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Help please - what is a reasonable allowance for a 1st year uni student?

(39 Posts)
starving Mon 18-Aug-14 17:50:44

My dd is off to uni soon. She will be staying at home (her choice). We are in Scotland to get fees paid and due to family income she is only entitled to loans, no bursary etc. I don't like the idea of dd leaving uni with £££ of debt so have agreed with her that she will not apply for a loan (at least for now - you never know what is round the corner!) and I will give her an allowance (We can afford it) or alternatively she can get a part time job. But I have no idea what to give her. I want her to have enough to get coffee, etc, go out (but not every night!), buy stationary, textbooks etc.

What do you consider is reasonable? She will be staying at home so all food etc provided. Her mobile is paid for, as will her bus pass. I don't want to give her so much that she is discouraged from looking for a part time job wink but don't want to be mean. We will need to discuss whether she takes responsibility for clothes, as for toiletries etc I guess I will continue to buy (or else she pinches mine!).

As a starting point I was thinking £30 per week, but honestly have no idea. Anyone with any experience or suggestions gratefully received. Thanks

cricketballs Mon 18-Aug-14 19:22:29

I'm sending DS £50 a week - he is moving away and his loan doesn't cover his accommodation (so we have to make that up as well). He is going to be looking for a job straight away.

£30 when living at home with everything you are supplying seems a lot

MillyMollyMama Mon 18-Aug-14 19:40:21

You are mad not to get a loan. Your DD may never pay it back and it is the cheapest money you will ever get. Only the very rich should not take out the loan and if you want her to get a good degree, do you want her to work? My DCs preferred a loan. Is it her choice not to have a loan, or yours? Most students have them and although it is not much when the student lives at home, at least it frees up your money to do other things. We would rather pay off the loans at a later date, if need be, so our estate pays less inheritance tax. 50% of students are expected to never pay off the loans.

If you can't trust her with more money than for the few things you mention, I think you seem very controlling and she won't feel like she as at university. Shame she couldn't live away from home and do what she wants.

We pay ours £500 a month each for spending money but they have to do their own washing, ironing, cooking, shopping, cleaning, entertaining, pay bills, buy clothes and, even have the odd cup of coffee and go out. Not every night, of course. Heaven forbid!

Onesleeptillwembley Mon 18-Aug-14 19:42:38

She's got no fees and is living at home - I'd expect rent free. She should have a job, though I wouldn't charge her keep. Doesn't she already have a job nearby? Most kids that age do.

handcream Mon 18-Aug-14 19:48:02

Am I missing something... You pay back the loan only of you earn more than £21k. Why would you do a university degree if you weren't planning to earn more than that?

GnomeDePlume Mon 18-Aug-14 20:38:17

Same as cricketballs. We will send DD £50/week term time only.

UptheChimney Mon 18-Aug-14 20:48:42

I can see what you're trying to do, but your plan sounds really infantilising. She's not a child any more.

BackforGood Mon 18-Aug-14 20:55:18

My ds won't be getting much more than £30 to include all his expenses.

If she's not got food to buy, travel to pay for, or even her phone to pay for shock, then I wouldn't give her anything. It's pretty reasonable for an adult to understand if they want to buy themselves treats / fund their social life, then they need to get a job.

todayisnottheday Mon 18-Aug-14 21:02:11

Why don't you offer to match what she earns up to a maximum level? That way she's helping herself and keeping the cost reasonable for you. If she needs more she works more. As all her basics are covered she is able to choose not to work at all and knows that means she'll get nothing from you. Seems the fairest way to me?

starving Mon 18-Aug-14 21:02:51

handcream in Scotland student loans are repaid when you start to earn £16910. I would hope that at some point in the future my dd is earning more than that (although it does go up each year.
MillyMollyMama So I am mad to want my dd to saddle herself with nearly £20K of debt? Yes it is MY suggestion to not have a loan. I CAN afford to support her as I have done for the last 18 years. She is my only dc so everything I have will be hers at some point anyway. However it is HER choice to stay at home. She looked at several universities but HER preferred one is close to home. I would have supported her if she had chosen to move away. I am not controlling her. This is totally her choice!

She has been applying for many jobs over the last couple of years but unfortunately has not been successful. Hopefully that may change as she is now 18. (She was knocked back for several jobs because she wasn't 18 yet). If she does get a job then she knows that our "financial arrangement" will change.

Thanks for the constructive replies. I will likely scale down my initial suggestion of £30 per week.

BackforGood Mon 18-Aug-14 21:14:39

No need to shout. I think what Molly was pointing out - as many people haven't understood it - is that the student loan scheme is more of a graduate tax than a traditional loan.
Financially, it makes sense to take the loan, and give her the money you would have spent as a large deposit on her first home or something. That way, you are still giving her the same amount, but if things in life don't work out as well as hoped, the "graduate tax" won't need to be paid, but any mortgage repayments will.
I hated the idea of my dc starting life in debt, but when you look at the economics of it, it really, really does make sense to take the loan.

AgentProvocateur Mon 18-Aug-14 21:17:11

Starving, we're in the same situation with DS2 - he's staying at home - for first year at least. He'd be able to get a non-means tested loan, but that seems stupid when he doesn't need to. We give DS1 £100 a month (he has full non means tested loan, which pays for his accomm), so we'll do ten same for DS2. He'll need to pay for phone and travel out of this, but he works a few shifts in a restaurant every week, so if he needs more, he can do extra shifts.

SoonToBeSix Mon 18-Aug-14 21:21:01

About £30 a week should be fine. Tbh I would be discouraging her to get a job, she needs to concentrate on her degree. For this reason most top university's do not allow student to work during term time.

BackforGood Mon 18-Aug-14 23:27:15

For this reason most top university's do not allow student to work during term time.

That's just not true. I've only heard of that being advised at Oxford and Cambridge - hardly 'most'. There are plenty of hours to work (if you can get a job) as well as study and socialise. Students have always worked their way through college, and that's going back to when a much larger % of students had a much higher number of taught/tutored hours on their timetable. With the exception of medics (possibly a few other scientists?) there's plenty of hours for students to be able to work.

LightastheBreeze Tue 19-Aug-14 06:15:22

DS worked through his degree in the term time and holidays, he did physics. It didn't affect his studies, it did mean though he couldn't go out drinking much which is what a lot of them do, I certainly don't think he would have spent all his spare time studying.

He was very happy working, it also gave him another social circle and it meant he had extra money to spend and could go on holiday. We also gave him some money towards his rent, he took his student loans, he ended up being quite well off, as he earned a fair bit so could save some and didn't need an overdraft.

TheWholeOfTheSpoon Tue 19-Aug-14 06:24:32

Only on MN do students not have time to get a job. They just have to sacrifice a bit of PS3 playing and Neighbours watching, that's all or was that just me?

grobagsforever Tue 19-Aug-14 06:27:25

soontobesix that is dreadful advice. Work experience is vital for getting a job after uni. I would never hire a graduate who hadn't done any PT work.

EhricLovesTheBhrothers Tue 19-Aug-14 06:28:57

I had plenty of time to work throughout my degree, especially in the first year! Discouraging students from getting a job does them no favours IMO.

Hakluyt Tue 19-Aug-14 07:03:28

So, assuming worst case scenario, and they can't get a job. And their loan barely covers accomodation. How much a week will an undergraduate need to have a reasonable life?

itsbetterthanabox Tue 19-Aug-14 07:05:31

Don't listen to posters saying you can't give her an allowance. There seems to be a culture of 18 and your on your own on hereconfused
I'd say £50 a week tbh but if you can't afford that I'm sure 30 will be fine.

EhricLovesTheBhrothers Tue 19-Aug-14 07:23:15

Transport - £10-20 a week depending on area
Phone - £10 a week
Pocket change - £20 a week
Total £50

Anything else the student will have to do without or get a job to fund I would say. If my DS goes to university I will fully expect him to be working. I'd expect him to be working from the earliest age he can to be honest. For me and my siblings that was 14.

Bowlersarm Tue 19-Aug-14 07:36:40

£200 at the beginning of each month for ds, so equivalent of £50 per week.

Hakluyt Tue 19-Aug-14 07:42:15

Bowlersarm-does that include food?

GlaceDragonflies Tue 19-Aug-14 07:48:13

How much would she earn if she got a part time job? I'd look at what she'd earn if she got a job and either match that if you don't want her to get a job or give her 3/4 of it or 1/2 of it depending on your point of view and what you can afford.

GlaceDragonflies Tue 19-Aug-14 07:50:44

I have a degree and I earn less than 21k, consequently I've not paid back anything. Not everybody is motivated by money, there are other reasons for doing a degree smile

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