things. One flew over the cuckoo's nest being one example.
These are the people we need to shape society and keep it's moral compass going.
Having said that, it's somewhat up the creek at the moment, but eventually, it's the philosophers etc that will get it back on track.

catgirl1976geesealaying Sat 05-Jan-13 15:17:26


Are you suggesting all authors and philosophers have degrees?

BackforGood Sat 05-Jan-13 15:27:42

I have to say Dawndonna , NiceGuy2's posts are making a lot more sense than yours.

catgirl1976geesealaying Sat 05-Jan-13 15:35:17

Philosophy is a soft subject

In my first year I had 7 hours a week

It didn't really get much more taxing grin

Then I did a Psychology degree which was harder as I fecking hate all forms of maths and there's a lot of stats. It got more interesting when I did neuroscience

But philosophy was a soft degree IMO and IME smile

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 05-Jan-13 15:44:00

Letty oh no not in a few years,it's happening now with Law.

Everyone trots out "everyone will always need solicitors" - yes...not untrained ones though.

I fell for that one. I know better now.

amillionyears Sat 05-Jan-13 15:45:29

Which of those areas are you working in now catgirl? Or are you combining them in some way?

mumzy Sat 05-Jan-13 15:45:48

There's no argument that arts and social science degree courses need to remain but the places for these have been massively expanded by the last labour government to the point the labour market does not have graduate level jobs for all these graduates. If my dc wanted to do an arts or social sciences degree I would advise them to pick a Russell group university, a course with a proven track record and to check the employment destinations of recent graduates.
A good arts/ social science degree from a Russell group university will still stand you in good stead to get a graduate level career especially if you demonstrate you have other employable skills.

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Sat 05-Jan-13 15:46:12

Hi cat girl - curious to know what you do now? I did a philosophy and theology degree at oxford then a psychology degree (I found psychology easier as more predictable and got a first!) I'd intended to retrain as a psych but I think I'll end up teaching.

I was under the impression that traditional degrees such as history, English etc were prefered by many graduate recruitment schemes over business studies. I'm over 10years out of date though. Fellow history/ theology students ended up on grad schemes at IBM, government fast track etc.

catgirl1976geesealaying Sat 05-Jan-13 15:47:12

None of them amillion

Academically, neither of my degrees has made a big difference to my career I don't think if I'm honest

But I still feel going to uni was very worthwhile

amillionyears Sat 05-Jan-13 15:47:52

The Government, I think yearly, publishes a list of jobs that are in demand in this country. It may be connected to, who can emigrate to this country and do them?
I keep an eye on it from time to time.

catgirl1976geesealaying Sat 05-Jan-13 15:50:44

I now work in senior management within energy trading...............slight diversion grin

I didn't get a first in either giraffe blush too much partying sad 2:1's all round - how funny we almost have exactly the same qualifications! (although no first for me and no Oxford)

A first from Oxford would always impress me on a CV

amillionyears Sat 05-Jan-13 15:54:24

I am always amazed how some people cross over into different things.
You dont have to answer my next question if you dont want to.
How did you end up where you have??

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Sat 05-Jan-13 15:56:27

Well done! You got further than me though, I started off teaching, then thought about retraining and now expect I'll go back to teaching. I'll certainly be encouraging my girls more than I was. I hadn't a clue about careers until after several years teaching!

(My psychology degree wasn't Oxford, so not an Oxford first! )

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Sat 05-Jan-13 15:57:33

And yes - sorry to derail a little, but not everyday I meet a fellow philosopher-psychologist!

catgirl1976geesealaying Sat 05-Jan-13 15:59:59

I fell into it really

Was messing about a bit after uni with no real direction

Took a low / medium level role within the company 8 years ago (largely administrative) got lucky with a very good mentor (one of the partners who had a plan to retire and trained me up on a lot of stuff outside my role to make it easier for him to leave)

Have worked my way up over the last 8 years, got involved with as many areas of the business as I could and have done a couple of professional qualifications in different areas of the business (eg CIM qualification in marketing, CIPD qualificaiton on the HR side) so that I could move sideways as well as up Managed to go from mid-level admin to board level in 8 years through hard graft and luck combined

BoffinMum Sat 05-Jan-13 16:00:43

I'd say from experience in the field that graduates who have done a decent placement during the course are many times more likely to get a job at the end than those who have sat on campus for three years. I think that really makes a CV stand out, when someone has this kind of experience and is able to relate that to the job they are applying for.

Also picking a degree course where you develop high level numeracy skills as well as literary/essay based ones is another clever move. Education graduates do pretty well because their courses involve understanding numerical data as well as being able to write high quality research reports, and act as trainers when necessary. These seem to be highly marketable skills in the present climate - you don't have to go into teaching.

I have two degrees (Physics, and Early Years Education) and work in neither field (I'm a storyteller and short story author). I feel my University experience has been worthwhile though, as it helped me build a network, and developed my critical thinking skills. I will encourage my DCs to go to university, I have saved their child benefit to use for their living costs, and am on course to have paid off the mortgage by the time my eldest is 18.
I hope by then the situation will have settled a little, market forces will reduce the cost (and range) of courses, and I will be able to use the money to help them in other ways.

catgirl1976geesealaying Sat 05-Jan-13 16:36:08

We sould start a little club giraffe grin

Although it may just be us in it!

I have a science degree and early years and teaching qualifications too SpareTime - am jealous of your lovely sounding work though envy
I love stories !
Sounds like you are well prepared regarding your DC's too.

laptopdancer Sat 05-Jan-13 16:38:49

Hmm, when I think about the course that I did to be in my current profession, it is a 4 year course which would cost £36K in fees alone. The max wage for the profession is around £48K....that is after a good 10 years or more in the job.
Doesnt look good on paper.

mathanxiety Sat 05-Jan-13 17:07:16

Niceguy, one of the issues I have with British Isles bachelors degrees (especially in the arts and humanities but perhaps in science too) is the narrow focus of studies on whatever subject the student is reading. DD1, who graduated with a degree ostensibly in economics in the US did science (biology, chemistry and physics) and maths courses (beyond calculus) along the way, with two languages (French and Persian) and some arts/humanities and social science subjects (philosophy, psychology, history) and fine arts, none at an introductory level. Even people in her year who came out with degrees in 'history' were recruited by investment banks, consulting firms, government departments, and went on to medical school and law school. DS, who is coming up to half way through his four year bachelors degree in the US has 'general education' requirements to fulfill (arts and humanities and at least one language course) on top of his major in biology and minor in chemistry. When you force all students to perform well across a broad curriculum you end up with third level education that serves both the community and the graduates.

And you don't get the silly philosopher vs. mathematician opposition that you find in Britain, or the tedious conversations that ensue about which is more valuable to society.

mathanxiety Sat 05-Jan-13 17:20:40

BoffinMum, I think your plan for your DS is the way to go and if you haven't discovered already, US universities' financial aid offices are pretty straightforward to deal with and are well used to crunching tax, income and asset information from overseas families.

amillionyears Sat 05-Jan-13 17:25:20

wow, that is some list!
I always thought it was quite beneficial to specialise somewhat, but now am not so sure.
What proportion of US students do the 4 year bachelors degree?
It cant be the 50% surely?

laptopdancer Sat 05-Jan-13 17:32:17

I think more and more people will have to consider the value for payment. In my job, financially, you don't get much of your money back. Its not such a good investment.

laptopdancer Sat 05-Jan-13 17:33:18

By the way, many UK unis are considering the fast track 2 year degree system in an effort to gain enrolments. (Having lost a consierable amount)

littleacceb Sat 05-Jan-13 18:57:51

In all honesty, I hope we move away from the American mentality by the time mine are considering this sort of thing. I'm all for learning for the love of it, or learning for a specific industry, but this idea that you must be mentally substandard because you didn't go to university is just bonkers.

I did what was essentially an apprenticeship - getting paid less than minimum wage while the firm I worked for paid for my studies. I would definitely like to see more such schemes available. Looking at friends who started working straight from school (I faffed around with uni for a couple of years and hated every unbearably lonely minute) - they were able buy houses, have families and just start the awesome parts of life so much sooner.

The life experience part of university is such BS. You can get smashed and join social/sports/political clubs at any stage of life.

I think that the fees make perfect sense. If you're learning for fun, you should pay for the fun. If you're learning for a better career, it's taken effectively as a tax. Why should someone starting an unskilled job straight from school pay for your improved career options?

MrsSalvoMontalbano Sat 05-Jan-13 19:04:19

Boffinmum's plan is beyond hilarious - I am assumimg some kind of joke? (And a good one). Otherwise - sheesh! Talk about manipulative, not to mention short-sighted - baning on the German gvt will keeping feees at that level, but even if they did - suppose the poor kids want to do a specific course somewhere else - just tough on them - eh? Can't believe some of the controlling parents on this thread - not likely to end well sad

mathanxiety Sat 05-Jan-13 20:12:47

What a crazy post MrsSalvano.
Parents who pay the fiddler don't get to call the tune?

Amillionyears, if you do a BA or BS in the US it is a four year course unless you are some sort of prodigy who can do it in three (rare).

Some figures on overall numbers, focusing also on science and engineering.

You can do an Associates Degree at a community college that takes two years and transfer your credits to a four year university, finishing your final two years and graduating from the university. The big advantage of doing it that way is cost, but you are restricted in choice of university when it comes to transfer time.

MrsSalvoMontalbano Sat 05-Jan-13 20:20:26

Second guessing the dc future is very sad - poor kids, and second-guessing the german gvt policies is lunacy sadly deluded.

amillionyears Sat 05-Jan-13 20:27:40

How old are your DC MrsSalvo?

amillionyears Sat 05-Jan-13 20:32:12

And you appear to be a new poster on MN

BoffinMum Sat 05-Jan-13 20:36:40

P13 Weekend Telegraph all about going to overseas universities.

mathanxiety Sat 05-Jan-13 20:43:24

And seeing DCs lumbered with debt, graduating with degrees in whatever whimsical subject took their fancy when they were 17 or 18, with no job prospects, is not very sad?

On top of that, educational policy in Germany varies from Land to Land, as it is a federal state.

BoffinMum Sat 05-Jan-13 20:45:22

Bollocks. Kids from my son's school have been doing it for years as they are all bilingual, and loads of the parents are French or German anyway, so it's not that big a deal. Only ignorant monolinguals would be so imperialist as to think England has some kind of monopoly on higher education. And Germany doesn't have one set of HE policies anyway, it's devolved to the different Laender with differential fees (free in some Laender, well under £1k in others). The idea that central Government would dictate HE policy would seem very strange to your average German. Salvo, you need to read the foreign news a bit more, not just the domestic stuff in the Daily Mail.

Ponders Sat 05-Jan-13 20:45:35

MrsSM has been here since Sept, amillionyears

mathanxiety Sat 05-Jan-13 20:50:21

Not to mention the fact that parents intending to send their students to UK universities are also engaged in second guessing government policy...

amillionyears Sat 05-Jan-13 21:05:49

So she has, Ponders. No idea why she didnt pop up first time round.
She seems to have a history of not agreeing with BoffinMum.

amillionyears Sat 05-Jan-13 21:07:46

BoffinMum, do your DC go to a private school?
And do you have any family links with Germany?

BoffinMum Sat 05-Jan-13 21:30:47

No, state comprehensive school and I am half German.

amillionyears Sat 05-Jan-13 21:33:52

Ah, that explains why there wouldnt be too much of a problem to encourage them to go to Germany.

BoffinMum Sat 05-Jan-13 22:54:26

Well quite, they are keener than I am. But I like the idea of them being global citizens and exploring other countries. Very healthy. And the German system is less intense and febrile.

BoffinMum Sat 05-Jan-13 22:55:53

I have suggested Holland as well. Some courses are taught in English making it even easier.

soontobeburns Sun 06-Jan-13 00:51:33

I currently getting a part time ba paid for by grants. Im doing this to get experience and hope to do social work in september.

Im doing it as a mature student because
1) I didnt know what I wanted to do at 18
2) I couldnt afford to go at 18
3) They prefer older more experienced students.
4) I wanted to volunteer make sure of the are I wanted to get into.

Im lucky im in NI where the fees havent risen but I couldnt afford it without loans, grants and bursaries.

mathanxiety Sun 06-Jan-13 00:59:10

An interesting Guardian article on tuition fee refugees, highlighting the possibilities nearby in the EU.

amillionyears Sun 06-Jan-13 08:33:57

mathanxiety, do you have family connections to the USA?

PattyPenguin Sun 06-Jan-13 11:20:02

Re: studying abroad ("An interesting Guardian article on tuition fee refugees, highlighting the possibilities nearby in the EU.")

We looked into this for our daughter. We found a course she liked in the Netherlands, taught partly in English and with a buddying system with Dutch students for the parts taught in Dutch.

However, she wouldn't have been eligible for student loans from the UK. The UK administrations won't allow student loans for studying a whole degree course abroad. I've no idea why - I haven't been able to find any justification published anywhere.

We didn't have enough savings we could have used, couldn't have paid out of our income, and couldn't have afforded to borrow money at commercial rates to pay the 16,800 euros tuition fees for the 4 year course, and the approx 800 euros a month living costs.

If my daughter could have found a 32 hour a mouth job for 3 months before starting university, and continued to work 32 hours a month whilst there, she could have accessed some less expensive loans from the Dutch government, but she wasn't likely to get a job as she didn't speak fluent Dutch.

I know it's too late now, but in case other people are in patty's situation - a couple of people I know who studied abroad took a year out after A levels and spent it doing au pair work. You don't have to have much of the language as the idea is you're learning it, and you don't earn much but I can't imagine it's totally useless.

JenaiMorris Sun 06-Jan-13 12:41:23

That's a good idea, LRD.

happybubblebrain Sun 06-Jan-13 12:46:22

Nearly everyone in my family and extended family have degrees. Not that many of us have well-paid jobs.

When she's old enough I will help dd to do whatever she wants to do. This may or may not involve going to uni. It's her life, her career. It's my job to help her with whatever she wants to do.

amillionyears Sun 06-Jan-13 12:50:14

I agree too.

Are the courses, say in Germany, taught in English?
I would have thought that, say, particularly with say a science subject, if it wasnt in English there would be no chance of keeping up.
Variations in accent alone, would make some courses that little bit harder.

amillionyears Sun 06-Jan-13 12:52:52

x post
I was agreeing with LRD

Lots of science/maths students do degrees not in their own first language - my SIL is German and when she taught in Germany, she would have students from all over the place, so supervisors are used to it and there is quite good language lab help.

Lots of science/maths students over here (UK) aren't first-language English either, FWIW.

I would think it'd be harder in an essay-writing subject but not impossible at all.

Meant to say, sorry, in her bit of Germany no, they were taught in German. But Dutch universities use lots of English and so does Norway/Iceland.

amillionyears Sun 06-Jan-13 13:23:52

Crikey. I wouldnt like to try it.
That might be beyond me and mine I think.

It didn't really get much more taxing

Did you not have to do modal logic?

mathanxiety Mon 07-Jan-13 03:50:29

Amillionyears, my DCs were all born there and are citizens. ExH is American.

mathanxiety Mon 07-Jan-13 03:53:30

However, I know several family members and other students with no ties the US who have left Ireland for third level and gone to EU countries or Canada or the US. Because entry to Irish university courses can be incredibly competitive many students hedge their bets and apply for similar courses abroad if they are really committed, for instance to medicine or veterinary medicine.

mathanxiety Mon 07-Jan-13 03:58:25

Patty, many Irish students work in childcare in Netherlands and Germany and can easily get more than 32 hours a month (which is basically an hour every day after all). Irish students are more likely to have studied German than Dutch but still I would say very few are really fluent. Some families look for English speakers as au pairs and three months is more or less the standard Irish school summer holiday. Au pairing often comes with a place to sleep and meals thrown in. Would taking a gap year and working abroad count for the hours or entitlement?

Morloth Mon 07-Jan-13 05:10:15

Aren't the new fees/debts things in the UK going to be like HECS debts here (Oz)?

We didn't have to pay ours until we were earning about $30,000 and even then it was only a small amount on the percentage above that, it was also not considered a 'debt' as far as getting a mortgage/credit card/car loan type things. We both wanted to be free of ours ASAP, so hammered them in the first couple of years. Though we both worked a couple of part time jobs whilst studying as well (as did everyone else we knew) in order to pay for drinking food etc. So came out of Uni pretty good.

I don't know if my boys will want to go to University, if they do I will help them out as much as possible whilst encouraging them to help themselves out as much as possible and taking any help that will make things easier for them.

dreamingofsun Mon 07-Jan-13 09:02:17

morloth - pleased that you managed to pay off your debt in first couple of years of work - but kids here are likely to have £27k of tuition fees and £20k+ of living costs - i can't see my kids earning enough in the early years to be able to pay off £47k+

i think this policy is totally wrong and if we want an educated workforce we should be prepared to pay for it - in the same way we are doing in wales and scotland.

amillionyears Mon 07-Jan-13 09:18:29

I wonder how long things will stay like they are, Uni education wise, in Wales and Scotland.

MrsSalvoMontalbano Mon 07-Jan-13 10:11:16

amillionyears - precisely! is not a good idea to project several years ahead based on status quo - the best we can give our dc is the courage and confidence to decisions that are right for them as individual adults, any attempt to second-guess the system more than a handful of years ahead is a fool's game.

funnyperson Tue 08-Jan-13 17:21:57

Getting a part time job whilst studying is frowned upon for Oxford students as they have a tight academic schedule and it is nearly impossible for London students due to the competition for jobs with adults from all over the world who are not studying and come to London to work.
The USA also has a culture of students 'working their way through college' which diminishes student debt, but this works because there is a long established culture of employers willing to employ students part time. It also works because the most academic US universities are also the wealthiest and provide almost full support to poorer students. This doesn't happen in the UK.
Working during term time detracts from studies. Working in the holidays means that the 'internships' and adventurous charity work etc much loved by recruiters go by the wayside. Those whose richer parents can pay for them to go to university and take up unpaid internships are going to be better off when they graduate. The current system is guaranteed to increase the divide between the rich and the poor.

BackforGood Tue 08-Jan-13 19:01:00

To be fair though funnyperson Oxford terms are so short, the students have an advantage over everyone else in that they are home for the holidays earlier. I know they are discouraged from working during tern time, but there's plenty of weeks in the year when they can be working.
Also, of course, Oxford takes a tiny, tiny % of all the students, so most people don't need to worry about that rules, and can continue to work as students always have done.

mathanxiety Wed 09-Jan-13 06:11:26

University students can go to the US and work during summers on a J-1 visa. Seasonable work is always available, especially in cities on the east coast and in touristy areas (Cape Cod for instance). Thousands of Irish students head off every summer on spec the day term ends and make quite a bit of money. People I knew in my student days lived in apartments designed to sleep about 6 but had a hot sheets system going and managed to accommodate about 20 at a time on air mattresses and other temporary furniture. Working two jobs and really busting your arse waitering could make you real money even after rent.

Morloth Wed 09-Jan-13 06:41:31

I had 3 part time jobs (bar, waitressing and supermarket stacking) + uni at one point DH had 2 but one of his paid well (help desk andc bar).

One of the reasons we were able to pay off the debt so quickly was because we worked while studying, so that paid for living costs and as we were both working a LOT we were able to bank some.

It was fun, you can pull those sort of hours when you are 20.grin

As I said though the debt wasn't 'held against you' at all though so it wasnt a big deal.

Is it proposed that the UK version be treated like an actual debt?

Scrazy Wed 09-Jan-13 11:20:32

Morloth, it's meant to be similar. How much did you pay for your degree and living expenses?

theodorakisses Wed 09-Jan-13 11:54:20

Nobody will ever chase you for it. There will never be baliffs at the door.
I respectfully disagree. I get constant calls from the loans people about my British engineers who owe loan money. They must spend more ringing Qatar from a landline every day than the value of the loan. I guess this is ofset on the money they spend on manners.

amillionyears Wed 09-Jan-13 12:16:34

Will the debt be taken into account with mortgages?
A debt of 40k or whatever is bound to be I would have thought.

No, it isn't. They look at bills coming out of your account per month (so if you're paying the SLC monthly that amount off your income is taken into account), but they don't treat it like normal debt.

Dahlen Wed 09-Jan-13 12:36:58

LRD - how do you know that? All the articles I've read have said that the new repayment scheme will affect mortgage applications because it results in a lower net income.

I won't persuade my DC against university but I will encourage them only to go if they have a particular career in mind that requires a degree in a particular subject. Otherwise they are likely to have a much better career and earning potential if they follow a vocational qualification or trade.

MrsHoarder Wed 09-Jan-13 13:23:20

Thats what LRD said.

If its never going to be paid off it doesn't matter to the mortgage company if its a payment on £10k or £80k, the deduction is the same.

dahlen - yes, that is what I'm saying. It only affects it in terms of you having a lower net income. But that's different from most kinds of debt.

If I owed, say, 40k on credit cards, it would be a total bugger to get a mortgage and my credit rating would not be good. Especially if I'd owed if for years before beginning to pay it off!

But with a loan, they don't look at it that way. They just deduct the amount you're paying per month from your income and treat it as if you have that much less income.

I'm sorry, I don't have a site to link to that would set this all out but I am pretty sure it is true. I know a fair few people with mortgages.

Dahlen Wed 09-Jan-13 13:31:43

Sorry, I misread. Thanks for clarifying. smile

My fault, I think, I wasn't very clear. Glad it makes more sense now!

amillionyears Wed 09-Jan-13 13:34:23

Thanks for those answers.

MrsHoarder Wed 09-Jan-13 13:37:00

It also has odd side effects. We both have student loans, but because I wasn't earning when we applied for our mortgage my loan wasn't taken into account as no repayments were bring madeon it.

Scrazy Wed 09-Jan-13 13:53:55

Yes it will affect the mortgage in so far as there won't be the repayment amount to repay the mortgage with.

It's just like extra tax as if we don't all pay enough in direct and indirect taxes as it is. The burden on future graduates will be much higher than non graduates.

Trills Thu 10-Jan-13 08:51:45

All the articles I've read have said that the new repayment scheme will affect mortgage applications because it results in a lower net income.

Lower net income than if you had no loan at all, but higher net income than if you are on the kind of loan that I am (repayments at 9% of what you earn over 21k rather than 9% of what you earn over 15k).

So in terms of being able to get a mortgage the most recent set of changes have made it easier, not harder.

dreamingofsun Thu 10-Jan-13 09:03:06

trills - except that the overall amounts will now be larger - people will owe 27k instead of 9k for tuition fees

Trills Thu 10-Jan-13 09:09:12

How much you owe does not affect how much you pay back each month. Therefore it does not affect your net income, and does not affect your applying for mortgages (see LRD's post)

Scrazy Thu 10-Jan-13 09:34:09

Mortgage companies usually go by gross income too so it shouldn't affect the amount you can borrow. They will look at it if doing a budget plan to see if you can afford the repayments though.

Lifeisontheup Thu 10-Jan-13 10:12:29

When I started work in the mid 80's basic rate tax was 29% I think whereas now it's 20% so I suppose that's one of the reasons that the loan has to exist. Only one of the reasons and I'm sure someone who works in/actually understands the tax system can explain it.

My 2 DC's who are at uni seem to have loads more money than I had and they only get the minimum loan. We pay their accommodation but don't give them anything else. They ask for textbooks from FIL at Christmas and birthdays.

Scrazy Thu 10-Jan-13 11:04:58

Thing with taxes is that if they give it back to you in one hand they snatch it out of the other. If we add up how much of our pay goes back to the government, it's staggering.

The loan repayments are just another burden that our young ones will face, no matter how it's dressed up.

It will mean a further 9% tax for 30 years for anyone who wants to make enough noney for a comfortable lifestyle via a profession where a degree is essential.

Scrazy Thu 10-Jan-13 11:05:46


Scrazy Thu 10-Jan-13 11:08:16

Also, I'm not against paying taxes as long as the money is distributed to help for a fairer/safer society.

FigaroHere Thu 10-Jan-13 11:50:48

Pointless degrees in rubbish unis should be discouraged. But what can they do instead?

dreamingofsun Thu 10-Jan-13 12:36:07

Figaro - ah but what do you call pointless? one of my kids was looking to do sport -which historically i might have thought pointless - but then there would be no PE teachers - and the population might become ever less mobile and well.

FigaroHere Thu 10-Jan-13 12:45:43

I wouldn't call a degree in sport pointless - if it is a good academically based course. It is not the subject as such, it is quality and depth of learning.
Creative writing course which accepts people with D for English sounds a bit pointless. People always joke about Media Studies - I wonder if there is any statistics available for how many graduates end up working in the related industry?

RedToothbrush Thu 10-Jan-13 13:21:59

Media Studies
There are currently 10,000 jobs within the entire media industry in the UK.

There are also about 10,000 university places for media.

So it doesn't take a genius to work a pretty big problem with those figures.

HOWEVER, as someone with a degree in media myself, I don't think its pointless. It CAN be a degree which has a lot of practical applications (understanding marketing, understanding politics, understanding how to persuade people). It depends a great deal of the quality and content of the media course you do. Its also not always a 'soft' option degree. Some media degrees are very academic and very difficult. Some are not. It varies widely.

If you know that and understand that before you you take a degree in media, I don't see what the problem is.

Whatdoiknowanyway Thu 10-Jan-13 15:23:18

Who can say what degree is pointless? When I was a teenager I was put off degrees in Maths or History as I didn't want to be a teacher so what was the point... Lots of point of course but there was no one around to tell me about the different career options available.

More recently a highly intelligent, but inarguably elderly, friend of mine queried my daughter's choice of degree (English and History) suggesting she might find it hard to get a job after. That's exactly what my parents'(same generation) attitude had been but ignores the skills acquired in finding, dissecting relevant information, identifying and backing up arguments, presenting research, interpretations and conclusions in clear accessible format. I'd employ her, even if I wasn't her mother smile.

I think media studies and sports science suffer from being relatively new disciplines so employers have less history about the relative merits of the different courses and are therefore slower to translate into perceived benefits for their organisation.

littlewhitebag Thu 10-Jan-13 15:53:48

I am so luck that we are Scottish and DD1 attends a Scottish University so no fees for us. I suspect when DD2 (now 15) goes to uni we will have to pay fees for her - or she may want to go to an English uni.

dreamingofsun Thu 10-Jan-13 16:29:35

little - i think she can go to an english uni and not pay fees still. my son goes to a welsh uni and pays the english fee system. it is determined by where you live. people from europe get free tuition in england. its just the english who don't

FigaroHere Thu 10-Jan-13 17:10:21

Time to move to Scotland ..

mummytime Thu 10-Jan-13 17:11:28

Welsh students get extra help with fees in England see this page from student finance, EU students can get some help but do still have to pay fees and repay their loans if they exceed the repayment threshold for their country.

BTW Surf Science degree sounds Mickey Mouse, but actually has a very good rate of future employment (and includes a lot of business skills).

Scrazy Thu 10-Jan-13 18:08:50

mummytime, are the increased fees here expected to put off EU students studying here?

When I said about our students going abroad and having to find living expenses, I wasn't meaning that I didn't realise that international students don't pay their way here btw. I think it's a good thing that they keep our higher educational system/economy going. What I meant was in my DD's case, I don't have a penny spare. She is thankfully studying here on the full grants/loans.

Scrazy Thu 10-Jan-13 18:10:13

Excuse the double negative. blush

mummytime Fri 11-Jan-13 09:25:28

Proper international students do pay their way (non EU) and more, which is why some institutions really like having lots of them; and most advertise heavily overseas.

My kids do have some savings (thank you Grandad), they will have to mainly live on loans, our income is high enough that we will have to contribute on top (we will draw down from the house if we have to). The better Universities can help more (it could be cheaper to live at Oxford Uni than Exeter for example). My DS may end up at a less prestigious Uni, but studying a highly employable subject. DD1 wants to go to the US, fortunately very competitive places, so if she can get in she should receive financial help (and will have to work, but systems are more set up for it there), DD2 is too young to know yet but has expressed interest in: Oxford and Yale, we'll see.

Rebecca101 Sun 06-Oct-13 07:49:19

I worry very much about the cost of going to university both as a parent and as a teacher. Paying £9K for a course and ending up with a qualification which isn't that highly regarded is a great concern. In years gone by it was only the very brightest who went to university and the government would pay. Now it seems you have to have a degree to compete in the job market, even for traditionally non-graduate roles.

There are still a few ways to avoid the hefty fees though, scholarships are available at some universities, these might be based on; academic ability, social background and even sporting talent on occasions. But for the very hard workers there are also sponsored degrees. These are usually offered by large firms who pay for the tuition fees whilst also offering work experience, under the condition that the student works for the firm upon completion of the degree and on a part time basis whilst studying.
Personally I think this is the way forward and it's my recommendation to any of my students who are concerned about the fees. Of course competition is tough but the hard workers have a good chance with the right application advice. I usually direct them to which has a pretty comprehensive list of the opportunities available as well as some application advice. Hope this is useful to you all.

pixiepotter Sun 06-Oct-13 10:39:14

It's the price of a couple of new cars.Is an investment in yourself not worth that?

curlew Sun 06-Oct-13 10:43:18

My dd has come to the decision that if she doesn't get into one of the "top" universities, then she's not going at all. She isn't listing a "safety". She says she's on,y going into that much debt if it's for one of the best.

But she doesn't have a particular degree requiring career in mind- she would be making different choices if she was, I think.

cory Sun 06-Oct-13 20:36:54

We've just had the latest employability statistics for our university (RG, not Oxbridge). Apparently the number of students unemployed 6 months after graduation was 2.2 % for history, around 2% for MFL and just over 3 % for English. So hardly a ticket to the dole queue then.

Obviously most of those students won't be getting jobs directly related to history or English. But that's the point about many academic degrees: it's transferable skills. A friend's dd who went to a reputable stage school then got a job with the council. Perhaps wasted in one sense- but she wouldn't have got that job without qualifications.

WednesdayRebel Mon 07-Oct-13 06:53:21

I worked with a woman who actively discouraged her 17 yo son from applying for uni courses (in accounting/finance). I was genuinely horrified (which sounds so facetious but I truly could understand why you wouldn't encourage your children to follow their dreams.

I'm half her age, earn twice as much as her, and have the capacity to increase those earnings exponentially over the course of my career. And I wouldn't be in my job without my degree.

InsultingBadger Mon 07-Oct-13 06:55:28

OU is a good alternative - my degree will come in at 2.5k a year part time, so 15k total

ImpOfDarkness Mon 07-Oct-13 07:08:07

Cory, you'd have to break those figures down a bit more for them to be meaningful: are the jobs in question full or part time, long or short term, and in any way related to the degree course?

cricketballs Mon 07-Oct-13 08:23:33

Its not so much the tuition fees that are my concern for DS but the living costs. Our income is above the rate to gain more than the minimum maintenance allowance. Accommodation rates however are very high and I am worried about the costs he will be facing (currently looking to start Sept 2104). We will help him when we can, but we don't have enough disposable income for him to be dependent on this.

nomorecrumbs Mon 07-Oct-13 10:32:59

Living costs are the bugger. Have you considered him taking up a part-time job, if his Uni allows him to do this? (Oxbridge don't allow).

BackforGood Mon 07-Oct-13 10:45:30

I'm not discouraging ds - indeed, we were at an open day this weekend, but I have been presenting different options and getting him to consider different ways of doing things, as well as looking at universities.

I think we need to get our heads round it not being a 'debt' in the traditional sense, but an extra tax to pay once you earn more money, and, as someone said several pages (and months!) ago, our taxes are SO much lower than they used to be in the days of no tuition fees and grants, it just means that slightly more of the tax burden falls on people who have taken out of the system to be educated to a higher level.

What is also very noticeable though, is that jobs you might have entered into with A-levels, some 30 years ago, are now asking for a degree to even apply, so I still think it's worth it, if you are able.

nomorecrumbs Mon 07-Oct-13 10:47:22

"What is also very noticeable though, is that jobs you might have entered into with A-levels, some 30 years ago, are now asking for a degree to even apply, so I still think it's worth it, if you are able."

Exactly, nursing, where you could train as an apprentice at 16 in the now a degree-level profession shock maybe they start a little higher up the chain, but I doubt it's much.

cricketballs Mon 07-Oct-13 10:48:40

he will have to take up a part time job there is no question about that

There are bursaries, grants, additional support for those from lower income families; high income families have more chance of being able to afford to support their DC; we fit into neither of these categories

Bonsoir Mon 07-Oct-13 10:53:05

"They can get a grant of up to just over £3,300 which covers most of the cost of halls."

DSS1 has hall fees of £5,500, plus various extras, plus sport pass = £6,000. Before any meals.

Squitten Mon 07-Oct-13 10:53:50

Our eldest DC is only 5 so goodness only knows what state the higher education system will be in by the time we have to start thinking about it.

When I was studying, university seemed to be what everyone was aiming for and if you could at all get there, that was what you did. Now, however, I would still encourage my DC to consider it but to really look at it as one of many options and to think about how it is going to help them rather than spending all that money simply because they can't think of anything better to do.

As far as payment goes, we are trying to save as much as we can for them but that would be strictly towards tuition. They can fund their own living like we had to (unless they turn out to be Oxbridge geniuses smile)

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now