Parents of 1st year uni students

(42 Posts)
Abouttime Sun 19-Jan-14 20:10:25

Advice needed pls.

DS will hopefully go to uni in September. He wants to go to sheffield but is only predicted BBB so probably won't get in. His next 3 choices are Loughborough, Aberdeen & Hull.

We have been looking at accommodation for all of them & can't decide if catered or non catered will be best. I also have no idea how much I will need to give him every week for food etc

He will only get a loan for the minimum amount as my partner who is not his dad earns too much. This pisses me off but that's a whole other thread!
I think he will get about £3500. He wants a room with an en suite & I don't really blame him but are shared bathrooms really that bad?

Can anyone give us their opinion so I can start saving now? How much is a reasonable amount?

OP’s posts: |
RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Sun 19-Jan-14 20:14:45

Hi. DD1 is in self catered halls with an en suite. They have a kitchen shared between 8 of them iirc. She uses the loan for living on and we pay her accommodation, but we've been saving pretty much since when she was born to enable this!

TheWoollybacksWife Sun 19-Jan-14 20:22:51

DD is a second year student but I didn't want your post to go unanswered.

She is at a different Uni to the ones you have listed. She got a place through clearing and at that point accommodation was limited. She ended up with a room in the top of the range halls - en suite bedroom and catered with two meals a day for 30 weeks. She doesn't have en suite at home and is now in a fairly typical grotty student house sharing two shower rooms between five people.

We paid her accommodation but she funded her entertainment by getting a part time job.

goinggetstough Sun 19-Jan-14 20:24:56

Both my DC were catered in the first year. They had lots of sports commitments and they found they could eat and train without having the hassle of having to go and buy the food and prepare it. In the second and third year ( this DC graduated last July) spent £20 a week on food on average. She rarely ate meat.
Other DC is at Loughborough. They have a mixture of self catering and catered as I am sure you know. But do look at the variety of catered. Some are fully catered as in 19 meals per week, others don't have weekend meals so their accommodation has a cooker. My DC does not have en suite and has had no problems. A cleaner comes weekly and a close eye is kept on the cleanliness of the kitchen etc.

MedusaIsHavingaBadHairday Sun 19-Jan-14 20:35:52

Neither of mine had ensuite (DD1 is at Exeter and DD2 is at Nottingham) and both went self catered and I send them each £40 a week for food. They both have part time jobs to supplement their loans (mine get the minimum amount and we can't pay their hall fees or anything nice like that). Both are doing very full on courses (medicine and nursing) but still manage to work..most students dosmile

Chopchopbusybusy Sun 19-Jan-14 20:38:16

DD1 is in self catered with ensuite. She definitely preferred the idea of self catering. She is very capable of making decent food though. One of her choices was Nottingham and had she decided to go there she would have chosen catered as it was definitely the best deal and best accommodation. But at all her other choices she wanted self catered. She wasn't bothered whether she had ensuite or not.
They don't necessarily have a great deal of choice over accommodation. DD had to list something like her 10 preferences. The one she was allocated was quite far down the list and that was at her firm choice.
DD also only has the minimum loan. We top up so that her accommodation is paid and she has an allowance of £400 to cover everything else. She seems to be managing fine. She is quite frugal and had some savings from her summer job.

Chopchopbusybusy Sun 19-Jan-14 20:41:04

Sorry should have said £400 per month (for 10 months). She does do occasional part time work too.


Bonsoir Sun 19-Jan-14 20:41:56

DSS1 is in a self-catered student residence flat shared among 5 students. There are two shower rooms and a shared kitchen.

It is freakingly expensive for what it is! Fortunately he has found a shared house for next year which is cheaper and a hell of a lot nicer.

Many student residences are incredibly depressing and over priced these days.

Bonsoir Sun 19-Jan-14 20:42:20

Sorry - it's £5,500 per year, food on top.

EirikurNoromaour Sun 19-Jan-14 20:45:47

He should take the cheapest option. Shared showers aren't great but it's character building. I wouldn't choose catered either, unless he's a complete novice in the kitchen and can't boil an egg.

goinggetstough Sun 19-Jan-14 21:04:30

With regard to en suites remember if they live out in the second year they will be sharing bathrooms.....
Bonsoir I agree some student accommodation is depressing but lots is not and that is where the problem is. The quality of accommodation has increased and sadly with it the cost.
The charge for fully catered accommodation at Loughborough is the same as you pay for your DS in self catered accommodation. It really does vary.

Abouttime Sun 19-Jan-14 21:08:37

Thanks for the replies smile
A room with an ensuite on a self catering basis are approx £5000 so I will have to fund the shortfall form the loan which equates to about £1500.

How much do you think he needs to live on per week? He has no savings & no job at the moment so until he gets a job which I hope he does when he gets to uni I will have to fund everything. He is going to study psychology so will have plenty of free time I think based on my own research.

He's not bad at cooking but not cooking from scratch...mainly pasta with sauce, putting things in the oven etc

OP’s posts: |
TheOneWithTheNicestSmile Sun 19-Jan-14 21:09:49

uncatered is a ridiculous price, catered even more so.

fwiw Sheffield is almost entirely en suite now. DS2 is in 3rd year, asked for shared bathroom (uncatered) 2 years ago, there were only a few hundred then & he didn't get one; they have a long contract, running past the end of June, & cost about £120pw - over £5K pa without food

for comparison the house he's sharing now is only £60pw plus bills. it's mildly scuzzy, as you'd expect, but in a nice part of the city

venturabay Sun 19-Jan-14 21:43:21

None of the four DC I have had at uni so far have had their own shower and none have suffered any obvious ill effects. On the other hand they're pretty resilient because they come from a large, non pampered family (bathroom-wise). Others may of course feel different. Each has managed within his or her budget with accomodation and all other costs but then none has been to a hugely expensive uni, to be fair - some uni costs sound outrageous.

Bonsoir Sun 19-Jan-14 22:01:54

Where DSS1 is at university some of the better accommodation is cheaper. The more expensive accommodation is owned by rip-off Unite and grim.

venturabay Sun 19-Jan-14 22:08:56

What is Unite?

BackforGood Sun 19-Jan-14 22:10:45

Quick hijack - at what point do you request accommodation? and what if they dont get the grades for the place you apply for?

Bonsoir Sun 19-Jan-14 22:17:00

Unite is a quoted company that owns lots of student accommodation. They convert disused office blocks into bedrooms, hence the grim architecture.

TheOneWithTheNicestSmile Sun 19-Jan-14 22:46:01

Backforgood, iirc you apply for accom at the point where you make their offer your firm (so if you get the grades you are in a good position to get the accom you asked for)

if you miss your grades & have to go for insurance you slip down the pile - quite a long way sad

if you miss your insurance grades then you have to beg

think that's how it works

goinggetstough Mon 20-Jan-14 07:45:41

Applying for accommodation depends on the university. Some do let you apply for accommodation when you firm their offer in the early spring/summer.
Others like Bristol I believe let you apply in June/July and then you don't hear until the beginning of September.
Some will guarantee first year accommodation and others don't. It is the latter category that can lead to worrying. For those who are not offered accommodation some universities run " find a flat/friend" days where new students go to the university in the summer to meet others in a similar position and then go off and find a flat.

BackforGood Mon 20-Jan-14 10:58:26

OK, thanks - so when he's got all his offers in, he makes his choice, and at that point we ask for this accommodation or that, but if he doesn't get his first choice then we apply after results day ? makes note not to be away after results day for the next couple of weeks
Thanks folks.

senua Mon 20-Jan-14 11:14:25

Offers and CF and CI and all that is centrally run by UCAS.
Accommodation is down to each individual University - look at their website. (Do it now, so you know the deadlines!)

BackforGood Mon 20-Jan-14 11:20:27

Oh, right, thanks Senua

senua Mon 20-Jan-14 11:29:38

Actually what I meant to say was get your DC to look at the websites.wink

BackforGood Mon 20-Jan-14 11:32:28

yeah - he will but then will forget to tell me what he finds, and forget to actually book anything or apply for anything, then I might end up with him living here another year shock
No, this is one I'm happy to help him with wink

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