Oh my GOD - university - how the hell are we going to afford this?

(168 Posts)
ElizabethMyDear Wed 26-Sep-12 19:32:37

I feel a bit sick - DS submitted his UCAS today, and I just looked at the government website about loans and grants. DH and I both work full time, so I knew he wouldn't get a grant, but for maintenance he can only take out a loan of £4788 - that probably won't even cover his rent.

His cousin in his first year at uni gets close to ten thousand a year to live on with grants, loans, and bursery, because his parents both only work very part time hours. I knew we wouldn't get money given like that, but I thought he would be able to borrow the same amount as his cousin gets - I thought it was the same for all students, and varied in how much you have to pay back?

We've got three other kids, no way can we find a spare £5k a year to top him up. And his course (medicine) is really too intensive for him to have a term time job.

He's screwed, isn't he? sad

hugoagogo Wed 26-Sep-12 20:18:29

How low does your income need to be to qualify for a full student loan? <selfish>

VivaLeBeaver Wed 26-Sep-12 20:18:33

How about a gap year of working before going?

If he can get a job, even in tesco, etc and save like mad while living at home it would help. If he could save 9k then that's 3k a year for a standard degree course. I know medicine is 5 years but you get my drift.

stitch Wed 26-Sep-12 20:19:48

This is something i know a little bit about. okie. a lot.

He can get a job. Its not so intensive that he cant work ten hours a week doing something or the other. Some first years I know manage to go out and get completely hammered three or four times a week, work, and still maintain grades. Others maintain grades with the drunken excesses but not the job. A few manage it without the drunken excesses but up to 18 hours a week. 5k is easily earnable over the course of the year.

How do they do it? because the kids who get into medicine tend to be very motivated. they know what they want, and they know they need to work to acheive it.

You will help him out by getting a loan on your mortgage or something similar if needs be.

contact the university finance department. They can put you in touch with any number of organisations that help out students financially. call them, write to them, beg them. Do your research now

Family. There is always someone in the family who has a soft spot for a child who is doing medicine. your dc needs to play their cards right and get either an outright gift, or a loan from aunt, uncle, cousin, grandmother, second removed or whatever it is. where there is a will, there is always always always a way.

A friend gave his reading list to his extended family on amazon, and has all the books he needed as christmas pressies because frankly, his family preferred spending on books for him, than other crap for his brother. not fair, but thats the way that families often work.

Good luck to him. and you... but one final piece of advice. he needs to get his grades this year to have a hope of you having to worry about finance. If he is too busy earning money this year, you wont have to worry about any of this, coz he wont have got the grades to get in.

GetOrfAKAMrsUsainBolt Wed 26-Sep-12 20:20:51

I feel the same. I earn a good salary, but not a fantastic one, and I am newly single so all reliant on me. Her father won't pay.

I will just have a to think that it will be like paying for a kid in childcare again.

It's a ridiculous system isn't it. I would have paid something but to have a limit on the loans available is uttery restrictive for so many.

SomeoneThatYouUsedToKnow Wed 26-Sep-12 20:21:40

I don't know where your DS is studying but £5k should be just enough as long as he gets a summer job next year. He will have a good three months off before Uni starts. He could also start saving now. My DS studies medicine (not in London) and we have been surprised how little it costs. Lots of his mates are skint so they don't do expensive things and even going out it fairly cheap as they go to student bars.
My DS has a room in a shared house this year and the yearly rent is about £3500, it's quite nice and he could have got somewhere cheaper.
My DS could have easily had a weekend job during his first year. He did have a lot of Uni work but not too bad at all. It would not have been difficult to work some evenings as well.
Books cost my DS about £250 but he bought all new and you can get 2nd hand if you plan ahead. Another area where my DS saves a lot is by booking his train trips home in advance, a three hour trip usually costs him only £14 as he books it a couple of months ahead of time.
It is a good idea to make sure your DS knows how to cook and how to budget sooner rather than later. smile.

sleeze Wed 26-Sep-12 20:23:34

I feel your pain. Ds is in the process of completing his UCAS form. We are going to the Bangor open day in a few weeks time (he's not applying for medicine) as according to their prospectus they pride themselves on being the cheapest place to be a student.....!

Viperidae Wed 26-Sep-12 20:23:37

I agree that medics at most unis can work, at least in the first couple of years.

As a voice of experience here, both DS and DD have now finished uni, you do manage it. In both cases we found the money to pay the accomodation and they had to live on or supplement the loan to live on. DDs uni even accepted credit card payment for the hall fees (boosted my Tesco points for Xmas shopping too!)

When the fees went up and commentators were saying it would put off poorer students I maintained it wasn't the poor who would be most affected, it would be those just above the grant level.

Please don't be put off though, it looks daunting but most people do manage it.

SomeoneThatYouUsedToKnow Wed 26-Sep-12 20:27:38

Another thing to remember is that you will be saving money with one less person in your house. I joke with my DS1 that we save loads of money with him being away. He could eat for England and even our electricity bill has gone down you can pass on this saving to your DS if you wanted.

Xenia Wed 26-Sep-12 20:33:17

Roughly the loan covers the rent and sometimes the full or half board. So that leaves the student needing to cover their food, going out, books, travel. If they are from a poor home they will receive a grant. If not then yes there is that deficit to cover which many parents try to. My children worked at univeristy or over university holidays but it depends on the course if that is possible. For me because I picked a career which was well paid I found their cost at university the same as a set of day school fees so it was no different - just 3 years more.

Also plenty live at home so they have nothing to cover as the loan for rent can be used for their food, travel, books etc. Those who don't who are poor get the grant. So it is just those who don't live at home and whose parents are better off who have to cover living costs which most can cover withs ome sort of a job if their families cannot manage to spare them a penny.

Do look at free travelcards. I think my daughter as she opened a Nat West account had a few student rail pass for 4 years. My son applied 2 weeks too late after he had started and did not get one as he missed the Nat West deadline.

GetOrf, in England whilst a resident parent still married to the other parent can choose not to pay a penny, I believe there is a legal right to apply to the non resident parent after a divorce for funding whilst at university (of course does not mean they will pay or can afford it but worth looking into).

hugoagogo Wed 26-Sep-12 20:36:55

I agree I think my ds (13) probably costs us 2-3K a year now, so sending him 5K when he's at uni doesn't sound so daunting. If he had a p/t job then 3k might cover it....

stitch not sure how you can say that we'll get a loan or add the money to the mortgage to help out. For many, that's just not possible for many reasons which are very obvious, and not because they don't want to help or want the best for their kid(s).

Sunnywithachanceofshowers Wed 26-Sep-12 20:39:40

It might be worth finding out if your DS can get any grants or bursaries from the university, or from grant making trusts. One of my friends paid for her MA this way.

LondonMother Wed 26-Sep-12 20:45:33

Funding for a Master's course: there is very limited funding for some courses from the Research Councils, but competition for those is fierce. Universities have bursary/scholarship funding for some top notch applicants and there are also various other schemes, usually publicised on the university website somewhere, but it's all a drop in the ocean, really.

Career development loans are available from banks. Don't know how expensive they are or any of the other terms.

Studying part-time alongside a job is a good way to study as a postgraduate, if the student is very disciplined.

Another option is to work for a year or two after graduating, save up, get the career development loan and pay the balance out of the savings. If the work is related to the study, this isn't just beneficial financially, I think it makes a big difference to how much the student gets out of the Master's.

ElizabethMyDear Wed 26-Sep-12 20:47:38

Oh, my gosh, He has to join the army... shock

I know it's wrong to think like this, but I'm so very pissed off that his cousin gets full funding and but my son is screwed over. Cousin's parents own house outright due to inheritance, and he is an only child. we are juggling four kids, two jobs and a mortgage, and now have to find all this extra money. And his sister will be a year behind him!

I just looked on the student room website, there's a thread on there with students on full grants /loans/bursaries all sneering at the students who's parents top them up, calling them 'spongers' for taking money off their parents, and saying that they should go to university to be independant. But how can you be independant when you can't borrow enough to buy any food?

It just seems that kids from lower income / single parent families have it so easy for university, and kids from really rich families are fine, but the children of ordinary, working couples will just have to manage somehow or forget about uni? The sums in question are huge - it would be like paying school fees, and there was never any question of our affording that.

Tuttutitlookslikerain Wed 26-Sep-12 20:47:40

Dorset, they asked the Officer last night about the Army funding the degree, or sponsoring him. It is really competitive and unlikely apparently.

He doesn't even know what he wants to do at Uni. We have 4 really good ones within commutable distance, one isn't really but DH works really close to it so can drop him off, so he said he is thinking about living at home while he is there.

I have a funny feeling though, that once he gets there he will hate it. He hates sixth form college, and has done since the first week, and has just seen it as a means to an end really. He has begged and begged to me to sign the forms so he can join the Army, but I have always said not until after A levels. It is only know that this man last night said he will earn a bit more money if he goes to Sandhurst as a graduate that he has changed his mind!

Tuttutitlookslikerain Wed 26-Sep-12 20:53:56

Elizabeth, I know exactly where you are coming from re his cousin. DS1 has a friend who's mum is a single parent,dad is still involved and pays maintenance. His mum only works part time and has said she could up her hours but won't because then he won't get the full grant to go to Uni and it will cost her more!

I know people should have to support their children, but it just seems so bloody unfair. If I could get a job I would. DS1 has just lost his weekend job, and is finding it really hard to get another one. I really don't know how, unless you are both working in full time, very well paid jobs, how you are supposed to afford to send your DC to go to Uni!

titchy Wed 26-Sep-12 20:57:48

No loans for masters, but isn't it more sensible to get a job after graduating and do the masters part time, using salary to pay for it. Otherwise they'll be overqualified, with no experience and a shit load of debt!

And I wonder how long the armed forces will keep this up, when they are making cuts left right and centre ...

DorsetKnob Wed 26-Sep-12 21:04:01

I have come to the conclusion over the last 20 years that university is not the be all and end all unless you have a specific goal in mind.

mummytime Wed 26-Sep-12 21:04:53

Are you sure he will only get the minimium maintenance loan? The maximium amount that someone can get on top of that (unless they get University bursaries) is another £3250, not £5000.
I would encourage anyone to start looking into finances before their child applies to University, and yes this may affect where someone applies. In the first year or so medical degrees are not quite so intense, so some kind of work might be possible.

If you have more than one student child, they may both be entitled to some maintenance grant as the household income is shared between them for the student finance calculation. Also at present the fifth year of a medicine degree is funded by the NHS.

However it has always been expected that parents would contribute towards Maintaining their child at University.

ElizabethMyDear Wed 26-Sep-12 21:09:47

And we will have lost his child benefit...

stitch Wed 26-Sep-12 21:22:19

travail, i meant that as a case of doing what you have to do to find the money. Some things are worth it. others arent. and personally i think that funding your child through medschool is something that is worth it. I am telling the op that she needs to explore ALL her options, even if they are things that she normally wouldnt ever consider doing.

Xenia Wed 26-Sep-12 21:39:49

Elizabeth, why is it to cost the same as £12k school fees? The loan covers the £9k a year fees and they also can borrow just under £5k a year which covers rent and in some cases food (or they use that to live on if they live at home).

Therefore the only element unfunded by those middle income parents is just cost of travel, some food, going out, mobile phone, wifi, books. Surely that is more like £3k a year and if they work say 5 hours a week at least half of that is covered leaving a parent to fund £1500 which is not really that much.

I certainliy agree it is unfair that those who are idle, housewives, unemployed and who coudl have worked but have lazed around for years as ever are funded by we hard working tax payers ... as ever plus ca change.

Somieone asked how low must the income be to get the non repayable grant? I am not sure.

Xenia Wed 26-Sep-12 21:41:00

Thish asn't answered the question I had

Grants and Bursaries

These are practically free money! Grants and bursaries, whether given by the government, your college or university, or a charity, are free money that you don't have to pay back.

Up to two-thirds of students are eligible for the government’s Maintenance Grant, sometimes referred to as the Special Support Grant. This cash is targeted at students from lower income families, with one-third of students eligible for the full amount - almost £3,000.

All universities and colleges will offer a range of bursaries. In fact, any student who pays full tuition fees and gets a full Maintenance Grant is guaranteed to be offered a minimum bursary of at least £329, although some institutions offer more than £1,000.

Your university will also have an Access to Learning Fund, which quite simply offers hardship grants for students in financial difficulty. Access Funds tend to run out quickly, so it’s best to get your application in as early as possible.

As well as government grants and university bursaries, hundreds of charitable trusts and foundations run their own grant schemes. These can offer sometimes smaller-scale, but just as important, financial support. Have a search through the Student Cash Point directory to find what’s available to you.

Xenia Wed 26-Sep-12 21:43:08

I think this is it

"Maintenance Grant for living costs

Get an estimate of the loans, grants and bursaries available to you (full-time students only)

Student Finance Calculator Opens new window

Full-time students can apply for a Maintenance Grant to help with living costs. Maintenance Grants are available to students whose household income is £42,600 or less. Your household income is your parents’ or partner’s income and your own.

The maximum Maintenance Grant is £3,250 a year if your household income is under £25,000.
Annual Maintenance Grant rates
Household income Maintenance Grant
£25,000 or less £3,250
£30,000 £2,341
£35,000 £1,432
£40,000 £523
£42,600 £50
over £42,600 no grant

If you get a Maintenance Grant your Maintenance Loan will be reduced.

You apply for a Maintenance Grant through your main student finance application. You can only get a Maintenance Grant if your household income is assessed. This means Student Loans Company will look at your household income and work out how much money you get for your Maintenance Grant.

If you’re a parent whose partner also applies for student finance, you won’t get a Maintenance Grant but will get the Special Support Grant instead. You’ll get the same amount of money and the amount of Maintenance Loan you get won’t be reduced.

You can apply now for a Maintenance Grant for 2012/13."

So that means your just under £5k loan for maintenance is reduced by the up to £3250 - so most of the £5k would be a gift from hard working tax payers because your parents are poor or idle. It is not on top of the £5k so you probably need to live at home or get a job in holidays.

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