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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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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!

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

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 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.

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.

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.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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 18:56:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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?

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 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.

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