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

Northernlurkerisbackatwork Wed 26-Sep-12 19:35:37

I did these sums earlier in the year. It's really scary. Dd1 is 14 so we've a few years yet but not long. I don't know how they are supposed to get by when they can't borrow enough to live on.

achillea Wed 26-Sep-12 19:39:55

It's awful for you, and so unfair, but he might be able to get a job to top up his income.

Gumby Wed 26-Sep-12 19:48:24

His course won't be too intensive to get a weekend job surely?
He also needs to get a job ASAP to start saving up

Gumby Wed 26-Sep-12 19:48:53

If he's prepared to do a few years as an army doctor they'll pay the fees too

SevenYearBitch Wed 26-Sep-12 19:51:27

i feel you pain.
ds has just gone - he has got a loan which covers his rent, and luckily he does a job, part time, which he can do from anywhere, and i buy all his food, clothes and shopping.

next year though he wants to do a masters.....ive told him to get saving, as i had a pay rise and its doubtful he will get a grant, his loan wont cover his rent either.

i will still buy shopping/food etc but he will have to contribute to his rent. its so damn expensive, im afraid that university will once again be the reserve of the very rich (or the very poor if they can get more financial support)

SevenYearBitch Wed 26-Sep-12 19:52:50

.....and DD wants to go to.

NatashaBee Wed 26-Sep-12 19:54:03

He will have to get a job... and Gumby's idea is a very good one. The armed forces will sponsor his degree for him in exchange for a few years service.

ArthurShappey Wed 26-Sep-12 19:54:47

His course won't be too intensive, many medical students get evening, weekend, holiday jobs. If he lives in halls the loan should cover most of his rent anything else he will (or you will) just have to find. sad

He's going to need to budget very carefully, you're going to have to help where and when you can.

He needs to do whatever he can to budget and plan wisely, starting now! Prepare him as much as you can.

On a separate note, would he consider sponsorship in some way through the armed forces. I believe (although I may be wrong) that the army, navy and air force offer cadetships and sponsorship for students and as a medic he may have more success in getting sponsorship than other degrees?

ArthurShappey Wed 26-Sep-12 19:55:23

Oh cross posts with Gumby, I'm a slow typer.

achillea Wed 26-Sep-12 19:56:15

The armed forces will sponsor his degree for him in exchange for a few years service.

<Noted for future reference>

ArthurShappey Wed 26-Sep-12 19:56:31

Oh but can I say it's not a 'few' years device (I think it's about 11?).

ArthurShappey Wed 26-Sep-12 19:57:06

Well it was 11 or 14 when I applied for cadetship with the Navy.

ArthurShappey Wed 26-Sep-12 19:57:26

Service! Not device! blush

Theas18 Wed 26-Sep-12 19:58:31

Last year dd took full tuition loan and maintenance loan. The maintenance loan almost covered her hall fees ( fully catered). She "works" as a choral scholar for a bursary and we top up a bit.

Sadly Living out is more expensive - rent alone is more than her Loan -argh!

We will be broke after 3 kids Through uni - I'm taking on extra work. I'm lucky I can, but also mindful I'm in a high pressure job and I'm not sure how long it is sustainable.

Tuttutitlookslikerain Wed 26-Sep-12 20:00:42

DS1 was adamant he didn't want to go, wanted to go straight to Sandhurst and become an Army officer.

He went for an interview with the Army last night, with DH (I was not well enough to go) and has now decided he would like to go and join the Army later.

I have absolutely no idea how we are going to afford. DH works full time, I am disabled. It makes me feel sick just thinking about it!

We, also have DS2 who is in yr11 who wants to go!

maillotjaune Wed 26-Sep-12 20:03:59

Medicine should not be too intensive to work in pre clinical years. Harder than for other courses, yes, but not impossible. Finding a job is the bigger problem at the moment though.

StrangeGlue Wed 26-Sep-12 20:05:47

Oh this is tough. Can he live at home whilst he studies with any of the unis he's applied for? At least then there wouldn't be rent/bills/food to worry about (as long as you were okay with still paying for those).

He'll be able to work in the holidays but I think working during term time while doing a medicine degree would be very hard. And also I think it's easy to say"he'll have to work" but when there are so many people who could work full-time/flexibly seeking work that's a bit of a flippant comment.

Some banks do education loans but they of course will have more interest than the student loans.

DorsetKnob Wed 26-Sep-12 20:06:12

Tut, it may be worth looking investigating the army route again as a means to a university education, especially if he still wants to join.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Wed 26-Sep-12 20:09:22

I think you might find some Univeristies won't let medical students have term time jobs.....

To the person whose son is doing a masters - I don't think there are student loans for Masters - we had to fully fund our son for this two years ago.

Zoomania Wed 26-Sep-12 20:11:06

Consider where in the country he wants to go.... London etc more expensive to live in than further north. Many medics do get a part time job...they typically work hard-play hard so sacrificing an evening or two out will not only be cheaper (less alcohol consumed!) but top up the loans. Medic friends did everything from Bar work, spending an evening a week tutoring (could earn £60 per week ), life guarding, working in a care home doing a night shift etc. As long as it is instead of a night out rather than eating into study time it is doable for the first few years. Later on it may be harder but there may be hardship funds available through uni. Once he starts earning he may be in a position to pay you back if you were able to loan him money rather than give it out right IYSWIM. Some students also lived at home if they lived in a city which isn't ideal but if it was that or not going at all then would tht be possible? Good luck!

Zoomania Wed 26-Sep-12 20:15:15

Also meant to add that much working in holidays not always possible. For the first few years sometimes exams are scheduled immediately after a holiday so they are spent cramming. Although there should be a long summer break in the first two or three years. In the clinical years he may only get 4 weeks a year off. Again the timings of exams may mean that revision is needed.

SevenYearBitch Wed 26-Sep-12 20:17:00

really? no funding for a masters at all? fuck. if thats true then there is no way i can fund it - (this year his accommodation is £5300 per academic year, his course fees are £9000, and his shopping and living costs are around £45 per week.

if none of this is funded through student finance loans then he simply cant do it. we dont have that kind of money.

LeeCoakley Wed 26-Sep-12 20:17:03

Dd1 has to support herself with part time work. She wants to take a Masters next year and we had assumed there would be some form of loan sad. So that is definitely just for the rich. I don't know how I'm going to tell her.

dementedma Wed 26-Sep-12 20:17:32

Similar problems here. Thought did would get loan/grant to cover cots but not so. Started the course anyway in the hope that a miracle will happen and told Dd to learn as much as she can while she"s there with the understanding that she may have to withdraw at some point. Have one more months fees and accommodation left then pray the remortgage will come through. anyone know of a spare room in Glasgow? :-(

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.

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

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.

LittleFrieda Thu 27-Sep-12 09:11:39

OP -It's worth him registering with a babysitting agency, depending on where his med school is (bad luck if it's Keele as that is pretty much in the middle of a field grin). Babysitting agencies love med students as they are enhanced CRB checked AND parents love them. It's possible to do a couple of evenings a week, and make £40 a week quite easily. But it does depend on where his university is and where his halls of residence are.

My son is thinking of intercalating, which will turn his 5 year medical course into 6 years. shock

Tressy Thu 27-Sep-12 12:52:27

What a good idea re baby sitting. Will pass that onto DD too. Sure she would love a night in front of someone elses TV smile

fussychica Thu 27-Sep-12 16:18:48

We put a few pounds away every month for DS while he was growing up and his grandparents chipped in a few pounds here & there - even with lousy interest rates for the last few years it's still a tidy sum. It wasn't put away with a specific pupose in mind as we had no idea he would go to Uni until he was in the 2nd year of his Spanish Bachillerato exams. It has come in rather handy and was a nice surprise to help him get through his studies. I'd advise any parent to do this if you can afford to - it doesn't need to be a lot, ours certainly wasn't, then whether they go to Uni or not it's a nice nest egg at 18.

noddyholder Thu 27-Sep-12 16:24:04

We saved in the hope of paying ds fees etc as we only have one child we thought we could do it until the fees rocketed!

Asinine Thu 27-Sep-12 16:37:48

I worked as a hospital cleaner in med school. I even got double time on weekends. I learnt loads as a 'fly on the wall' about nurses, doctors and above all patients.

I think it should be built into the course, much more useful than all the complicated biochemistry we were taught and never used again.

StrangeGlue Thu 27-Sep-12 16:51:41

He could lodge with a family rather than go in halls/private rent as that'd be cheaper and could offer to do babysitting for the family.

Masters funding - if it's a science masters you can apply for funding via a research council. You apply via your university - get her to ask her head of department she'll need very good grades to get it though.

ElizabethMyDear Thu 27-Sep-12 20:35:05

Been stressing about this all day.

Bursaries, I don't get bursaries. Why give more money thousands, from some uni's - to the students to whom student finance already gives the most money?

The Student Room is a real eye opener. There are kids on there who have literally only a few pounds a week after paying their accomodation - five or ten. Because they only get the minimum loan and their parents can't top up.

And the bursary crowd boasting about how they will be able to save most of what they are given, as it is so more than they can spend. Or that they are putting it towards foreign holidays, or just going to blow the lot in Hollister.

It's such a random, divisive system, and not just the parents but the students are angry. I can forsee a lot of resentment festering on campuses. Because 18 year olds don't have the tact to not talk about money, if they've got £10k to spend they are going to show off.

Tressy Thu 27-Sep-12 21:34:48

Bursaries have always been available, it's nothing new.

Quiteoldmother Thu 27-Sep-12 22:30:59

Agree it's really tough - had the 'shock' last year when DS1 went to uni, and DS2 has gone this year, both on almost minimum loans. Both worked in summer holiday which helps. I had also saved the child benefit for many years so did have some savings. We have cut back on everything possible, eg often use bikes, cheap food, one week holiday, no heating on yet, charity shop clothes. Hard to believe we're having to live like this on a supposedly good salary. I have even considered letting out one/both of their rooms at home! I agree may not be realistic for your DS to get job while studying medicine - but it should pay off in the end. And if stuck there seem to be good free overdraft offers eg Halifax loaned DS1 £500 in Y1 and would have increased it in Y2. I think the moneysavingexpert website has info about student overdrafts (says Coop bank good). Hall fees seem to vary enormously - maybe cheaper to use catered accommodation than self catering.

Xenia Fri 28-Sep-12 11:10:22

It is certainly random and unfair. You could have a very very rich parent who pays you nothing which means you don't get any free bursary. Or you could have a cash in hand taxi driver father who pays hardly any tax so you get the bursary and a load of loans too and cash from the parent. Or my children have had no debt as I've paid the fees and the hall fees and paid them £100 a week for expenses. That ende dup about £10m,000 a year in total when fees were much lower so was about the same as their school fees so no pain for me but then I did never give up work whilst some women give up all careers and their income which sometimes isn't that wise.

Numberlock Fri 28-Sep-12 11:18:57

Assuming all A Level exams are finished late May/early June, that leaves 3 months for him to get a job next summer and get some savings behind him. Plus it's approaching Christmas so he can hopefully get some work now. And he'll have to do this in all the rest of the holidays if he's not allowed to work during term-time.

Yes it's shit the way university education has been handled and I have twin boys in the same position as your son OP (due to start uni October 2013) so I feel your pain (and anger) but that's another thread!

BobbiFleckman Fri 28-Sep-12 11:21:01

based on waht people say here about the med school hours, a student could feasibly get a job as an au pair and have rent / food taken care of AND be paid on top, provided the family kept hours regular - so could do breakfast & school drop off daily plus babysitting evenings.

Tressy Fri 28-Sep-12 11:37:27

Same with any means tested benefits, you will always get people cheating the system. No need to tar students who's parents are on a low income and cannot help with them.

alemci Fri 28-Sep-12 11:41:00

the bursaries aren't that great either. My dd gets one to cover the fees as it is medical plus a little bit more but then the student loan is not great and is reduced because of the bursary(i know she doesn't have to pay bursary back).

The loan etc is not enough even to cover rent so we have to top up plus relatives help. It is awful as you don't realise til you start to investigate.

we have 2 other children. then you lose some of your family allowance.

she did get offered a part time job but it would have taken 2 hours to travel there. she is trying to get p time work but her course is quite intense with long hours

Tressy Fri 28-Sep-12 13:14:45

DD's bursary doesn't bring her income up to 10K either. That would be a generous bursary of 3K and her uni doesn't offer that much.

GetOrfAKAMrsUsainBolt Fri 28-Sep-12 13:29:13

It's a terrible system. Dd has a friend who is at university in london, her parents are wealthy but refuse to top up as they do not approve of the course she is on.

So you have this ridiculous concept of a student being autononmous enough to choose their own course, but completely reliant on their parents for living expenses, and subject to the whims of their parents like this poor girl.

According to dd she is at her wits end, constantly stressed about money and worried about the future.

forevergreek Fri 28-Sep-12 13:33:52

I do wonder though how long it will take for students to get themselves out of debt. I mean the average uk wage is something like £26000 ( I think), so it they have £50k debt it's going to take forever . Even if they live in London and a better job ( say £40k salary, then they are looking at almost £20k a year for renting a one bed flat! Plus huge living/ commuting costs, there's barely anything left from that figure so still takes forever)

Also consider the option of no uni but training in a specialised field. Out of a group of 10 friends from school, I was the only one who chose not to go ( had a place). 8 years on, I have trained, travelling, have a good job, blah blah. Unfortunately all the other 9 have finished uni, now live back with parents and have either no job or just a basic supermarket job to tie them over. I think in this climate, with jobs often hard to find, uni is good for specific degrees ( ie medicine, dentistry), but studying English or history is becoming pointless.

Another 2 friends wanted to study history/ architecture. One did and is now also still looking for work ( 5 years after finishing). Whilst the other chose a different route. He volunteered abroad building wells and schools in Africa ( 2 years). He studied short courses whilst away to build up his portfolio. He then returned and started an apprenticeship with a firm, and now over the last few years has worked his way up, gained qualifications through work along the way and is now v high up and v successful

Sorry not putting anyone off, just trying to show how other options may be available, especially to those who aren't hugely interested and are just following the crowd

tryingtoleave Fri 28-Sep-12 13:48:14

Here, in Australia, almost everyone goes to local unis because there are no living grants. Rural students, who don't have that option, commonly work for 1-2 years before going to uni to earn money and to qualify as 'independent' (which means they can get a little govt assistance). The idea of getting money to live a student life seems quite a luxury to me.

3nationsfamily Fri 28-Sep-12 14:29:21

I find it pretty incredible that parents leave it until the child completes their UCAS form before considering whether or not they can afford to send them to University! Surely there has to be some responsibility to plan in advance a la the US system of saving for college from a young age and budget mortgage/ family planning accordingly. Of all professions, doctors are the most employable and most banks would consider them a very good risk for lending via student loans/ overdrafts to be repaid from future earnings.

SoggySummer Fri 28-Sep-12 14:37:02

I have friends who have been in a similar dilemma recently and I think we will be in a similar position to you (prays for a lotto win).

Friends sons has taken a "gap" year before going to Uni. He wants to be a teacher and has found a job for a year at an indepenent boardingschool he is the extra adult on trips, helps run certain clubs and helps out on the sport side. He lives in and using the money earnt to put towards uni next year. Sadly it was the only way he can afford to go and even then it will be tough. Its given the whole family an extra year to help save.

Its not ideal and although he is committed his mum is worried this gap year may become permanent. On the plus side he is getting lots of useful experience for a future career as a teacher.

Apparently he has other friends also taking gap years - but no spending it travelling around Africa building wells but working full time in call centres, offices etc (some totally disconnected to their future careers) in order to get a lump sum behind them.

This may not be suitable for medicine - not sure how it works as my eldest is only in year 9.

goinggetstough Fri 28-Sep-12 14:56:18

3nations you have to remember that American parents whose DCs are starting university this October knew 18 years ago that they needed to save for tuition fees etc . In the UK the increases in tuition fees, decrease in loans etc, general costs etc has been more recent and therefore the new university parents have not had this lead in time.

GetOrfAKAMrsUsainBolt Fri 28-Sep-12 15:03:22

3nations this is new legislation - parents haven't known for 18 years that there will be a cap on how much loan that their child could take out.

Xenia Fri 28-Sep-12 15:22:40

Yes, no one was told there would ever be fees. My daughters' fees were £1k a year in 2005 or whenever, now fees are 9x as high and before their time when most of us graduated there were no fees at all. Mind you when I got a degree only 15% of people got them and only a third of those got a 2/1 or higher so it was a pretty rare thing.

Tressy Fri 28-Sep-12 15:34:34

Well it pretty difficult to plan when the government gave approx 10 months notice to treble the fees. From debate to applying for UCAS. How they got away with it I have no idea.

Also it's not appropriate to compare funding in other countries to our own. We are a very heavily taxed nation and therefore expect our DC's education to be funded as has been the case for many years. We pay in what we can afford by way of direct and stealth taxes and expect a level of public services. It should take a whole different system to be able to tell us to stuff it, we won't educate you and/or treat you when you are ill etc etc etc...

GetOrfAKAMrsUsainBolt Fri 28-Sep-12 15:43:26

I actually find it 'pretty incredible' that someone would make such an ill-informed comment without knowing the background of the subject, before they come swooping in to comment about people's poor financial planning. [Hmm]

ElizabethMyDear Fri 28-Sep-12 15:52:34

Yes, I'm the stupid one. I should have investigated earlier. I just sort of assumed that, while I knew university was going to cost a lot, that they would lend you enough to go. I knew it would have to be paid back, but not that there would be such a shortfall. I bet loooads of working families with teens don't know about it. I thought you only had to save for your kids uni if you didn't want them to take out a student loan.

How long before tuition fees are means tested too?

Tressy Fri 28-Sep-12 16:00:23

I only started looking at funding when DD was in year 11 and of course it changed completely between then and now but I don't think they ever loaned anymore than the full maintenance loan of around £4500.

It's always been the case that the grant and loan was means tested hasn't it?

OP I don't know your circumstances but there should be some grant and bursary available up to a household income of 45K.

ElizabethMyDear Fri 28-Sep-12 16:04:40

I bet if I started a thread in chat with the title 'how much will you be paying per month for your children to go to university' most people with kids a bit younger than DS will answer - 'nothing - they can take out a student loan'.

But if they are a two parent, working family, they will find out that that won't be nearly enough. not even close.

I am trying hard not to add up what we would gain in Student grant and Tax credits if I gave up work to be a SAHM. If I did the calculation I think i would weep. Or quit work.

Xenia Fri 28-Sep-12 16:07:37

The grant was always means tested but there used to be no fees. So when I went I got zero grant due to my parents' income and they gave me the same sum as the full grant but there were no fees and the state was only funding 15% of people to go so it was a much smaller burden and most people did not take or pass A levels.

Tuttutitlookslikerain Fri 28-Sep-12 16:08:37

We used to have live in Wales, but moved for DH's job, after trying to live apart for months and him coming back at weekends. Had we have known about the fees situation we would have stayed living there and made it work, somehow.

DS1 is going to look at Lincoln Uni tomorrow with his friends. He can commute there and live at home. That is the only way we can do it. He is still in two minds if he wants to go.

violathing Fri 28-Sep-12 16:16:47

So only rich people or poor people can attend uni? What sort of incomes are we talking of for the cut off for a maintenance grant?

Tressy Fri 28-Sep-12 16:32:58

Viola, it's about £42,600 cut off for grant and some bursaries. The maintenance loan is up to £5,500 and more for London.

Accomodation costs can be as low as £3,120 say £80 per week, so that leaves some money to live on and presumably parents have been able to feed the student at home so can perhaps afford to help out the same when they are away. They are only away 33 weeks in the year. So it's just about do-able.

BeckAndCall Fri 28-Sep-12 17:26:47

The maintenance loan for outside of London for those above the income threshold is actually only £3400, which didn't cover the cost of halls for either of my kids last year.....

ggirl Fri 28-Sep-12 17:32:23

It is bloody hard...dd in 2nd yr and I upped my hrs at work to help her out and as a consequence she gets loads less loan....aaargh.

webwiz Fri 28-Sep-12 17:39:32

I think there is definitely a problem with how student finance is being "portrayed"- we are being given a political/media message that its fine, nothing is paid up front and there are loans available but the reality is if you are just above the income threshold then your DCs can only access a proportion of the loans and they don't even cover self catering halls at most universities.

alemci Fri 28-Sep-12 17:54:29

exactly webwiz and also most people on middle income don't have any money to save because we are being so heavily taxed and the cost of living has risen rapidly since 2008. 43K is nothing in Greater London. I am sure the cut off threshold was higher not so long ago

i wasn't able to save my family allowance as I needed it most of the time for day to day stuff for my dc.

TBH i just hope my dd can manange but then her ys is only one school year below but wants to take a gap year.

the accommodation for my dd's university is £540 a month and is not in London though she does get a bus pass for the city and free insurance which is something

JobCarHouseNoBaby Fri 28-Sep-12 18:05:13

I went to uni 2003-9 and had income of £6k per year. £3k was student loan, other £3k was earnt part time during term and by working three jobs over summer.

Remember whilst very pricey, the tuition fees are paid when you graduate nowadays. So really your DC need to find rent and living costs. My loan covered rent and my earnings covered living. It is totally possible and I had a budget spreadsheet my dad gave me which helped me manage money still using it

I can't get my head around parents giving dc cash to go to uni. My parents had a frank discussion with me when I was at 6th form - we are broke so you need to get a job and save for uni. I did 4 years and survived.

webwiz Fri 28-Sep-12 18:17:56

But the whole system works on parents giving money JobCarHouseNoBaby that's why the maintenance loan is means tested.

TheCatInTheHairnet Fri 28-Sep-12 18:28:23

This thread has been curiously reassuring. We have to start paying for the first of 4 expensive US college educations in 3 years for DC1. We have already told him he will have to work before, during and afterwards to help towards it, take loans, apply for every scholarship available.

But, there was a sentence further up the thread that resonated with me, about how much they cost living in your home right now. In the past 3 days alone, I've handed out over $300 for his school lunch account, a new tshirt, a couple of social things and for a train fair into the city. And that's not even starting with how much it costs to feed him, drive him around, his phone, etc, etc When I add that all up, all of a sudden Uni seems a little bit more affordable.

JobCarHouseNoBaby Fri 28-Sep-12 18:39:16

My loan was means tested too. Because my parents earnt above the threshold I only got the minimum £3k per year. Parents gave me nothing. But I think working all summer before uni and during my 4 years there taught me a lot. I still went out and had fun but learnt how to manage my cash to allow it.

Also don't forget student loans aren't nearly as expensive as personal loans. I just got my annual statement this week - they charged me £150 interest on a balance of £8k - for the whole year. My repayments come out in my pay along with tax and NI so I don't "miss" the money and it's not counted when applying for normal credit such as mortgage.

I realise students now have much more to pay off than me but it's just a form of tax. Don't think of it like a credit card.

I would recommend getting supermarket part time jobs. I used to transfer between home and uni asda so could work in one job whether at home or uni. Hours are good to fit around uni and you get employee discount on food shops!

ThatVikRinA22 Fri 28-Sep-12 19:14:50

posting with my old name so no one gets me muddled with the other tutu on this thread!

my DS is a lincoln. he is loving it - he did the first 2 years at home and the is now doing a third living there. i think its a good uni in a great place.

ds has been investigating how he can do his masters next year - he has some ideas in place which are really impressive and he seems determined to find a way.

have to take my hat off to him.

Quiteoldmother Fri 28-Sep-12 19:49:27

I think OP is right that people don't realise about the shortfall. I certainly didn't realise until DS1 went to uni in September last year. It was a late decision so we only applied for loan in August. Had to get private hall of residence accommodation, self catering and cost £130 p week for a minimum 43 week contract (with no get out clause). He got minimum loan of about 3500 so was 2000 short before paying for food, books etc. We simply had not anticipated how much it would be until literally about a month before he went. Spent the year since then tightening belts in anticipation of DS2 going this year! But I am sure OP is right that many just don't realise because everything related to student finance has changed so much in recent years.

webwiz Fri 28-Sep-12 19:50:25

DD1(21) had a saturday job throughout the whole of sixth form and so did most of her friends but by the time DD2(19) was sixteen hardly anyone could find a job. DD1 did summer work at a factory between her first and second year but this year they didn't take on any temporary staff. It isn't always easy to just "get a job" and depends on where you live.

DD2 who is just starting her second year has a job working in the university bar, hopefully this will give her some extra cash but be flexible to enough to not affect her studying because after all that's what she's there for and its 2:1 or nothing these days.

Xenia Fri 28-Sep-12 21:22:14

I don't agree that only the rich or poor can afford to go.

All the poor get is an extra £1500 or something isn't it? The middle earners have to borrow their maintenance and can borrow up to about 5000, bit under that. If you are poor then you are given 3200 of that and you borrow the balance up to the £5k. So you are NO better nor worse off in the meantime whatsoever.

So whether you are poor or middle earner the issue is if you don't live at home can you afford to pay rent and eat on the just under £5k you borrow plus whatever you earn in the holidays etc. The answer is of course you can even if your parents don't pay a penny unless you ave used to some kind of extravagant ilfe of riley.

The real issue many parents have is they don't like the idea of the child taking on £9k fees debt and £5k maintenance debt for each of 3 years so they choose to pay some of that to the child instead but they don't have to.

When and if it becomes clear that fora particular course children will be better off without going on it and getting a job instead then market forces shoudl do their work and the more pointless courses or unpopular ones will wither on a vine.

goinggetstough Fri 28-Sep-12 21:56:37

xenia the maximum a student from a poor family can get is £7125. (Loan and grants) many universities they top this up with another bursary so a student could get 8/9000 depending on university. This comes in a variety of ways accommodation reductions, fees waiver etc

The minimum a UK student can get is £3575 and their parents are expected to contribute. They are not compelled to by law but without their help a student can be in great financial difficulty. There are a variety of reasons why a parent can't or won't fund an undergraduate DC and the problem is that the loans these DC are allowed to take out rarely if ever even cover their accommodation. Many of these parents would be happy for their DC to take out a loan for £5000 for living expenses but that is the problem they can't!

webwiz Fri 28-Sep-12 21:57:59

I think the new tuition fee regime will make some courses fall by the wayside and will make some people think again about university. In fact I was talking to an acquaintance last week who's son has decided not to go to university and is temping through agencies at the moment. He is a bright boy and was definitely put off by the cost.

I went to university and so did DH and I think the experience was useful both in career terms and for the sheer joy of studying a subject in depth. (Not sure that DH feels the same way about his maths degree!). My DDs have both chosen to go to university and DS(15) wants to go as well . I don't want them to spend the whole time working and worrying about money. DD1 switched to a 4 year course so we have an extra year of funding both the girls but after this year we will be down to just one. We can afford it but it is a lot of money and must be hard for those who are just over the threshold.

SomeoneThatYouUsedToKnow Fri 28-Sep-12 22:18:39

It is true that there are many Uni courses that do not seem good value for money. DS1 and DS2 have chosen courses which are extremely likely to lead to well paid, secure and interesting careers. I am happy to help fund them as I know it will have a huge long term benefit. Both their courses are well respected and have a high proportion of Lectures/tutorials etc. I would be a lot less happy to help fund them to do a 'wishy washy' degree with less than ten hours contact time a week.

TheCatInTheHairnet Sat 29-Sep-12 01:32:06

See, Someone, that's the irony we face. I have always argued with my DH that our children can take any degree they like. He has always said that he wouldn't be prepared to pay for a degree in Lala Studies. His degree is an MMath and mine is in Social Studies. It's the eternal argument!!

However, the nearer it gets to paying almost half a million dollars in college fees, once all 4 have graduated, the more I'm coming to that way of thinking!!

TheCatInTheHairnet Sat 29-Sep-12 01:33:28

I'm knocking Social Studies then btw. Just the crazy made up degrees, entirely developed to make money.

TheCatInTheHairnet Sat 29-Sep-12 02:03:41


By the way, Xenia, I love the fact that you can even find a way to bash stay at home mums in a going to University thread. With us all being lazy cows and all.

Goes and calculates the amount of money I have, singlehandedly, raised over the last year for a centre for deprived parents. And how many hours my children have spent in a food bank. Does that make my life more valid to you?!!

mummytime Sat 29-Sep-12 07:57:36

Xenia, the full maintenance loan doesn't necessarily cover evenHall fees, so even the poorest students may well struggle.

On another note do be careful what you consider to be LaLa studies, as for example I happen to know that "Surf Studies" is actually a very business focused degree, and its graduates do quite well.

However having just visited US college day, and talked to a lot of US colleges; I think the big shock for UK ones will be those degrees which offer very little in terms of contact hours. It is also quite interesting to talk to places, which quickly talk to you about why their courses are better values, and include things such as "the Mid-West has a lower cost of living".

I started to think about the cost of University when my son was about 5; when his best friend was pulled out of State school and went private, to be honest. But I had already seen the US system in action, so knew what was coming.

Xenia Sat 29-Sep-12 12:27:51

Yes, I think I gave the figures. The loan covers the £9k a year fees and the maintenance bit you can get is just under £5k. Most students also work. I think with your work and the £5k you can usually cover rent, food and travel reasonably well. If a parent also contributes that of course makes it easier.

I suspect someo of my children adored few contact hours - I heard one takling about 3 hours of lectures a week nd that was a bonus from her point of view (and she i s still doing pretty well at work despite that lack of contact) >I suspect the lack of university contact hours gives you much more time to make contact in traditional student ways with your hobbies and pleasures and contacts and thoughts of work - although I am sure that is not quite what parents feel they want for the children.

glaurung Sat 29-Sep-12 13:16:37

£3.5k is quite a lot less than £5k xenia and in most cases won't cover accommodation costs. That is all the maintenance loan that a child with well off parents can get these days. It's not that these parents are paying some of the loan for their children (which would be a bit daft, as they will quite possibly end up paying no more back even if they take a larger loan), it's that the children of better off parents are only allowed to take up 65% of the loan than other children are allowed. As even the full 5k loan isn't enough to live on without earning extra from part-time jobs in many university towns, having to find the extra 35% of the standard loan as well as the extra needed on top of the loan does put some students in a very difficult position. If parents can't or won't top up they will struggle, especially if they can't get or aren't allowed to have term time employment.

Xenia Sat 29-Sep-12 14:27:21

Quite a few get the maximum loan rates below and some get part of it as a total gift by way of bursary if the parent is poor.

Very few students don't work so they will have this plus their earnings. A good few are lucky to have parents who help too but I thin you can manage without that if you have to. Many live at home too.

"Maximum Maintenance Loan rates for full-time students
Where you live and study Maintenance Loan
You live at home £4375
You live away from home and study outside London £5500
You live away from home and study in London £7675


glaurung Sat 29-Sep-12 15:20:27

Sorry Xenia, this thread isn't about people eligible for the maximum loan. It's about people eligible for only the minimum loan (65% of the max), ie: £2843 (live at home); £3575 (live away from home not in London); or £4988 (London).

The 'live away from home, not in London' rate is not enough for most parts of UK. To make this up to the circa £9k that is suggested one needs to live on students need to earn an extra £5.5k which is 21 hours per week (every week of the year) on minimum wage. Simply not possible at oxbridge or on demanding courses like medicine as the OP was talking about.

Tressy Sat 29-Sep-12 17:11:52

What income level would only qualify for the reduced loan? Surely parents on such an income level would make sure their over 18, who is studying, is fed whilst away from home. It must be a small minority who wouldn't help out if they could. Had they had this attitude a couple of years earlier then they wouldn't be still living with their kids as it would be neglect.

Ok, legally they don't have to help and I think universities would have some sort of provision if a student can prove they have no money to eat whilst looking for a job. They have hardship funds.

webwiz Sat 29-Sep-12 17:21:02

No one is saying they won't help Tressy just that its difficult!

Tressy Sat 29-Sep-12 17:25:05

It's no more difficult that it's always been. Tuition fees apart.

I cannot help mine as I have just enough income (well below average) to cover my living expenses, cb and tax credits were a lifeline when she was at home. If I earned a couple of grand a year more I would easily be able to give DD enough money to feed herself.

Xenia Sat 29-Sep-12 17:27:23

Yes, that's true

"All students from England studying a first undergraduate degree,
regardless of their level of household income can receive a basic
maintenance loan of £3,575 per annum."

So if you are reasonabnly well off you borrow £3575 and your parent coudl make it up to £5500 £1925 difference = £37 a week. Or you earn it or in most cases a bit of both as has been said rent is likely to be fairly high.

In my day if you were middle income you got not a penny loan or gift for maintenance and either your parents paid or you paid yourself or you didn't go.

Manchester suggests

Estimated Living Costs
(based on 2011/12 figures)
(40 weeks)
Accommodation* (an average cost for selfcatering

Meals (based on a budget of £35 per week) £1,400
Books and Stationery £375
Clothes £375
Local transport £500
Other general living expenses
(e.g. photocopying and printing, laundry,
phone calls, consumables, entertainment,
sports, cooking equipment etc)

Total £8,240


Knowsabitabouteducation Sat 29-Sep-12 18:32:50

The problem is not with the rich or the poor, but the squeezed middle.

The problem is not particularly with London, but with provincial universities.

My DS1 is in London, and he gets a bigger loan (£5000), and has a wide choice of accomodation. He doesn't have day-to-day transport costs, and the supermarket costs are the same as anywhere.

DS2 is in Bristol. His loan is ?£3500. He has no choice over halls, which cost £4200.

DS1 has shared room, no bathroom; DS2 has single ensuite. DS2 didn't have a choice of cheaper accomodation, so has to pay the higher rate.

We are paying DS2's hall costs, and he will use his loan to pay for everything else. Not sure how the figure of £9000 is worked out.

Having had both DSs home for the summer, and both of them gone now, I do realise that they eat a lot while they are here, so that is a savings for us.

Both boys were in private school at around £17000 pa. We are saving quite a bit now.

I am of the camp that believes they should be responsible for their own higher education, so should take maximum loans. I do believe that students have needed loans for many years now, so there should be no surprise to parents.

I was at university in the mid-80s when the grant system started to shift. When I started my degree, the grant ranged from £410 - c£1500. Midway, it shifted to £205 minimum and I think it went to zero shortly thereafter. Clearly, parents needed to make a contribution. You have to be a very naive parent to be taken by surprise by this nowadays.

The fees situation is relatively new, but this is all covered by loans, so no one should be put off doing a lucrative course.

asheepatthewheel Sat 29-Sep-12 19:57:05

Well count me in as naive then. I had assumed that a loan, since it is repaid (unlike a grant which they had in my day) would cover all (albeit modest) costs.
It is repaid, so why not allow students to borrow what they need as independent adults? Why are parents expected to make up the difference?
We will have three at uni, we have modest incomes, a mortgage to pay, pensions to contribute to etc etc. We were hoping to pay off our mortgage by the time we retire but it looks like this won't be possible now.
We could never have afforded private education for them, I can see how, if we had, it would have been just an expense continued for longer.

SomeoneThatYouUsedToKnow Sat 29-Sep-12 20:20:29

You can probably shave a couple of thousand pounds of the figures given by Manchester Uni (see Xenia's post above). The cheapest self catering accomodation at Manchester is just over £3200 per 40 week contract rather than the 'average' cost of £4200 and I am sure you could save on your general and travel costs if you really had to. Privately rented accommodation is often cheaper still.

However you look at it, it is still a lot of money.

As I said in an earlier post you can definitly work while you study if you are doing medicine (probably with the exception of Oxbridge)

DilysPrice Sat 29-Sep-12 20:47:13

The loan system is extremely generous - most women in particular will have a large chunk written off - and that's why the Treasury won't let all students borrow as much as they'd like to.

I agree the entire system has been very badly explained, but actually the assumption that dual income parents will subsidise their children's living expenses has been in place for decades.

LondonMother Sat 29-Sep-12 20:50:03

I suppose parents are expected to make up the difference because not all these loans will be repaid, and the bad debts are covered by the taxpayer.

LondonMother Sat 29-Sep-12 20:55:23

I agree, Dilys, about the need for parents to support their children having been there for a long time. I was at university in the 80s and got well below the full maintenance grant, which was means-tested. My parents were not on high salaries, so the means-testing can't have been that generous (although of course the whole system of grants and no fees was munificent compared with the loan system in place now). They topped my grant up to the maximum out of their own after-tax income. At a time when few young people went to university that was a significant extra expense for them. Lots of my contemporaries would have been working at my age and either living at home and paying rent or living away from home and self-supporting. Different times.

alemci Sat 29-Sep-12 21:54:07

I totally agree asheep. that is my take on the situation. we could never afford private ed for ours and we have 3, so why are we suddenly expected to top up our dds university costs.

I think the student loan should be more generous regardless of parents income and if they don't pay it back, so what. I am sure most of them will and their parents and forefathers have been taxed to death over the centuries.

Xenia Sat 29-Sep-12 22:10:01

In the 80s I got no grant at all due to parental income and my parents paid it all. This is not new. In the 1940s my father couldnt' do medicine as his first degree as his fatehr had already funded his brother in it (long course, expensive) so he did a science degree first. Then luckily post war grant funding came in and after 3 year degree he moved on to 6 or 7 years doing medicine. My mother though says she supported him from her wages during this student years so I bet the grants in the 1940s were not that generous.

The UK has moved to a country of total takers who think the state will provide everythning on a plate. It is rather good now to see that Labour brought in these university fees and the gravey train has stopped and student children or their parents might actually have to fork out for something which others who do not go to unviersity are in part funding and from which thes tudent will benefit for 40 years of wages thereafter. When something is for nothing peoople don't appreciate it. We need to change this take take take culture.

So the Bristol example his hall fees are about £1k less than the loan he can take out but also remember it is possbile to get interest free over drafts and also bank loans as a student too plus most of them work so even without parental help it is not too bad. Also some children are just so spoiled htey think things like trips out to eat are necessities when plenty of us at university were used to having a potato for a meal. Scottish students used to take a sack of oats to university as their food for the term. A bit of austerity and suffering for these students is no bad thing and if their mothers are forced out to full time work like the rest of us have to do to fund it it will do those mothers the world of good.

Lilymaid Sat 29-Sep-12 22:34:13

My DCs received the lower unassessed maintenance loan, and I've topped this up (and more) just as my parents topped up my maintenance grant. I've also been in the position to pay their tuition fees in full (fortunately they started university before the rate went up to £9k). But it has always seemed strange that parents are pretty well expected to make up the difference/support their adult children but have no rights to receive any information concerning their academic performance.

Xenia Sun 30-Sep-12 08:40:54

Lm, I agree. In theory a university could have the student when they enter sign to say yes I am happy for my parents to be told all (and indeed one of mine chose to give me access to their university work emails but that is very rare indeed and I am not saying it is at all necessary in most cases). There was a mumsnet thread a year or so ago when the poor mother did not even know if her child was still at Oxford.

Sabriel Sun 30-Sep-12 13:39:17

Xenia if their mothers are forced out to full time work like the rest of us have to do to fund it it will do those mothers the world of good. confused

That is the opposite of what is happening. We both work FT, so our kids have to pay their own way, plus extra to fund the "poor" students. Their cousin was a "poor" student because her mother sits on her backside rather than go out to work, and her father who earns easily 3 times our joint income doesn't have his income taken into account. So she got everything handed to her on a plate while ours had to work.

Why should the children of a couple who both work, and have stayed together, be treated less favourably than those of people who choose not to work/ to work PT?

Xenia Sun 30-Sep-12 13:48:51

The difference is just about £1900 I thought though? About £3,500 loan if you are rich or £5000 part loan part gift if you are better off and in work. I would have thought a woman working full time is much better off for all kinds of reasons than that mere £1900 difference surely?

mummytime Sun 30-Sep-12 15:04:36

As I read it both parents income is taken into account. None of the students fees go to "poorer" students, poorer students fees etc. are funded via loans, and possible grants (funded by tax) or bursaries which tend to be funded by the donations of alumni, which is why richer Universities can be more generous.
Also beware of bragging on the student room, as with most things on the Internet it isn't necessarily true. When I went to university back in the dark ages there were students who liked to brag how they or their family had fooled the system into giving them a full grant. However I also met people who were very poor because their parents had split and the wealthy one refused to fund them (probably showing the abuse behind the parental split).

Thowra Sun 30-Sep-12 15:11:10

Xenia, it's about £7500 in loan and grant together for the 'poorest' families, plus bursary, which can bring it up to about 10k. Whether the income level is caused by low wages, divorce, or parents just not feeling like working very much, thanks.

It's a system which positively discourages work.

Thowra Sun 30-Sep-12 15:15:04

And absent parent's income is not taken into account, however a stepparent's is, (or mum's partner) even if this person has never been responsible for their support in any way before.

bamboostalks Sun 30-Sep-12 15:28:16

I find it impossible to believe someone can live on £25 a week in London. That is not doable at all, it is silly to spread this sort of nonsense. A weekly travel card is at least that much. £5 a week on a phone and a bare minimum of £3 a day on food. Also entertainment? You are looking at £50 as a basic ifestyle. If your dc tells you they are managing on that, they are lying and incurring debts.

Xenia Sun 30-Sep-12 16:43:30

We took the out of London figures above 0 except on the chart giving in the in and out of London figures.

Anyway many students do manage. Most graduate with over draft debt as well as student loan and most have jobs too.

I certainly am not suggesting it is fair that the poor get a bit more. I think it is ridiculous to suggest a very bright teenager from a poor home should be more put off by student debt they only repay when they reach an income of a certain level and never repay if they never reach that level, than someone from a middle income family. Tyey have eyes. they have brains. They can do internet searches kjust as well as someone whose mother earns £20k so why do we say poor little dears, you will be put off by debt much more than a middle income family so we will give you some of the money rather than lend it to you. it's very wrong. Let us lobby against any kind of bursaries at all given the inherent unfairness in the system.

mummytime Sun 30-Sep-12 18:38:44

I have given money to my old University in the past, and will probably do so in the future. I also drink in the pub my college owns, feeling good because I know the profits go to help fund graduate students. If someone banned bursaries I would be extremely angry.
I got a full grant, and left Uni without an over draft. This was because I came from a very impoverished home and knew that my parent's couldn't help me out however much they might want to. Most of my middle class friends could get a helping hand if they needed it, it's very like Jarvis Cocker's "Common People", you can't understand what it is really like to be poor with rich or reasonably off parents.

Tressy Sun 30-Sep-12 18:46:11

Absent parent's income isn't taken into account because legally, their responsibility to pay child support ceases when the child reaches university age.

Poorer households can have a parent working full time and paying taxes but by nature of having one salary coming in, cannot find any spare money to help toward living expenses, rather than sat around all day doing nothing. There is such a thing as working poor.

Tressy Sun 30-Sep-12 18:49:15

Mummytime, Glad someone gets it, thank goodness that bursaries are still available. I thought they were going to be scrapped under the new regime.

visualarts Sun 30-Sep-12 18:56:25

But tressy is the res ident parent legally obliged to support an 18yr old at university? And does concept of resident parent really work once you're a student away from home - you may never be at parent' s house (though i realise most will be for hols)?

Tressy Sun 30-Sep-12 19:08:25

I'm talking about non resident parent, so single parent households. I didn't get much in the way of maintenance myself, so it doesn't apply personally, just saying about other absent parents.

I know that if I had enough money coming in to help my student child with food money and she was struggling I would be happy to help. I don't and she gets a small bursary and non repayable grant so am one of those 'poor households'.

Would anyone seriously tell their DC's that they cannot go to uni, because they don't have £30 a week spare, it they have a household income of 60K? Really?

We are living in a time of austerity, there isn't enough money to provide free higher education and living expenses for every student who wants to go to university so they have to means test the money that is available.

visualarts Sun 30-Sep-12 19:13:16

Yes, I was just wondering what the logical basis is for not taking into account the non resident's parent income if the res parent's income is taken into account - (which of course it is)?

Tressy Sun 30-Sep-12 19:27:05

Not sure it's logical tbh.

I'm just glad that for now, a bright child from a poorer household can still go to uni. This might change in the future and get back to education being only for this rich.

Xenia Sun 30-Sep-12 19:36:42

Separately from the rules on assessment from bursaries/grants, divorce law can be relevant. Our divorce order says I support all 5 children at university no matter who they live with, 100% alone and I'm happy to do that. Secondly in England, not Scotland, there is no duty other than in court orders like that to support adult children. Thirdly however I think there is a divorce law rule that the absent parent can be asked for funding for university costs. I cannot remember where I read that - that you could ask the non resident parent. The other unfairness is that divorced mother who earns nothing as she was silly enough to become a housewife ends up with rich second man (sensibile her to live off male earnings yet again) but on assessing student finance even if stepfather is mr wicked and never pays a penny his income is used to assess the needs of that resident step child.

goinggetstough Sun 30-Sep-12 19:41:10

I am sure that no one would wish a DC being stopped from going to university purely on cost alone. However, whereas previously it affected the poorest families this is now moving to affect those in the squeezed middle.

Many families earn too much for a grant or full loan but not earn enough to make up the difference to a DC from a poor family who gets a loan, full grant and a bursary however small. An extra £30 per week might be doable but that wouldn't make up the difference which could be as much as £3000+. An extra £ 30 per week over 40 weeks is only £1200 not even half of the difference.

What many families would like, would be for their DC to be able to get a loan to cove rent and basic living allowances.

Tressy Sun 30-Sep-12 19:51:45

Going, that might have been feasible but with 9k tuition fee loans on top then it's not realistic as a student would end up with stupid debt levels that probably won't have any chance of being paid off. That's why the cannot 'loan' anymore.

goinggetstough Sun 30-Sep-12 20:06:59

I know what you mean Tressy but this £9000 tuition fee loan also includes a percentage that helps to cover these bursaries, fees waivers and grants so in return these DCs should be able to borrow money so they can have a similar amount of money to cover basic living costs as those from poorer families.
When the loans were first mentioned there were figures that said how much of the £9000 was put aside for loans and bursaries for poorer students. Can anyone find a link to show this whether this is true or not?
You mention that it would lead to stupid levels of debt but this will happen anyway if these DC have to extend their overdrafts etc

LeeCoakley Sun 30-Sep-12 20:13:36

Does anyone know if the maintenance loan has kept pace with rent increases? (Apologies if this has been covered - I keep dipping in and out). Having only dd1 in the system I don't know if this amount has been fixed for a while.
I also think there should be a ceiling on rents in student lets. Dd1's house last year crammed 5 students into, well, a dump, with half a kitchen and a yard with rats in and had the nerve to charge £2500 a month ex. bills. Landlords would never get away with this with normal family lets, it's just that they have a captive market and estate agents are in cahoots it seems to me. Plus all contracts are only for a year and I've yet to meet a student who's got their entire deposit back. Landlords are raking it in!

visualarts Sun 30-Sep-12 20:22:36

going did it previously affect poorest families - I thought that under the old system they had a full grant, no fees; and under the recent system they had grant/loan, £3k fees? So new system is the same, just the level of support is now higher where there are fee discounts, because fees are now higher overall (Maybe wrong - happy to be corrected!)

Xenia if you can get a court order that non res parent pays, I still don't see the logic of not taking that parent's income into account. (I know you aren't saying it is logical!) Though obviously you wouldn't take both step parent and non-res parent income into account would you, so maybe the govt thinking is that it all evens out - what govt loses by not taking non res parent income into account, it gains by taking step parent income into account. Actually statistically it wouldn't even out, would it, because not every lone resident parent remarries, obviously?)

Tressy Sun 30-Sep-12 21:00:38

Think I will leave this thread now. Am missing my DD today, who against all odds got into medicine. She was the first from her school to get this far for years. I also work full-time and believe it or not am on what is considered a reasonable income for my area even though for student finance I am deemed 'poor'. On the plus side we get help, thankfully. She deserves to be at uni imho.

Twas always the case that 'well off' parents were expected to help. The new fee arrangements have screwed everyone over, so you either sub your kids or you tell them not to go. Or you could try living on a low income as a single parent, then they can claim everything going. Tis great fun.

goinggetstough Sun 30-Sep-12 21:21:18

tressy weekends are always the worst aren't they as they would be at home. I hope your DD is enjoying her course and settling in well.
visual I don't know the exact figures but I think it is just more generous now than previously and in addition there are fees waivers which I am afraid I don't understand at all.
The problem is that on these threads parents are either described as rich or poor, whereas in RL there is a middle group.

AngieAir Sun 30-Sep-12 21:34:50

I have a friend who went to medical school and got a professional studies loan from one of the big banks as her parents couldn't help out. They do it for dentists and maybe solicitors too, guess its for those pretty much guaranteed a job on graduation.

Think its £15-20k total max but only available from years 2 or 3 to prove you're committed. No guarantor then you pay it back once you start work.

Xenia Mon 01-Oct-12 09:12:44

They have those loans AA mentions for professional, studies post grad too although anyone who applies just about can do some of the courses as long as they have their degree but very very few will get a job after so it is a big decision as to whether to take them on for young people.

I don't really see why poorer people get more money when middle income parents cannot afford to make up the difference and have no obligation to give their children a penny. It's a very unfair system. Not sure why I am complaining as I funded my older 3 so they graduated debt free but that alone illustrates the unfairness that at the upper end children may have no debts at all. on the other hand under the very new system if you n ever get a job or work for 5 years and stay at home earning nothing as plenty of mumsnetters choose to for life you never pay anything back at all so if you plan that or want a life painting with low pay or to become a poet or work on the fmaily farm or anything with low pay then under the current scheme it is better than when I was at unviersity in the 80s. In the 80s a chidl of reasonably well off parents got all the fees paid but no maintenance at all (and parents mdae it up). Now a child in my position would get all the fees paid and a loan for maintenance and if you earn little you don't pay a penny of it back ever. In other words on some bases the new system is the best there has ever been particularyl of idlers and wasters who want to study for its own sake (nothing necsessarily wrong with that) and never earn a penny. Hard working tax payers are paying for those people to indulge themselves and those people may well never pay a penny back.

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