How much should parents give a 1st year undergraduate to live on?

(66 Posts)
SteveB32 Mon 09-Sep-13 12:22:41

Our daughter is about to leave us for Univ. She is living in self-catering rooms with all services provided. She does not receive any bursaries or grants. We will supply all her stationery, toiletries and a fair bit of her food. Travel costs for her will be mimimal. What does everyone think would be a fair amount to give her per month? She does not have a part time job, has no inclination to get one and has not worked over the summer. We are paying for her summer holiday in Spain next year and a two week project in Africa. What would be a reasonable amount to expect her to live on?

goinggetstough Mon 09-Sep-13 19:48:52

I am another one querying the fact that many students at RG universities don't have term time jobs.... My DD certainly had a job in her second and third years and she played university first team sport. It did involve high level of organisation on her part but this definitely helped her get her current job on graduation. Plus one of her other house mates worked too. The whole house worked for part of the summer holidays as well. Even those that had managed to obtain internships worked as well as often the internships didn't last the whole summer vacation.
My DCs lived on a total of £50 per week. This included very thing except their phones which we paid for.

RawCoconutMacaroon Mon 09-Sep-13 19:54:50

Yes, in my DS case, it's Oxford. The reason is the intensity of the courses, and also the hours- tutorials can take place at very odd hrs to fit round the work commitments of the tutors, visiting lecturers etc.

DS actually had to Sign a form saying he agreed not to work except in the long summer break.

It's my understanding that Oxbridge is not alone in this, lots of medical schools strongly advise against term time work (and I imagine other high intensity courses may do the same).

senua Mon 09-Sep-13 19:57:58

Oxbridge is very intense tallulah. They have to do things like research and write three essays a week when other Universities will do three per term. That's what makes Oxbridge graduates so attractive - it's not just the brains, it's the work ethic too. They don't have time to flip burgers.

mogul DD managed paid work, an activity, gym membership, a good social life, active committee membership of her subject Soc and still came out of her RG with a good degree.

LaFataTurchina Italy Mon 09-Sep-13 20:04:32

I think DPs parents give his younger brother £200pcm on top of his maintenance loan and he manages fine without a part time job.

I didn't go to a RG university but a similar old/well-established one and I'd say about a third of my friends had a job during term time, but almost all of us worked in the holidays. I can only think of a single scientist friend that had a term time job though.

mumeeee Mon 09-Sep-13 23:24:45

Notsoskinnyminny. Which uni is your DD going to, She sounds a bit like DD3 who is going to Bolton on Saturday.

zizza Mon 09-Sep-13 23:52:26

I've been thinking long and hard about this ;-)

Before my children reached this age I presumed that the loan would at least pay for their accommodation so we'd only need to chip in with extra they needed (and depending on jobs they could get). I'm still really cross that the loan doesn't even cover the halls! My dd is going to vet school and although some of them have very, very part-time jobs, they're difficult to find and they have really full timetables (9-5 most days with extra study in the evenings).

So we said we'd top her up with what the government would give her if she was entitled to a full grant - that at least puts her on a level playing field with those getting the full amount. (This is difficult for us - not sure how the government think we've got spare money lying around.) I've suggested she sticks to £50 a week max after freshers week! (she gets weeknight evening meals as part of her halls fees). We're going to pay her accommodation for now, but the intention is that she'll have some money left over to pay some of it back to us at the end of the year.

I must say I'm a bit shocked at students who can spend twice that or more. But I think my children are used to living quite frugally. They don't go out a lot and don't buy lots of clothes (my dd dances for recreation or hangs out with best friend or boyfriend). We don't have foreign holidays and they won't be going on them with friends until they're earning enough to pay for it themselves. I agree students shouldn't have to live like hermits, but equally they are "students" not "employees" earning a full wage. We each have to learn to live within our means.

Give them as much as they need to cover basic costs (rent, food, phone) and encourage them to find a job. It's not about living as a hermit, it's about learning to run your own life and live within your means. I graduated with a good degree from a very good 600 year old university, I worked 20 hours a week during term time (weekends and weekday shifts fitted around my classes) and had other activities/volunteering commitments and managed fine. I had a lot of studying, reading and writing to do for university, but I worked my arse off and made it all work.
Paid work is important as part of a rounded university experience - better than being on a ball committee, which is at best temporary and at worst/most realistically sweet f-a to do with "real life". No one likes working with the person who thinks a DJ not turning up or the marquee flooring getting wet is as stressful as life gets with "this one time, at band camp" style stories.

Beveridge Tue 10-Sep-13 00:12:46

No excuse for not getting a summer job, IMO. I always found it was a great way of reminding yourself of your commitment to your course for fear I would end up being a hotel chambermaid for a living should I get lazy with my term time deadlines.

There was no minimum wage in my day either, but I still managed to rack up a fair bit of rent in advance from lots of 13 hour shifts. Oh to be young and have that much energy! (And sneaking up to the warehouse for a snog behind the shelving with boyfriend who worked in DIY store too grin)

MortifiedAdams Tue 10-Sep-13 00:24:22

Not a penny piece. Send food if you feel inclined, or other consumables.

Let her earn her own beer money.

RawCoconutMacaroon Tue 10-Sep-13 10:47:27

I should have said in my earlier post - the £500 month we give to ds1 & 2 is to cover the shortfall between the minimum loan (all they are able to get, previously £900 year each, and from this year, £4500), and the actual cost of accommodation, and the rest is for living costs, so probably around £50 week.

ChunkyFicken Tue 10-Sep-13 11:06:24

Surely a student who has successfully balanced studies with a part-time job (any job) is a better prospect for future employees?

Would have thought that showed initiative, organisation, time management skills, work ethic etc. Much rather my children grafted a bit for what they want (beer money/spends) than had everything handed to them.

Can't see anything wrong with getting a job in the very long summer holiday at the very least.

SlowlorisIncognito Tue 10-Sep-13 13:42:12

I agree with ChunkyFicken.

Graduate recruiters often like to see people have done some paid work in the past, as taking on a student who has never had any is more of a risk, WRT timekeeping, reliability etc. Obviously internships and relevant work experience are important too, especially in certain fields, but for more general graduate jobs, paid work is really important.

Given all that you are paying for, I feel like £20-£25 a week would be sufficient. However, would it not make more sense to send her more money and expect her to budget for food, stationery ect. herself?

WhitesandsofLuskentyre Tue 10-Sep-13 16:55:52

I'm not planning to give DD1 anything. She has a loan, and then a maintenance grant of about equal value. The loan should pay for her (admittedly cheap) accommodation and then she should be able to survive on her grant/savings from her summer jobs.

DD2, on the other hand, cannot get a loan because she is under 18, so I will have to pay for her (not-so-cheap) accommodation for the next two terms. I'm embarrassed to say she had to pay for her own accommodation this term (again, from her summer job) because I have no money after a few bad months for my business. Fortunately she gets two meals a day included in her fees and I did a big Aldi shop for her when she moved in.

RawCoconutMacaroon Tue 10-Sep-13 21:16:27

White, why can't your dd get a loan at under 18? Both my Ds's were 17 when they started university, and got the (minimum due to paternal earnings) loan.

happycrimblechuckie Tue 10-Sep-13 21:24:25

I am not going to send my son money, he will just buy beer and fags with it so we have got a sainsbury meal ticket we can top up with £20 a wek for food only ( not told him it will buy beer but i bet he finds out!) and said we will help him with food for 3 months to give him time to find a job, he is in London so his loan only just covers his rent. I think he should be able to find work in London, if not he will have to come home, we just don't have the money to keep him down there, wherendo you all get this £500 per month to spend on your adult offspring, I honestly don't think we help our youngsters by just handing stuff to them on a plate, of course we should be proud of their achievements but why would you get a job if your parents will keep you in a manner you have become accustom to?

I'll be giving mine the difference between the maximum they're entitled to, and the maximum they could get if it wasn't means tested. I think this will be about 3k each (but would have been 7.5k each if the non-means tested element hadn't risen from £950 to £4,500 this year).

It's means tested on parental income, so there is the expectation that they'll get parental support.

At the start of secondary, most people will have an idea if university is on the cards, so there's five or six years to save up or make arrangements.

Madratlady Tue 10-Sep-13 21:29:51

My parents contributed to my rent but I had a loan for my living costs, travel etc. I was on a tight budget and did end up using my overdraft a bit but I manage fine. I also got a job and worked about 12 hours a week. This was during a nursing cost where I was either in lectures 9-5 5 ays a week or doing full time shift work on placements.

Monty27 Tue 10-Sep-13 21:32:08

DD gets 100 pounds for food. She had a (well paid) part time job in sixth form and saved nearly every penny of it. She has a part time job in Uni.

Some of the dc's on here have more expendible income than me, I have an everage paid job, single parent, me and millions of others I expect. shock

Cremolafoam Tue 10-Sep-13 21:58:19

All very approximate
Income per annum
(Fees loan £9000)

Maintenance loan £3589
Maintenance grant £3000
Parental contribution £2000
Weekend Job in supermarket £1600-1800
Total income: £10,189

Outgoings per annum
(Fees £9000)

Accommodation : £5000
Travel / phone/ books/ broadband £800
Living / food/ social :£4389
= £439 per month
= £110 per week
Total outgoings: £10,189

This is based on a 10 month term time period. Over the summer 2 months, if not living at home she will have to self fund by summer job or save up to travel . It's tight. The only thing we will top up if genuinely needed is books and travel. Fees in brackets cos you don't see any of that do you.
Cos we is miserly innit.

DalmationDots Tue 10-Sep-13 22:10:52

Completely depends on a few things: how much you earn, which university (different cities can be more or less pricy than other cities), how much student loan is she getting, how much savings does she have, do you expect/want her to work in the holidays next summer etc.

My DC both went paying everything themselves in terms of accommodation, tuition fees, living costs, transport, food, nights out. My salary is OK to live a nice life but not huge.. I couldn't support them without it having a huge impact on my living and so didn't. My exH doesn't support them at all. When my DC started they were on the cheaper fees and the payback system for student finance is much more reasonable than now.

DC never had any trouble, they learnt to budget, worked summers, used savings and their student loans only covered most of their accommodation, not all, but they survived and didn't get in any debt. They didn't get holidays paid either.

So one answer is give her nothing/very little and she will be fine, don't be guilt tricked into giving lots if you are tight on money.

But if I was in the position to be able to support them, I would, and I would give about £30-£40 a week if it is just for going out, extra food/toiletries bits (assuming the food you mention in your original post is separate to this money? Food will be about £25-30 a week on top), transport home should she want to visit you and anything else.

How does she currently afford to buy clothes and go out etc?

DalmationDots Tue 10-Sep-13 22:14:15

I should add DC both had very well paid jobs before uni during sixth form and saved it.

As pp have mentioned, there are other costs like books which you may need to consider too- I forgot these.

DD always comments how it is funny how lots of the students whose parents pay get into debt or run out of money, while those who pay themselves (and often have less money) seem to manage to keep on track and budget...

Tabby1963 Tue 10-Sep-13 22:23:16

We paid for daughter's first year all inclusive Halls fees and set up a DD for £20 per week with the expectation that she would find work to earn any extra money for social and clothing etc. This she did, there a plenty of jobs around for the taking.

She's now starting second year and we are paying for her share of renting a flat (all inclusive of bills) and she is working to earn extra money for books and materials, social outings and clothing etc.

She is at uni in Scotland and all her uni pals work too.

Steve, you will be doing your daughter a big favour and encourage her independence and maturity if you 'encourage' her to earn her own money while she is a uni. She will quickly learn to appreciate money a lot more if she has to work hard to earn it.

Learning the value of money does not happen if it is just handed to you on a plate whenever you want it.

Finally, I find it hard to believe that none of her friends will be working part time while in further education. That is the norm nowadays surely?

Madratlady Tue 10-Sep-13 22:30:04

To be honest she sounds really spoilt for an 18 yr old. Do you pay out for everything now? What's she going to do when she leaves uni and has to live in the 'real' world? I don't see a problem with helping towards accommodation costs but budgeting for your own food and social life is part of uni life.

PosyNarker Tue 10-Sep-13 22:35:24

Jobs aren't always easy to come by, plus depending on the course might not work well around (probably fine for an arts degree in a big city, but if you have an engineering degree where you're in lectures / tutorials / labs practically 9-5pm - as my DP was - having a job that generates any kind of reasonable income + social life + study will be a stretch).

WhitesandsofLuskentyre Wed 11-Sep-13 12:25:00

RawCM, I think what the Student Loans Company told me is probably only half the story. DD2 is 16, not at university, or doing a degree of any kind but IS living away from home (in halls) because there is nowhere within travelling distance that does her diploma course. The course itself is state funded because of her age, but they have very different (much meaner) rules for residential support in her case. Her only option was the Residential Support Scheme; the SLC told me a loan wasn't available to DD2 because she can't enter into a credit agreement with them until she's 18. Although I have now found out that under certain circumstances (certain approved institutions/courses) you CAN get a loan. Sadly, her course/institution isn't one of those.

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