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Am so worried about DS1 and Uni

(26 Posts)
FreakinScaryCaaw Mon 11-Jan-16 21:39:36

DS1 will go to Uni this year and I'm crapping myself. Not just about him going and how I'll miss him, but how to pay for it?

A friend said she gave her dc £400 a month. I only work p/t. Exdh doesn't have much money and dh and I manage to pay the bills and need two cars for work. I could manage to walk to work but it's 3 miles and I finish at 10pm each night.

How on earth do ordinary working folk do it?

I'm going to start buying things he'll need to take with him. He'll probably go into halls? I've heard that's a fortune.

rogueantimatter Tue 12-Jan-16 09:24:44

Do you know which uni yet? - Cost of living in different cities varies hugely.

IME halls are very expensive. Could he join a flatshare perhaps? Spareroom and Gumtree are good for these.

If he gets a summer job he should be able to save quite a bit for his living expenses.

But I don't know how other parents do it really - we give our DD £200 a month. However our electricity bill went down quite noticeably when she left and you'll find your food bill will go down a lot with one less hungry teenager.

PurpleWithRed Tue 12-Jan-16 09:27:34

He can apply for an additional bursary and some universities/halls are much more expensive than others to live in, but it's very likely he'll need to get himself a part time job.

FreakinScaryCaaw Tue 12-Jan-16 09:46:01

Thanks for the advice.

It's Newcastle he's hoping to go to. Not too far from but far enough not to be on the doorstep.

He's pretty independent so maybe he could cope in a flatshare?

SuburbanRhonda Tue 12-Jan-16 09:53:58

Is your income low enough for him to qualify for a maintenance grant? Sadly, if not, then somehow you or he will have to make up the shortfall.

We have a DD at uni in London. I won't tell you how much we're subbing her for rent. Good job we're both working and have no mortgage.

Quite how the government thinks loans open up HE for low income families is beyond me.

rogueantimatter Tue 12-Jan-16 09:56:37

Are any of his friends going to Newcastle?

I'm a bit biased about halls as they usually seem to be horribly noisy and overpriced. DD moved out of hers after a few weeks - though that was partly because she was unlucky with her flatmates.

My main concern about a flat would be that your DS doesn't get to know as many other students - but if he joins student societies that should help.

I wouldn't be too quick to start buying things for him until you know what his accommodation is going to be.

He's done very well to be offered a place at NC - well done your DS. smile

FreakinScaryCaaw Tue 12-Jan-16 10:24:25

I really need to have a good talk to him and exdh. DS1 thinks it's far off but time passes so fast.

He hasn't been offered a place yet just hoping. His English teacher tried to encourage him to go to Oxbridge. He didn't really push himself enough sadly.

On his personal statement he has very positive comments from his teachers. His Psychology teacher has said he's the most articulate pupil she's ever taught, so that should help?

I know I'm biased but I'm so proud of him. He really is a fantastic young man. I just hope I can help him enough.

Chocolateteabag Tue 12-Jan-16 11:40:32

Lots of opportunities to get pt work in Newcastle, and it's a "small" city so getting about it easy/cheap.

Plan ahead and get looking for a part time job early - even go up for the weekend? The Theatre Royal, Sage, Arena etc are different to usual bar jobs

It's a great place to study - biased as I went there and then stayed on for 12 years afterwards

titchy Tue 12-Jan-16 16:47:40

Rather than worry about the unknown have you checked how much maintenance loan he'd get? If there's only your salary in the household (your ex won't count assuming he doesn't still live with you) and you earn less than £25000 then your ds will be edible for over £8000 maintenance loan.

Halls at Newcastle start at £3500 a year so really he should have plenty of money!

If your salary is between £25000 and £40000 then the amount he can get will be less, but even if your earned £100k a year he'd still get the basic maintenance loan of £4000 a year.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Tue 12-Jan-16 16:50:04

All the costs for halls, etc will be on their website, there will also be student accommodation officer who will be able to talk you through the various costs and options. You need to start talking to DS about it now, as you say, so he can start to think about a p/t job and saving, as well as checking what he may be entitled to from other sources.

BertrandRussell Tue 12-Jan-16 16:53:04

Have you checked how much loan he will get?

FreakinScaryCaaw Tue 12-Jan-16 16:59:37

Thanks again everyone.

I only live 40 minutes from Newcastle so know it pretty well. He has said today he's going to get a p/t job. I've messaged exdh and said we're going to have to subsidise ds1. Exdh and I get on very well so we'll come up with a plan.

We do get over 25k.

One of ds1's friends is hoping to go to NC and staying home. As much as I dread ds1 leaving I don't think it'd be wise. He needs to spread his wings. But it's up to his friend and his family of course and non of my business.

You've been so helpful. I'll take a look on the website thanks.

Peebles1 Tue 12-Jan-16 22:07:05

Both my DSs went into halls, but a shared room which was a lot cheaper. In both cases the other roommate never turned up so they had a massive room at a cheaper rate! DS2 went back a year and shared again, but roommate turned up this time. It was fine, they've stayed good friends. It's a cheaper option but they still get to stay in halls. We pay £70 a week to each and they work. Loan covers rent (standard loan that they're all entitled to). Last year we only gave them £50 a week. They both went overdrawn, but simply worked all summer and paid it off. It does depend where they go though. DS1 cheaper than DS2. Good luck with it all!

FreakinScaryCaaw Wed 13-Jan-16 16:30:33

Thanks Peebles1

BackforGood Fri 15-Jan-16 23:59:27

My ds's loan covers his rent.
We then give him £35 a week for what he needs to spend on food and anything else. If he wants to do a lot of socialising then he needs to earn the money first.
There's also the option of working for a year (he can defer his place) before he goes and starting with a load of savings. I know more and more young people who are doing this.

ShhhBeQuiet Mon 18-Jan-16 01:44:39

I've been amazed at just how little money my kids live on. They end up saving money while that are at uni. Lots of students live frugally so it's not as though they are missing out.

One of my DC is paying less than £60 a week next year and it's a nice enough house.
If your DS gets a job over the summer then that would help a lot.
Hope everything goes well for your DS. I think Newcastle would be a brilliant place to go to Uni.

bojorojo Tue 19-Jan-16 10:33:05

My DDs certainly do not live frugally at University - I wish!

However, it is possible and plenty do. The main thing is to choose the best university for his future career but, in general, ones in northern England have cheaper halls available and 2nd and 3rd year private rented accommodation available.

Do not, if you can possibly avoid it, start out in a flat share in the first year - regardless of the above advice. Most universities make this the default position for people who apply late and cannot get into halls. Not being in a hall could mean your DS will be a BillynoMates and have to work really hard at making friends. Halls are where almost everyone want to be, hence the over-subscription at some universities. They are fun, have organised getting to know you sessions, and are a place to make friends. Yes, there will be the odd very annoying person, but in general people will include your DS in going out, nights in to watch a film on the TV and generally have a laugh together.

I actually think catered halls are best because the new student has enough to think about getting used to academic and university life without the worry of organising food shopping and meals (and all the arguments about who used up all the milk and didn't do the washing up). However, this costs more but can have huge advantages for someone who likes to make friends and it is quite an easy transition from home. Shared rooms, if available, are cheaper and older halls are cheaper with shared bathrooms. New shiny ones are to be avoided.

He can try and get a job. This is not as easy as some people think in some university cities - everyone wants one. Also, you do not want a job to take precious time away from his studies. Also, he should not keep coming home all the time. This costs money.

The main thing is, go to Student Finance England and put in your finance details and get a quote from their on-line facility. Also, do not let him apply to London, St Andrews or Bristol as they are expensive student cities for years 2 and 3 when halls are not available. Can any grandparents help with a bit of money?

BackforGood Tue 19-Jan-16 19:42:49

I agree about the halls being the place where all the socialising is done, and all the friendships made.
My ds wanted to self cater and they had a lovely big kitchen diner where everyone in his flat congregated, so it was really sociable.

I know a lot of youngsters who are either at University or have recently left, who have really strong friendships with people they met in halls - as indeed do people my age who are still friends with those flatmates 30 odd years later! smile

juneau Tue 19-Jan-16 19:48:32

Personally, I hated halls. They were just so fucking noisy! Long, echoey corridors and drunk idiots screaming and running up and down like herds of elephants at all hours. Socially they CAN be good, but I didn't find that. I made friends by joining clubs and societies and getting involved with the student union - all of which can easily be done from any kind of accommodation.

Its good that he's prepared to get a p-t job. A lot of my friends got bar jobs or Sat jobs to supplement their incomes - and that was back in the day of the student grant! Hopefully if you chip in, his dad chips in and he earns some money too it will all work out.

FreakinScaryCaaw Wed 03-Feb-16 17:52:14

Just realised I got more replies. Thanks so much.

He's had conditionals from Brighton Portsmouth and Edinburgh. Still waiting for Newcastle and York.

newname99 Fri 11-Mar-16 14:26:35

It is do'able so don't worry.In my dc's case the annual loan paid for accommodation.Food, could you pay for this, considering your household food bill will go down when he leaves?

Clothes tended to be bought from Xmas/birthday money.Socialising & phone was by working.My dc's worked in the summer so went off to Uni with a fund.Students can live very frugually.

Think about trips home, that can be expensive and I always paid for this as wanted them back!

Haffdonga Fri 11-Mar-16 14:59:32

Don't panic. We were in the same situation as you this time last year and it's doable just . I'd agree with PP that going straight into a flat share in his first year could be hard for your ds and he'd miss out a bit on the whole 'university experience' whether ds will enjoy drunken parties and traffic cone room decorations or not. The first year is tough enough getting to grips with independence, let alone having to worry about landlords, gas bills and finding a social life.

DS is at a northern city uni and eventually chose a catered hall which he's been glad of. His maintenance loan covers all his hall fees. We've agreed to pay his phone contract, transport and enough for his coffee and lunches (which we were obviously paying when he was at home anyway). Don't forget uni terms are very short so it's not every week of the year that you'll be coughing up cash. We don't give ds anything in the holidays (except board and lodging) - he has a holiday job.

Good luck to your ds smile

Essexgirl94 Sun 31-Jul-16 15:19:39

Coming from a current student, it is a lot easier to make friend in halls. And it help them settle in better as most halls are on campus. I had a hard time with flat mates but you do get friendly with people.
How much loan he gets will help out a lot. My parents ended up giving me a 100 a month to help me out with a few things. It all depend of circumstances.
Realistic depending on the course he can get a job but it's very hard and it might harm his studying.
Budget budget budget.
I manage to get by on 20 a week on food if that and still have a healthy diet.
My parents went to a catering warehouse and go me provision which saved me so much like big bags of pasta and tins it lasted me 7 months at least.

SpecialStains Sun 31-Jul-16 15:36:48

I graduated in 2014, managed on loans and part time work (20 hours a week waitressing in first two years, 16hrs a week NHS job final year, with full time hours over the uni holidays) with no help from parents whatsoever as they were very much of the opinion that once 18 I was responsible for myself. I also helped out at any open days/end of term room checking etc that was paid quite well, but you have to be quick off the mark to get those jobs. As a student you can get around £2000 interest free overdraft to help you out if needed. People manage without parental help.

Got a first in science degree and had a little saved when I graduated. My work experience got me a professional graduate job straight out of uni.

It's manageable particularly if you're not in the SE, but I'll admit I didn't go out drinking and partying as much as a lot of other people (but that's partly me anyway). I was sometimes a bit jealous of my flat mate whose parents paid for his tuition fees, accommodation AND gave him £50 week spending money, but that's life!

greatbigwho Sun 31-Jul-16 15:43:53

I knew from when I was a fairly young teen I would need to self fund uni, so I took any job I could get, saved hard, didn't go out drinking at weekends etc, and carried on like that when I was at uni. I maybe didn't have as good a time as people who were funded by their parents to be able to not work and go out a lot, but I was there to study, and make the most of the chances offered. I was in the few years that didn't get any kind of grant, so only had my loan and went to uni in a horrendously expensive city.

It's all fairly boring advice but it can be done, he just needs to accept he'll need to work hard to make it happen.

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