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To think the Uni Maintenance Loan shouldn't be means tested?

(112 Posts)
Ellisandra Thu 27-Apr-17 20:49:00

Interested to hear reasons why it should be, and maybe adjust my view!

My soon-to-be stepdaughter is going to uni in September.

Because her father is moving in with me this summer, her maintenance loan will means tested and my income rather than his (her mother died) means she'll lose £4200 of it.
I will make up the nearly £400 a month, that is not an issue - we are a family.

I would support that for a grant, but this is a loan.

I get that there are admin costs, defaulted loans, people who never earn over the repayment threshold... And interest is low and much delayed repayment so it's not a money spinner for the government. But it's still a loan, not a grant.

Surely there are plenty of people who can't afford to top it up for their child? Household income over £60K and you lose £4200 - £60K doesn't go that far in London mortgages with commuting costs thrown in - £400 is a lot to find. In our case, we couldn't have planned for it - 2 years ago I didn't know I'd be getting a SD! (Lucky me though she's fab grin)

Then there'll be people who could afford it but refuse.

I was lucky to go to uni before tuition fees, and I didn't have a penny from my parents, I worked my way through. So I don't think kids are snowflakes who can't do that wink

But I just don't get why some students will be denied access to this because of their parents?

Even if there was a tiered rate so you could get the rest at a higher interest rate, maybe? Just seems really unfair that a student is denied it when a parent (or step parent) can't be forced to give it to them, and anyway may not be able.

JustAKitten Thu 27-Apr-17 20:49:56

I don't get why the loan is. Grant sure, but the loan is a loan...

nancy75 Thu 27-Apr-17 20:51:27

I agree, a friend of mine has a son who hardly got anything because his step dad ( actually not even step dad, just the man his mum lives with) earns a v high salary but is not prepared to help out the stepson at all financially

WayfaringStranger Thu 27-Apr-17 20:55:48

YANBU but I also wanted to add that you clearly are a fab step mum, she's lucky to have you. smile

Unihorn Thu 27-Apr-17 20:59:57

YANBU I thought this when I was at university. Having a two parent household meant that I received only enough money to cover my accommodation and had to work 20-30 hours a week to pay for anything else including food and books. I had several siblings and my parents' outgoings were high so they were unable to offer support, not did I really think they should have to.

Lots of people at uni from single parent households however seemed to be getting money from both parents in addition to huge maintenance loans. Never made sense to me.

She's very lucky to have you though smile

gandalfspants Thu 27-Apr-17 21:01:08

At a guess I'd say because there's still a finite pot each year and if everyone got the maximum loan less people would be able to be funded.

But YANBU, I don't think the system as it is is fair.

SucklingDuckling Thu 27-Apr-17 21:03:17

You sound like a great parent. I'm 21 and just finishing uni, my parents fall into the highest earnings bracket so I always got the lowest maintainence loan £3900 (think they have increased it though now) which is ridiculous when my rent is £3800 for the year... basically I have £100 left over. hmm My parents helped me out by sending me £45 a week to live on but to be honest living in the city I do, that's nothing. I work 20 hours a week alongside a fulltime degree to make up the money I need, otherwise I'd be leaving uni broke and buried in my overdraft like many of my friends. Also I'm 26 weeks pregnant now so I'm very glad I had my job otherwise I'd have no money for baby, but it's still a worry sad

Then you get the opposite - people who's parents earn little and therefore they get the maximum loan, have £200 a week to live off, go out 5 nights a week and buy designer gear like a MacBook Air. Its hard, and totally unfair.

I'm just a little bit salty about the whole student loan bullshit system, can you tell?! wink

StillDrivingMeBonkers Thu 27-Apr-17 21:03:58

On a different level - I think it's outrageous the government expects adults of 18+ to be supported financially by other adults.

SharkiraSharkira Thu 27-Apr-17 21:04:52

Personally, I don't think any finances for uni should be means tested if you live at home with parents. To me, one of the whole points of uni is to help young people to learn skills such as budgeting and how to be independent, but how can they do that when parents are supplementing their income because they can't afford to live? Doesn't make sense to me!

Yay to the pp who said your Dsd is lucky to have you!

SharkiraSharkira Thu 27-Apr-17 21:07:07

Cross post bonkers, that is essentially what I mean but I've been on the wine wink

WonkoTheSane42 Thu 27-Apr-17 21:07:55

Aye, it's a bit shit. My parents' income put me in the lowest loans bracket. Lovely, except they were in debt up to their eyeballs my whole life so the money they could actually spend was...well, nothing. Meanwhile, my friend 'left home' to go to uni and got a much higher loan than me. I've put left home in inverted commas because her parents bought her a flat and got her a flatmate to pay the mortgage.

Ellisandra Thu 27-Apr-17 21:16:03

blush to the nice parents replies. Thank you! I wasn't fishing for that, just wanted to be clear that I wasn't complaining about it simply because she isn't my daughter!

I was lucky enough to catch the very last year of the old grants in my first year at uni. My parents had thrown me out 2.5 years earlier. I had to go to appeal with the LEA to be classed as independent for assessment. Including submitting payslips from my part time job - because I hadn't reached the magic 3 years away from home.

Yet my best friend had a wealthy father (think: home with tennis court) but was assessed on her mother (divorced) income and got full grant hmm

iogo Thu 27-Apr-17 21:54:29

It's a shit system. We're not in a position to help my DSD and it's causing a lot of resentment.

lucyandpoppy123 Thu 27-Apr-17 21:55:06

I do think its unfair that the loan is means tested - after all just because someones parents earn over the threshold doesn't necessarily mean that they can or will be willing to assist them financially.
I had my DD between my first and second years of Uni and as such am counted as an independent student so my parents income is not taken into account.

poisonedbypen Thu 27-Apr-17 22:01:38

It's crap. DD was able to borrow £3750 or whatever the minimum is in her first year. Her rent was £6250 (self catering), bus pass £350... You get the idea.

tovelitime Thu 27-Apr-17 22:07:57

I see your point and there maybe should be something which means situations such as yours can be avoided but I don't think it's wrong the way they do it. There's not enough money to pay for every student and I certainly don't think that my children should be eligible for extensive support when there are other students far more needy. We are high earners and can afford to support our kids through university so we will. If we couldn't afford it that would be different and they would either have the loan, have to work or go to university where they could live at home. I also don't agree that parents should automatically stop supporting their children at 18 as a matter of course. If they can't afford to support them fine, but I'd assume to support mine until they finish their first degree. After that then they're definitely on their own.

Noeuf Thu 27-Apr-17 22:32:04

Well seeing as all the very rich people I know are fiddling the system to get the most loan I think it's ridiculous. If dh hadn't adopted dc I'd be doing the same.

RufusTheRenegadeReindeer Thu 27-Apr-17 22:41:51

Agree with still

As an 18 year old man i have no control over ds1 (in theory...its amazing what that child will do for a biscuit and a tin of coke)

But the grown man decides to go to university the loan is worked out on mummy and daddys income

If the grown man wants dental treatment past 19 then its worked out on mummy and daddys income

When does it stop? Does anyone know? Is it once out of full time studdying?

FurryElephant Thu 27-Apr-17 22:51:46

Absolutely envyit's a ridiculous system that also doesn't take into account the fact that there could be numerous other children at home or also in uni to somehow fund!
However I do know that some of my friends had step parents when I was in uni a few years ago and unless they had actual parental responsibility their income didn't count, despite them living together and married etc it just went on the mothers income! It may well have changed in the last few years but if so it's got even more ridiculous!

QuestaVecchiaCasa Thu 27-Apr-17 22:52:24

I think it is particularly damaging where a step parent's income is used in the calculation. It must cause a lot of resentment if a step parent is unable or unwilling to support an adult who they have perhaps never had any real contact with.

I've always wondered whether it would be worth young students getting married or civil partnered because then it would be their income/that of their partner that would be taken into account rather than that of their parents?

hesslin Thu 27-Apr-17 22:53:11

I agree with you OP. When I was at uni my parents were assessed as having a high enough income for me not to need much of a maintenance loan/grant but they refused to give any money to me so I struggled with working long hours throughout my first year. Then I got pregnant which was turned out to be a silver lining as it turned out they regarded you as independent if you had a child, and gave you more money on top! It wasn't planned that way for me as it was a contraceptive failure, but I know some young women these days end up realising that's the only way they can get to be assessed as independent students for loan purposes.

RufusTheRenegadeReindeer Thu 27-Apr-17 22:54:53

Dh says we should get divorced and i could get more help as a single mum


Blueemeraldagain Thu 27-Apr-17 23:04:52

My mum refused to submit her personal details to the student loan company (she's lovely and we are very close; she just went through a slightly tinfoil hat stage after my father's suicide) so I couldn't even ask for a means tested loan so I was going to get the lowest amount.

Luckily I had two gap years and applied as an independent candidate on my (minimum wage) salary and got full whack.

It is very unfair.

Ellisandra Thu 27-Apr-17 23:09:35

Yes, I can imagine step parent scenarios can make it even worse for some step children!

In our case, we're lucky that we can afford it. Strictly speaking - that I can afford it, because I'm the higher earner.

If I couldn't afford it (and let's say couldn't rather than wouldn't) would he be a bad father to say "sorry, I'm not putting my life on hold for your 4 year course, I'm getting married and so you need to get a job"?

I do think it makes no sense that the household income could include a step parent who is a new arrival, whilst excluding an actual non resident parent! Why is a biological parent "off the hook" a step parent not?

One thing that does annoy me a bit - though I see that there's no way round it, when you use household income - is that actually, must as I like SD, my income is private! And now she'll know at least the minimum that I earn. My best friends and my sisters don't know that!

Poppiesway1 Thu 27-Apr-17 23:32:27

My ds1's dad has already said he and his wife (who both work full time on good salary) can't afford to help him at uni and I'll have to fund him (single, ex pays no maintenance for our dc, and I'm still paying back my own student loan at 40) I don't know how I'm going to afford to help him without taking out my own loan to help him

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