Supporting your DC through Uni

(39 Posts)
JugglingFromHereTothere Thu 09-Jul-15 10:11:08

DD is currently Y11 - just done GCSE's - and we're just beginning to think a few steps ahead to Uni possibilities. We visited one Uni open day recently - for a course she liked the look of in Wildlife Biology at Uni of Salford. But sensibly says she'd like to see other places to compare, so we've just started to look really.
We also had a look at a typical student room and started to think about accommodation and generally the costs of going to Uni.

So I just wanted to ask any of you with DC at Uni how much financial (or other) support are you able to give your DC? How much do you feel is needed? Am feeling if we could afford it it would be good to be able to pay her accommodation costs for her? (as my DP's did for me back in the good old days) Do many of you do this for your DC?
I gather that a loan for living costs is also an option? And/or DC could work whilst at Uni? Do your DC do this?

Would be very helpful to know how much support you give your DC through Uni and/or to what extent they're able to be independent?

OP’s posts: |
basildonbond Thu 09-Jul-15 14:45:42

You'll probably get very varied responses as family incomes will dictate what support parents can provide

We will be paying for ds's accommodation, he's applied for the minimum loan which is £3700-ish for next year and he's working over the summer as a lifeguard. He doesn't have massively expensive habits so I'm hoping that should be enough. He's going into catered halls so won't have food costs on top of rent

ThroughThickAndThin01 Thu 09-Jul-15 14:56:27

We pay accommodation for ds1 (2nd year, £96 per week), and will do the same for the others. Ds2 looking to go SEptember 2016, and his hall fees are an eye watering £136 per week (if he goes to his first choice uni). It's an expensive business.

TinklyLittleLaugh Thu 09-Jul-15 15:04:58

I reckon my son gets through about £8500 a year. Of that he gets about £3500 in loan, (the full amount he can borrow) £4500 from us, and earns about £500 in the holidays.

Most of this, at least £4000, goes on his rent but includes study related trips and travelling/festivals whatever in the summer.

We have DD going too in September. It is very expensive.

JugglingFromHereToThere Thu 09-Jul-15 15:35:29

Thanks all.
Very interesting - and of course people offer whatever support they can depending on individual circumstances.
At least there's three years between our DC so if I can persuade dd to go straight to Uni after school with no gap year (which also seems a very expensive concept!) then she could be finished just before ds starts his.
Am hoping it's not that much more expensive than having them at home but fear this may be a rosy view of things
Feel I'd like to be able to pay for their accommodation if possible.
Possibly they could fund other living costs through work and/or loan
Think I'll need to get a job to see them through college/Uni (don't have one ATM but have worked quite recently)

TheWordFactory Thu 09-Jul-15 18:27:22

jugling it's quite common for parents to pay for accommodation.

TheWordFactory Thu 09-Jul-15 18:29:26

This is a good thread


JugglingFromHereToThere Thu 09-Jul-15 18:30:09

Thanks word - it's interesting and helpful to know what sort of thing others are doing

SueDunome Thu 09-Jul-15 18:31:14

The maintenance loan had just been increased in the Budget to £8200 per year. It appears that this is available to all and is not means tested, unlike the old maintenance loan.

JugglingFromHereToThere Thu 09-Jul-15 18:48:58

Thanks Sue I think that's quite reassuring and makes me feel more confident that she will at least be able to go! Even if there may well be quite a scary amount to pay back at some point (but not til she's earning a graduate type salary of 21k + which hopefully will happen at some point - I like to think of it along the lines of a graduate tax)

Thanks for the link to the other thread word
Lots there - just about equally scary and reassuring in equal measure grin

On the whole I'd rather know what may lie ahead and then I can think about whether there's anything I can do about it!

spinoa Thu 09-Jul-15 18:57:40

The maintenance loans will be means tested with the amount of £8200 per year only available to students whose family income is less than £25000 per year.

Currently such a student would get a grant plus a loan totalling around £8000 so the actual amount they get is unchanged.

Students whose family income is more than £60000 or so will still get only the minimum loan of around £3000.

It would be incredibly expensive to make loans of £8000 available for all students.

TheWordFactory Thu 09-Jul-15 19:00:15

It probably would be too expensive ( when you take into account low rates of repayment).
But sadly this still leaves us in a position where the maintainance loan often doesn't cover accommodationsad.

SueDunome Thu 09-Jul-15 19:04:25

Thanks Spinoa. Can you point me to somewhere that it says that? I'm not questioning you, just haven't been able to find an explanation myself. I'd based my assumption on George Osborne saying the maintenance loan would be increased and available to students from all backgrounds.

spinoa Thu 09-Jul-15 19:36:08

Osborne said that students from all backgrounds would have access to university, not that all students would receive full maintenance loans.

The reporting of this item was appalling - most news stories made it sound like all students currently receive maintenance grants, even though only those from poorer families (<£40k) do.

Figures for the non-maximum loan amounts and thresholds have not been announced, see

The total amount received by a student is likely to be similar to what it currently is though.

JugglingFromHereToThere Thu 09-Jul-15 19:58:20

Have just talked it through with dd(16) and she seemed reassured about it all and said "That sounds really good" But mostly, after our first Uni visit last week, I think we're both just quite excited about the idea of her going at all (though obviously for me there's the going to miss her aspect too)

At present our family income is just below the threshold for maximum maintenance loan and we also have low housing costs so maybe things might just work out not too badly? Fingers crossed X

MedusaIsHavingaBadHairday Fri 10-Jul-15 23:53:40

I've just put two of my kids through uni.. 5 years med school for one, 3 years Nursing (so got a bursary) for the other.They are both graduating shortly. We are average (low average) earners and only got a grant of £150. They had student loans, worked through uni, and they paid their rent with their loans..just. I sent £50 a week for one, £30 for the other . Sounds unfair but the nursing student was much better off due to the NHS bursary and asked me to just send £30.

On top of that have been travel fees ..they get reimbursed eventually but we always helped out, books, random courses and rail tickets and money for clothing etc. Ball dresses and sometimes rent bonds.

Both were/are on seriously full time courses.. but both manages to fit in part time jobs.. Medic worked bank hours in a hospital.. nurse worked at fatface. For students on less placement focussed courses part time work is definitely very very doable.

DD1 will have a huge student loan to replay as med school is 5 years. But they only pay it back in installments after they earn 21k. (she will start on about 22k as a junior doctor) It' my own option, quite a fair system...and I say that as someone who is neither 'rich' enough to pay their rent or help out on a grand scale, not 'poor' enough to get extra help. It is doable!

MedusaIsHavingaBadHairday Fri 10-Jul-15 23:55:05

And I have to say that after September when I will no longer be funding either of them... my bank balance should look a lot healthier!!!!!! But it has been worth the penny pinching ...all the way smile

Out2pasture Sat 11-Jul-15 00:15:32

DH and I put three though uni all back to back. All three chose schools away from home (we lived in a remote location with no uni's).
We paid for what we could, cosigned loans for each child for what we couldn't.
We asked that the children assist with the loan payments (monthly when they were able).
DH and I continued with the payments until they were all paid off (approximately 10 years from start to finish).
Coming up with monthly small (and not so small) sums was not a hardship, what was difficult and the reason for the loans where the large chunk deposits for residence.
We deposited into their bank accounts $75 per week ON MONDAYS (to prevent them spending it on Friday nights) for food and sundries.
One went to uni full time for 4 years and never found a decent summer job that was of any financial help. One got an industrial job that paid extremely well and was able to pay a good 50%. One attended part time for a long long time and worked enough to pay for a good 50% once we gave him a vehicle sad.

BackforGood Sat 11-Jul-15 00:19:12

With any financial question, there's a HUGE variety, due to all the different financial circumstances of all the MNers who reply.

What we've found (I have a ds who has just completed his first year, and then many of my friends dcs are at various points in University) is that

a) cost vary, yes, from University to University, but also from one type of accomm. to another around the University

b) how easy / difficult it is to get a job varies University to University, but also course to course, as some subjects (tend to be the Sciences) have a lot more contact time, and some (vocational ones) tend to have placements, etc.,etc. - it's not so easy to say "they can get a job". ds worked throughout Yrs 11, 12, and 13 so isn't workshy, but he's not been able to get anything in his University town.

c) I have been surprised how much I've had to pay out at short notice. We worked out that his student loan just covered his rent, so said he could use that to pay his rent and we'd send him 'living' money each week or month. What we didn't realise is that, once you get your grades in August and confirm your place, you then have to stump up some hundreds of ££ for 'deposit' - yes, you get it back in the Summer Term, but it's a lot of money to have lying about 'spare' if you aren't expecting it. They are then expected to put down deposits for their 2nd yr accomm. by about Christmas in the first year - obv. before you get back your deposit for the first room.

d) Finding work in the holidays has been easier.

e) My ds has managed well on the budget he's had - getting really good at shopping and learning that vegetarian recipes are cheaper than meat ones, etc.

f) It's good to think of it as a 'graduate tax' rather than a loan though, as they only make payments as and when their income is above £21K.

Headofthehive55 Sat 11-Jul-15 08:19:18

Look at the cost of rent in the areas you are looking to study. It makes your money go much further if you choose somewhere inexpensive rather than say London which is obviously much more expensive. Prices for other things vary too. The cost of a car park permit at a friends daughters northern uni was 500 but at my daughters, £20. No rhyme no reason it seems!

senua Sat 11-Jul-15 08:38:31

We worked out that his student loan just covered his rent

It's an amazing coincidence, isn't it? Funny how most rents come in around that mark.hmm

JugglingFromHereToThere Sat 11-Jul-15 09:14:09

Yes I think some cities are going to be more student friendly than others Headofthehive - and a big part of that is cheaper, especially for rents and availability of accommodation for 2nd and 3rd years. As I mentioned we just visited Manchester and it did seem it could be a great student city - everyone very friendly too (even if we did get stuck on a local train in the sweltering heat for over half an hour - I'm guessing that doesn't happen every time?!)

Lots of very helpful experience shared here - thanks again everybody

SecretSquirrels Sat 11-Jul-15 13:53:30

This time last year I was on the thread word linked to.
Much of what we have learned agrees with BackforGood.
DS had very little free time and could not have managed to work as well as study. He does however have a part time job that he has returned to during every holiday.
His living expenses were much lower than anticipated. This was due to
a) Frugal shopping and cooking
b) a flat where they had a cooking rota - cheaper to cook in bulk.
c) he is not a big drinker. Some spend a fortune on drinking and clubbing
d) he didn't join in many clubs and societies.

This last one was a shame IMO. Before going to uni there was a lot of hype about sports, clubs and societies but no mention of how much they all cost. I had budgeted for him to be able to do those things but he is tight prides himself on being frugal.

Hoping they don't put tuition fees before DS2 goes........

spinoa Sat 11-Jul-15 13:58:14

Currently the tuition fees are fixed, which means that in real terms they go down every year. The promised increases would be with inflation, i.e. meaning that in real terms the fees would stay the same.

antimatter Sat 11-Jul-15 14:15:49

We went to see various unis in the last few weeks.
I could see that accommodation cost was the highest in London.
I suspect if you include travel costs I need to look at just over 9K per year of which 6K per year would come form us, her parents.
I am going to make sure I have enough saved so that we don't have to scramble for money when deposits are due.

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