What does it cost to support DC at uni?

(32 Posts)
Cooroo Sun 15-Mar-15 22:29:31

Forgive long rambling panicky post!

DD has offers from all her choices and will hopefully be studying Psychology at Sheffield in September, grades permitting.

Her loan for living will be £3731. I've just checked rent in Sheffield's main accommodation and last year that started at £4100. Shocked to realise loan doesn't even cover rent. We are just over the threshold for any grant.

I reckon I can let her have £100 a month. She'll have to do some sort of job - but the lecturer we spoke to said it was important they get involved in extra things (esp if she wants to do MA later)which wouldn't leave much time for paid employment.

There is about £1500 I saved for her but that won't go far over 3 years. When I did my degree I got a grant and it was all so easy. What do people do now? How does the government think a family on £42000 has £3000+ to spare? We don't have holidays abroad and I rarely bother to buy clothes but I only just get by. Absolutely give up concerts/theatre would maybe save £100 a year. Scared!

How have others coped? Is there something I don't know?

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Littleham Sun 15-Mar-15 23:04:44

These ideas may help-

1) Go for the cheapest self catered accommodation with shared bathroom.
2) Teach her to cook on a budget and freeze leftovers.
3) As soon as A Levels are over she can get a job / save through holidays.
4) If finances still don't work out ask university for deferred year and work through the gap year (saving everything).
5) From now until university buy one small thing a week that she will need eg. stationery, kitchen stuff, clothes. If you send her fully kitted out it will be a great help. The advantage of this is that you can pick up things cheaply as you see them.

www.money.co.uk/article/1006821-how-to-afford-to-send-your-child-to-university.htm (a year old but some other ideas)

stonecircle Sun 15-Mar-15 23:15:23

Good advice from Littleham. I get what you say about not wanting her to work during term time (though many do). However, no reason why she can't work during the holidays to build up funds. Could she start looking now for something to start in June as soon as her A levels are finished??

I've told my year 13 ds that I expect him to do just this.

MillyMollyMama Sun 15-Mar-15 23:16:12

Rather than trying to work in Sheffield, a holiday job might be a better idea. She is some way off doing an MA and I think the lecturer means she will do better in her undergraduate degree if she concentrates on it fully during term time. However lots do work and get good degrees but striking a balance is necessary. For many students, this is the only option. Also, right now, she will not really know if she can do an MA. Many psychology students do not and do not work as psychologists because jobs are notoriously difficult to secure.

I find it a bit odd you are only able to find £100 a month for your DD. It must be costing you more than that to clothe and feed her at home. Does she not go out? Does she not have transport costs at home? What are you spending your money on? Clearly not her. It has long been the case that Halls cost more than the loan but I am surprised you did not know this earlier. You are probably in the worst position being just above the loan threshold but many parents did have to pay in your day and people on modest incomes did not get the full grant. You have rose tinted glasses there I'm afraid. My DHs parents had a pretty low income and DH did not get the full grant. They refused to pay up and bought a colour tv instead though! He worked!

Cooroo Mon 16-Mar-15 06:12:37

Thanks - lots of good advice. She has a Saturday job (term time only) now but hasn't been able to save any. And she knows she'll have to work to help pay her way. Maybe I'll be able to find more money than that. she is very low maintenance at present. I feel stupid for not knowing all this earlier but I am not brilliant at planning ahead!

Will do some careful budgeting and work through list above.

OP’s posts: |
Decorhate Mon 16-Mar-15 06:20:38

Also, recheck how much her maintenance loan is likely to be. I thought the amount you quoted is around what the minimum amount is - ie if parental income is 60k +

Yuleloglatte Mon 16-Mar-15 06:21:12

It was a shock to me too, don't feel stupid. She will have a few months over the summer to work, ideally a job where she can work at holidays too - local pub or deli that need extra christmas staff.

Choose halls that are easy to travel from and self catered. Get her a cheap bike. Teach her some budget meals. They are actually there only about 10-12 weeks at a time, it's not a full year remember.

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Cooroo Mon 16-Mar-15 07:54:40

That is the amount given in the letter we received from loan people. I didn't apply for grant because I know were £1000 over the limit. Trouble is some of that is DP's income and he's not her father so I'm not asking him to contribute. Am going to try ex-DH though they are prob worse off than us with more children.

OP’s posts: |
hellsbells99 Mon 16-Mar-15 08:00:29

The money you have save up will make up the difference for accommodation costs over the 3 years - Sheffield is cheap. DD's friends parents give him £35 a week to live off and he manages fine.

Cooroo Mon 16-Mar-15 08:45:07

Thanks hellsbells - it's good to see some actual numbers. Considering dropping mortgage protection to free up a bit more cash. Can't skimp on pension at my age!

OP’s posts: |
AtiaoftheJulii Mon 16-Mar-15 08:57:28

I find it a bit odd you are only able to find £100 a month for your DD. It must be costing you more than that to clothe and feed her at home. Does she not go out? Does she not have transport costs at home? What are you spending your money on? Clearly not her.

"Clearly not her"'s a bit rude MMM!

I give my dd £60 pcm pocket money and she uses that for all non-school expenses (i.e. buys her own clothes). She has a bike, so minimal transport costs. Food I guess is around £20/week. I buy shoes for school and maybe the odd bit of clothing. That's easily up to £150 - it might be Cooroo that you can free up more bits and bobs than you think?

Cooroo Mon 16-Mar-15 09:28:21

'Clearly not her' - I was ignoring that as it came with lots of helpful stuff! And I'm not going to bore you with a breakdown of our outgoings. I top up her earnings with £40 a month. Violin lessons are £65 a term so that amount will be instantly freed. I'm giving up my piano lessons (sob) so save more. I give her money for essential clothes - like her 3 pairs of trousers had all gone to holes and bless her she tried a repair but I got her a couple of new pairs. She looks great but does it very economically!

OP’s posts: |
Littleham Mon 16-Mar-15 09:44:26

Two other things that are worth doing.

Just before she goes to Sheffield, take a trip there and show her the cheapest places to shop for each item eg. Pound shops, cheap supermarkets & markets. This will pay dividends through the years ahead.

Also look for the best bank account. Some have cheaper overdraft charges & others have perks such as a free railcard or in credit interest.

Doilooklikeatourist Mon 16-Mar-15 09:57:51

Check whether there are any bursarys available from Sheffield

We had a talk at DDs school given by Student Finance , and we're told it's always worth asking the uni direct if there's any financial assistance available

hellsbells99 Mon 16-Mar-15 10:01:41

There is an Aldi that is well-used by students!

MillyMollyMama Mon 16-Mar-15 10:02:48

Sorry. Did not mean to be quite so pointed. I know lots of people with a household income like yours and they definitely spend more than £100 a month on their teenager. You have now said you have extra household income from DP but you don't want to ask him to help. Maybe he could help with other household expenses and free up some of your money for your DD. £42,000 is pretty near the higher tax bracket and I do know it is a squeezed middle income but I really do know lots of people on that level of income who spend a lot more on their children. I know plenty who earn less and spend more on their children. I just wondered why your outgoings were so high that you had so little left over from a pretty decent salary that others would aspire to. Do you not pay for your DDs phone? Why is your ex DH not being asked to contribute anything? He does have some responsibility surely? Or does having lots of children absolve him from that? If you live where I do, you would spend £100 a month on petrol taking your children to and fro!

titchy Mon 16-Mar-15 10:11:24

MMM don't forget she'll lose her child benefit once her dd has finished school....

MoominKoalaAndMiniMoom Mon 16-Mar-15 10:12:48

- Cheaper phone contract
- Shop at ALDI. I was amazed when I came to uni by how many students thought Sainsbury's was budget and cheap hmm
- If she's one for going out to the clubs, keep an eye open for good nights and good deals. The uni will often have them littered about - my table in the library is covered in little flyers for special St Patrick's Day offers at the moment grin
- Cheapest accommodation, even if that means shared bathroom and self-catered.
- If you can't give money, can you give an occasional food care package? My mum did this for me in first year from time to time - I was living off pasta and noodles (not a hardship for me as I'm used to it grin ) but my mum would send up a box with a pack of Pom Bears, chocolate, a bottle of alcohol, my favourite shampoo and conditioner etc.

I'm lucky and got full loan and grant (I say lucky, it's necessary as my parents have literally nothing to give financially, and could never have saved anything for me either), but was able to help flatmates etc with budgeting as it's all I've ever known smile

Superexcited Mon 16-Mar-15 10:23:03

When I put your figures (household income £42k) into the student loan calculator it says that your child's maintenance loan entitlement is £5686 and a grant of £168.
Perhaps because you didn't tick the box and complete the details to apply for a grant you have been given the loan without your household income being taken into account. It is important to apply for everything and provide all of the means testing figures even if you think you won't qualify.

titchy Mon 16-Mar-15 11:48:53

Actually superexcited is right - the loan amount you have been quoted is for a household income of £62k. A household income of £42k gets her £5740 here:
https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/undergraduate/finance/fees/2015/maintenance-loans

2rebecca Mon 16-Mar-15 11:49:18

Why would your partner not contribute towards his stepdaughter if his income stops her being able to get a grant?
I earn more than my husband and contribute towards his student children. I see them as part of my family. Their mum contributes as well but if you love someone would you not want their children who they will love very much even if you don't to be looked after?
My student son shops at Aldis and eats lots of stir fries. Noodles and vegetables are fairly cheap.

stonecircle Mon 16-Mar-15 12:48:50

I agree with 2rebecca OP. If your DH's income forms part of the household income which precludes your dd from a full maintenance loan - then surely he should contribute.

JugglingFromHereToThere Mon 16-Mar-15 13:09:45

Thanks for the thread OP I think all this is valuable MN advice for us too, even though dd is "only" in Y11 ATM. I'm sure it all comes round earlier than you expect and easily takes you by surprise

SecretSquirrels Mon 16-Mar-15 14:23:33

Good advice already here.
DS is self catered and his loan just covers his rent. I give him £300 a month but he is spending less than that so we may review it.

Things that have saved him money or worked out cheaper than expected;
Summer of lessons from me on cooking on a budget;
Took him around the supermarket to explain thrifty buying of food techniques;
Sharing a flat with 7 others who cooks If he is lucky he only has to buy and cook one evening meal a week, albeit for 7/8 people;
I do save a lot without him here, though it took a while to get used to cooking for 3 instead of 4.

What really eats up the money is drinking and clubbing which thankfully he doesn't do much.

Cooroo Mon 16-Mar-15 15:12:43

I will change the application - exciting if we can get more! DP earns less than me so I usually pay for DD things (not food we share that). And he's helped to school trips once or twice. It works for us. Emotionally if not financially!

OP’s posts: |

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