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

Knowsabitabouteducation Wed 26-Sep-12 21:46:11

My DS manages on about £25 per week in central London after rent. This is his food, entertainment, transport and phone.

His maintenance loan covers most of his rent, and he has had a very good summer job.

Students are meant to be poor.

BurlingtonBertieFromBow Wed 26-Sep-12 21:48:29

It's bad. It's getting to the point where people are going to have to start a 'university fund' when their child is small, like they do in the US, otherwise it will be very tough

achillea Wed 26-Sep-12 21:50:06

Under £4 a day? Does he eat?

GetOrfAKAMrsUsainBolt Wed 26-Sep-12 21:52:03

My dd wants to join the army, and has wanted to do so for years and goes to cadets etc, however she has looked extensively into sponsirship and army bursaries, and they are incredibly difficult to obtain.

A lot of them will go to the kids who go to Welbeck (the armed forces sixth form), and you are restricted in what subject you can study. Medicine and dentistry, yes, but the rest will insist (iirc) on a maths a level, and that you study physical sciences or engineering at degree level. Apparently Military History is another consideration.

DD looked into it a couple of year ago and was rather disappointed.

xenia thank you - I had no idea that we could even apply for funding from her father post 18. To be honest, I would rather say bollocks to it and fund her myself but it is handy to know and I will look into it.

I am just telling myself that it is just going to have to be a cost I have to absorb - if I had a baby I would have to pay a grand a month for childcare for about 4 years, so at least funding an education is cheaper than a baby.

Knowsabitabouteducation Wed 26-Sep-12 21:56:11

Of course he eats, but he doesn't eat out. He goes home for lunch and all his food is prepared from scratch.

He has been home for the last three months and has been astonishingly stingey.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 26-Sep-12 21:59:44

OMG.
I have read these posts and realised how lucky we have been. Ds1 graduated this year and had a full loan and grant, but lived at home. He worked full time as the uni/college were close to his work. He has hardly any loan to pay back now as he paid a lump sum off and has managed to buy a car, driving lessons and insure it himself since 17. Obviously with working, he didn't have a social life so didn't need money for entertainment as too busy.
I think it is possible if you aren't too choosy about where you do your course and of course you don't want to continue to Masters level. There is no way we could fund a uni education. All support stops for ours when family allowance/ tax credits stop. I have noticed that whilst it narrows opportunities it does encourage them to stand on their own 2 feet. Ds 1 is 21 and is saving for deposit for house which he will have soon. Nothing grand mind, just a 2 up terrace.

My DD is 25 and at the point she applied for student loans/went to uni we were really struggling financially so she got the max. She still needed to work throughout to survive. After taking a year out to work fulltime/save, she did a Masters @ £3700, and taken at the nearest uni so that she could live at home. I gave her £1k from my redundancy and borrowed £2k from the bank which she made the monthly payments for out of the TA job she did alongside the Masters.
She got a teaching post last September and left home shortly afterwards having never paid me any rent! Her current loan debt is about the same as her annual salary shock

DS is in yr 11 and (finally debt free) I can only now start saving something towards uni for him. He understands that IF he/we can afford the fees by then, he will have to live at home.

DiscretionGuaranteed Wed 26-Sep-12 22:14:37

Assuming he doesn't have a job at the moment, you currently pay for all his food, clothes, toiletries, socialising and entertainment, so presumably you can afford to continue paying that much once he's off at university (less child benefit).

Also with four children I think you need to give the money as a loan not a gift, with each child repaying as they start earning in order to fund the next child in line.

Good luck.

Just to clarify re masters degrees - some are funded, if they are a first degree. DD has just switched from a BSc to a MMath after her first year, and all four years of that are funded. It is really hard though as the maintenance loan pretty much just covers halls rent, and parents are expected to find the rest.
Some places offer one off payments if you get certain grades and/ or make them your first choice (Lancaster did that last year)

Do you have a local uni he could study at and live at home?

titchy Wed 26-Sep-12 22:24:07

That's not what other posters mean by masters - they mean post-grad level degree, not m level undergrad which mmath is.

jubileemum Wed 26-Sep-12 22:25:10

tuttutitlookslikerain....my daughter joined the Navy straight from school without a degree. She does get paid less than a graduate, but at age 19 she is earning £26k which will go up after two years to £30K when she will be on the same as the graduates start at. At this point she will still be one year younger than if she had gone to university and the Navy are paying for her to do a degree which she should complete within 3 years of joining the Navy. She has not had to pay to go to uni for three years which amounts to about £50k in total and she will have earned over £80k during that time. That makes her about £130k better off than someone joining straight from uni. Unless your son has a real desire to go to uni, it really does not seem to make sense to do so when he could join the army now and be much better off financially.

Phineyj Wed 26-Sep-12 22:27:17

Before giving up, try the Directory of Grant Making Trusts, and the research councils. I paid for my Masters with a grant from the ESRC.

noddyholder Wed 26-Sep-12 22:31:58

Is the grant extra money or is the loan reduced by an equal amount and thus you receive the same but owe less at the end?

tiredfeet Wed 26-Sep-12 22:33:34

could he plan to have a year out before he starts and work to save up towards going? That's what I did. I did a little travelling (but on the cheap, e.g visiting friends/ family) but mainly worked my butt off and built up some savings to help fund my way through uni. It had the added benefit that I was more mature in my approach to work and my appreciative of the opportunity (both jobs were pretty mind numbing at times) and it also gave me good experience and training to put on my cv (plus one of the jobs became an ad hoc holiday job throughout university and my postgrad studies)

I have a vague recollection of people I know who were planning to do medicine getting jobs as hospital porters / care assistants etc?

Titchy, I know, but a PP said her DC had just gone (so I assumed first year) then was doing masters next year ( so assumed switching courses as DD has done). Not all Masters are the same, as DD BF found out when ringing the student loan company to switch his course -"we don't fund masters courses", "you do fund this one, the code is xxxx", "we don't fund masters", "no, this is different, the course is xxxx", "we don't fund masters"

Gumby Wed 26-Sep-12 22:37:22

My DS manages on about £25 per week in central London after rent. This is his food, entertainment, transport and phone.

Wow that's impressive!! what sort of entertainment & travel
Is he managing on £4 a day?!

I don't think it's getting the whole experience to live at home
I want my kids to experience what I did at uni

Gumby Wed 26-Sep-12 22:38:04

If they can't afford tomleave home to go to uni I'd rather they got a job & moved out with mates tbh

Londonista1975 Wed 26-Sep-12 22:45:23

For a Masters you can get a careers devlopment loans, at least that's what the lady from the finance department at Birkbeck college told me a few weeks ago, but it's capped.

Tressy Wed 26-Sep-12 22:57:35

All off DD's friends have just headed off to uni. It's true that they maintenance loan just about covers rent of halls. One of her friends is living at home, most are receiving full loan and they will need to get a job, have saved a fair bit working in the summer and parents are helping where they can. So it is the case that you might be expected to help for the next 3 years.

Presumably you will save on the household food bill at least, so would you be able to help with that amount each week. e.g £25 say that it will cost to feed at home for the holidays.

Mine is getting full grant, bursaries and loans as I am on a low income, even though I'm working full time. She is still going to try to work to top up her income and she is doing medicine, so it should be possible to earn say £30 a week working a few hours if they can find a job, that is. I struggled to support us both once CB etc ended this summer and she wasn't working, but would have been OK had my income been higher and I could have helped her out if that was the case.

My DD is currently in her 3rd year of medicine. SHe looked into RAF scholarship but was too light (minimum BMI requirements even tho she is fit as they come!) and is surviving on her student loan and £40 a week from us. It is perfectly doable! DD2 has just started university too and will be surviving on the same sum. She is nursing and already has a p/t job lined up which she will try to fit around her placements.

Honestly in the first two years he WILL be able to work as well..and in the holidays. DD1 has done all manner of jobs in the holidays ..Mc Donalds, working as a carer etc etc..

We are in that lovely financial bracket of earning enough (according to the gov) that we don't qualify for bursaries etc (our income was £100 too high..just that much sad) but not enough to support our kids.. we have four one of whom is disabled and dependent on us forever and it sucks. If I didn't work our children would get far more support..

DD1 IS the poor student amongst many wealthier ones. But she gets by. She has learned to eat cheaply and simply, to walk everywhere . She doesn't drive and being in clinical now it's hard for her..buses and train fares are steep, but she manages. We found the first year the worst as halls are expensive, but living in student houses cheaper.

You will have to help.. it's really hard (we have a massive mortgage on a small house because we live in an expensive area of the uk) but they really don't need a lot of money.

And it's worth it. So worth every sacrifice. DD1 assisted with a knee replacement this week and rang me to tell me it was the best day of her life so far grin.

.... weird kid.....

BikeRunSki Thu 27-Sep-12 00:07:19

When I did my masters several people funded theirs with Career Development Loans. Do.they still exist? Uni gave some funding, and there were a few Research Council grants too.

BeckAndCall Thu 27-Sep-12 06:37:01

OP, how much CAN you afford to support him with? Looking at the big annual numbers is scary but if you break it down into an amount per week, just for the number of weeks of term, it might appear more manageable.

Eg, for an 11 week term, could you find maybe £30 per week - after all, there will bean amount he is costing you now on food, transport etc which he won't be when he's at med school.

It becomes easier to cope with the figure if you can break it down like that.

Also, have you looked at the bursary thresholds for his chosen med school - eg, anyone earning below £46k at UCL gets something?

GetOrfAKAMrsUsainBolt Thu 27-Sep-12 09:00:58

medusa you sound like a lovely mother.

maybenow Thu 27-Sep-12 09:11:16

To the person worrying about masters degrees - I've done two masters degrees - one full time and one part time and was able to fund both myself.

The full time one was in london - i borrowed enough for the fees and first few months accommodation from the bank as a 'career development loan' and then worked three jobs even while studying 'full time'. I did two casual jobs related to my masters and one waitressing for evening functions around london (black tie drinks thingies in big museums and other venues, very interesting, hard work but casual - you sign up each week for however many nights you want to work). I was still able to do a six week internship that i didn't get paid for.

The part time one was in scotland where living is far cheaper, i worked full time (38hrs a week) and studyied 'part time' (10-20hrs a week depending on the semester) which was do-able and the best bit is the fees were payable per semester not all at once.

Masters degrees are very very useful but unless it's a route to a phd you also need work experience alongside so don't think about it as a pure study year, it has to be a working and studying (and interning) year.

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