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Financial support for kids at uni

(144 Posts)
salmonandchips Fri 11-Mar-16 08:49:18

What's fair when you have two kids at uni but one has bursaries / grants / lower cost living accommodation than the other? Meaning that before parental support, one child is thousands of pounds per year better off?

Give them both the same amount and let them get on with it? The "disadvantaged" one will just have to work more hours in their part time job / and or get an overdraft.

Or try and even it up some how, meaning that one child might get more financial support from parents than the other?

Grapejuicerocks Fri 11-Mar-16 08:52:41

I'd try to even it up. Being fair isn't always the same as treating them the same.

Ifailed Fri 11-Mar-16 08:54:00

Ask them what they think is fair.

ctjoy103 Fri 11-Mar-16 08:54:39

Support the one who has less to even it up. And if they are caring, kind siblings they wouldn't have a problem with it. It doesn't make sense to provide them with equal amounts as that seems unfair.

Savagebeauty Fri 11-Mar-16 08:56:41

Even it up.

girlwithagruffalotattoo Fri 11-Mar-16 08:58:59

Definitely even it up. Otherwise one will have to work more hours to earn money ergo spending less time on studying.

Maryz Fri 11-Mar-16 08:59:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Junosmum Fri 11-Mar-16 09:00:49

Chances are the one with a bursary/Grant will earn less in their career. Also bursarys are generally given on courses with a high element of practical placements which reduce the ability to work a part time job.

It depends what you can afford, if you can afford to pay the fees of the child with no financial help then do so. If you can't, tough.

FinallyHere Fri 11-Mar-16 09:01:49

I agree with asking them what they think is fair.

It may also depend on what choice they have each had, in choosing more expensive/less expensive places to study.

GooseberryRoolz Fri 11-Mar-16 09:01:57

What are the grants etc?

If the extra income includes disability related payments (DSA, DLA/PIP etc) I would split the difference and even it up halfway IYSWIM, but not try to completely eradicate the difference (which is paid for a reason after all).

Similarly, if the extra grants were won for talent or achievement (competitive scholarships etc), I would pay half the difference to the one without the extra funding but allow the better off student to have some advantage for their efforts.

But if there are extra bursaries or scholarship payments purely because of the uni chosen, I would balance that out to parity by topping the worse-off student up myself.

(I'm anticipating similar, so have thought about this a fair bit smile )

GooseberryRoolz Fri 11-Mar-16 09:06:17

And our solution for more expensive/cheaper uni will be to cover accommodation costs plus £x amount.

QuiteLikely5 Fri 11-Mar-16 09:12:18

it is fair to even then up I think but I would only do it if the better off child agreed to it.

Resentments can cause everlasting damage and aren't worth creating over a bit of money.

If you have done a good job with your children then I suspect the better off child will see sense and agree to what is fair. Don't take that the wrong way but I hope you catch my drift

alltouchedout Fri 11-Mar-16 09:14:51

Even it up. I totally agree with grapejuicerocks

witsender Fri 11-Mar-16 09:29:02

I would even it up, only exclusion being disability related payments.

Schoolchauffeur Fri 11-Mar-16 09:33:53

Even it up. Next year we will be paying out more for DS than DD as his uni halls are way more expensive than rent. They will each have the same student loan amount ( in Scotland where everyone can take out loan of around £4500 ish for living expenses. DD also works part time and DS plans to do the same so our contribution is limited to rent.

GooseberryRoolz Fri 11-Mar-16 09:35:10

Most non-statutory student funding is only £1 or 2k anyway (unless youare on a low income), so I would think that, actually, living costs might make the bigger difference. It's hard without knowing what kind of bursaries/grants you mean.

If one is on an NHS bursary course and one isn't that would be quite a (scarily) substantial difference, I think (?)

I'm curious now smile

salmonandchips Fri 11-Mar-16 09:41:16

Thanks for the replies.

The grants / bursaries will be based on choice of university. DP's daughter is very able and choosing to go to a "lower" uni and therefore gets lots of financial incentives. She will also get the London allowance although the uni is in the home counties.

We had initially agreed that we would ensure that their uni accommodation costs (assuming they both chose similar low to mid range accommodation) were met and then give them £20 per week towards their living costs.

DP is now going back on this because he has realised that my son will require funding from us and his daughter won't, she will be £3000 per year better off and may not need any tuition fee loan if she wins a scholarship (although there is certainly no guarantee she will be awarded this).

If I lived apart from DP, my son would receive grants and bursaries based on my income alone. MY DP is the high earner and means that DS can't get those grants and or extra loans.

GooseberryRoolz Fri 11-Mar-16 09:45:17

The change to include step-parent income in student finance calculations was a bit unfair, really, wasn't it?

Vida Fri 11-Mar-16 09:51:31

Generally, I believe 'treating them fairly' doesn't mean 'treating them exactly the same'.

For example, my parents have been very generous and supportive to my brother and I over the years, but in different ways and not just financially, when we personally needed it.

i.e. they helped me through my degree and masters financially so along with working I didn't need any loans. It's not like my brother, who left education at 16, got a cheque written for that amount handed to him immediately. But they did give him what he needed to complete his training comfortably, helping him with a flat for a year or two and a car, which I didn't have (more necessary for him). This I would imagine cost significantly less, but in the years since he's had other practical and financial help with his business.

In your particular situation, the only thing that would make me question evening it up would be if the one at the more expensive uni had had (or does have - no idea if they're there yet) other realistic cheaper options. By realistic, I mean same course at uni of same prestige. But probably not if they're there already.

salmonandchips Fri 11-Mar-16 09:52:17

I've just calculated that my son would be £5400 per year better off at uni if I lived alone. :-(

GooseberryRoolz Fri 11-Mar-16 09:58:50

So that's what DP needs to help you make up, then. Or at least that's a good starting figure to work from.

Is your DP BU in his attitude to this generally? Or is he being perfectly pleasant but missing the point?

salmonandchips Fri 11-Mar-16 10:07:52

He's agreed that we would ensure that their accommodation would be paid for, then around £20 per week on top.

However, when he has looked at the situation properly, he has now come to realise that his daughter doesn't actually require a penny from us as she has enough from government funds to pay for her accommodation and then £20 a week to live on.

DS needs £1500 a year from us to even things, so that they both have the same disposable income. Any additional money they might earn from working would be a bonus.

He has now completely changed his tune and decided that a fixed sum for both of them is the only "fair" way to go. He is adamant that this is the only fair way. I am convinced that if the tables were turned, he would decide this is not a fair way at all!

GooseberryRoolz Fri 11-Mar-16 10:12:40

Ouch sad

I agree with you. He's being unreasonable and unfair.

Maryz Fri 11-Mar-16 10:21:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hefzi Fri 11-Mar-16 10:28:11

Interesting question: to all those saying to even things up - in your wills, will you be dividing up any inheritance between children equally, or will you give more to the child who has a lower paid job/doesn't own their home etc? (Genuine question - not being goady grin)

I think I support Vida's idea - children don't need to be treated the same to be treated fairly: I think it's reasonable to agree to cover OP's son's accommodation and a small living allowance, if that was always the plan - better that the two children should pick the courses and go to the universities best suited to them and their abilities, if at all possible, rather than pick the places with the best financial packages. OP, can you not point out to your DP that your DS would be nearly 6 grand better off if your DP's income wasn't taken into account? It might sound more palatable put that way! It also depends how long you've been together though, and how your personal finances are - if you've not been together long, and I can see he might quibble a bit at having to stump up several grand a year for your child if you don't have any personal money. If he considers your son as his own, though, he's just being tight.

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