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What can I do re. DC and uni.

(91 Posts)
Lucsy Thu 07-Apr-16 13:17:47

Ok first thing. My DC are 12 and 10. So I'm years away, and I don't know if their current success academically will continue or if they will want to go to Uni. But I think they will and they are already talking about it

I'm completely skint. I can't save much if only £5 a week. I won't be able to help them financially of things stay as they are, and I'm long term disabled so that isn't likely to change.

I've read repeatedly that parents have to sign guarantors for post year 1 uni accommodation. I'm not in a position to, and as I'm not working and would not be able to get a tenancy in my own name, think it's very unlikely that I'll be accepted as a guarantor for them

Single parent, no help from any family or their dad. Nobody to ask to be their guarantor either

Then there is the fact that despite being very able academically. ( both children passed 11+ with top marks and are doing very well indeed despite their poor background). They do no extra curricular activities because I simply can't afford it. It's a struggle to survive. So god only knows what they can put on their forms when they get to that stage

I'm feeling incredibly guilty. The DC work very hard and have high ambitions, both are talking about medical careers - and yes I know things can change and they may end up wanting something else entirely.

What can I do now to help? Every time ds mentions wanting Cambridge/ London my heart sinks. He is very able and I'm not going to be able to help him. Even at a signing a bit of paper for him to be able to live somewhere level.

Can someone advise please? Both children have junior isa's from their CTF accounts that they will be able to access at 18, but it's only £1k each at the moment as I haven't been able to top it up

What will happen? Will the unis be able to help?

And agin I'm saying its a long way off. I know. But if there is something I can do now I would like to, rather than have a panic in 5/6 years.

LIZS Thu 07-Apr-16 13:21:09

Mos dc take out loans and there are some funds for living expenses for those on low income. Some Unis offer bursaries too.

Lucsy Thu 07-Apr-16 13:23:25

Thanks. Does anyone know the specifics about the guarantors for shared houses?
That's the real huge worry.

PeaStalks Thu 07-Apr-16 13:29:00

First of all don't worry.
Student loans are higher for those on low incomes.

Universities all have bursaries and scholarships for those whose families are on the lowest incomes. Oxford and Cambridge more than others.
Believe it or not the cheapest places to go are Oxbridge.
Your DC can work a little when they are older, even if only in the holidays.

Do not believe all the stuff about extra curricular. It really, really isn't necessary to have a list of expensive EC on your application. My DS1 got offers from 5 top unis without a single EC activity. DS2 also got 5 good offers without any mention of violin playing or sporting prowess, although he has had some varied part time jobs.
If they want to do medicine then some form of volunteering is needed but it need not cost money.

Of course the rules will have changed in 5 years time but probably not that much,

PeaStalks Thu 07-Apr-16 13:32:02

About the guarantors. I have never had to sign or guarantee any tenancy for my DC but I think that depends on the location. Student lets in some places do expect that. Try posting on Higher Education.
Students at Oxbridge can live in halls throughout their degree.

Lucsy Thu 07-Apr-16 13:35:16

Peastalks. Thanks.

I'm having a moment of guilt filled horror that's all. I had a dream last night of DC being kicked out of uni after year 1 because I couldn't sign a guarantor form and he had nowhere to live. It wasn't nice.

GeminiRising Thu 07-Apr-16 13:37:53

Don't worry too much. Hubby and I are in an IVA and have stood guarantor for my daughter who is currently in Uni without an issue.

Lucsy Thu 07-Apr-16 13:39:54

Gemini. That's reassuring. Thanks. Did they ask if you were working?

Thanks again Pea. He is adamant he's going to Cambridge - I'm just trying to manage his expectations a bit without crushing dreams.

corythatwas Thu 07-Apr-16 13:40:15

Let's put it this way, Lucsy: your dc will not be the first children from a similar background to go to Oxbridge or London (if that is indeed where they decide/are able to go). Universities these days have special student advisors whose job it is to help with these practical problems: they will know exactly what to do.

MyKingdomForBrie Thu 07-Apr-16 13:40:55

I was at Durham and in college accomodation throughout with no need to live out, there will always be options for them.

JimmyGreavesMoustache Thu 07-Apr-16 13:41:50

Cambridge is definitely a good bet if you're skint - make sure you find out which are the richer colleges!
DH went to Cambridge from a comp, and his accommodation bills were cheaper than mine at a Northern redbrick. The accommodation was also better quality.

My parents died during my undergrad degree. During my final year, and subsequently for my postgrad professional qualification I made successful applications for hardship funds, getting generous non-repayable grants.

Lucsy Thu 07-Apr-16 13:41:55

Thanks Cory. That's what I had hoped but you just don't know.
I don't know where they will end up if anywhere. But I don't want doors closed to them because of me

Ohtobeskiing Thu 07-Apr-16 13:42:12

It is possible at some universities to stay in halls of residence beyond 1st year.

GeminiRising Thu 07-Apr-16 13:44:36

Lucsy - It was two years ago but from what I remember they just sent me a form to sign to say that I was prepared to guarantee her rent and send proof of my address and ID .

BreconBeBuggered Thu 07-Apr-16 13:44:41

In the city where DS studies, it seems to be the norm to expect guarantors to be UK homeowners. I have no idea what foreign students or those whose parents rent do, but I imagine the university would advise you when the time comes. DH has been a guarantor for him on a couple of different properties. The landlords didn't do credit checks, and if they had, they'd know we couldn't pay any rent shortfall out of our income or nonexistent savings.

I know it's a worry, but don't torment yourself with it now. Your DC would be far from the only ones in that situation, and by that age they'll be able to do their own research.

diplodocus Thu 07-Apr-16 13:44:50

A lot of landlords do not use parent guarantors as they are very difficult to legally enforce. Student lets are usually based on the fact that all housemates are "jointly and severally liable" - i.e. if one student doesn't pay the others have to. The same would stand for a guarantor, and I think very few of us would be happy about having liability for a whole house of unknown students! Most that I know just ask for a deposit. I can understand your anxiety, but I really think that costs are so high most of us can only help out a little at best - your kids won't be unusual.

TheFairyCaravan Thu 07-Apr-16 13:47:26

DS2 is doing nursing at uni. He's just got a house for his second year. I'm disabled and don't work, they wouldn't let me be a guarantor, DH had to do it. His flat mate's mum is on ESA and doesn't work, she's just got a house for her second year so there must be ways around it. DS2 has a part time job in the city where he's at uni. Most of his friends do.

They've just changed the way that students are being financed, by the time your children go they'll have probably changed again.

VinceNoirLovesHowardMoon Thu 07-Apr-16 13:47:34

They need to choose universities in cheaper parts of the country with a more stagnant rental market. Avoid the south east like the plague. Or they could stay living at home, and get a part time job to contribute to their living costs.

Momamum Thu 07-Apr-16 13:51:02

When life for me and DS imploded, I was advised to get a copy of The Charities Handbook (libraries have it) and look to see if there were any I could approach for funding. I did and as a result DS was funded through school and university and up til he was 25 if needed.

I see you're long term disabled? Advise you to look at charities supporting your disability. Your children are v. Bright? Lots of help there, too. Universities themselves can, and do, offer bursaries.

Good luck, op and well done for your forward thinking, there really is help out there smile

Foxyloxy1plus1 Thu 07-Apr-16 13:51:40

Lots of students have part time jobs to help fund their way through university. They can also have weekend jobs from the age of 16. Obviously, it's probably minimum wage, but everything helps.

KindDogsTail Thu 07-Apr-16 13:53:20

Please don't worry.

Everything Peastalks says is true.
Also true is that Oxbridge helps a lot with bursaries for people on low incomes.

Here is a link to The Sutton Trust. You may find helpful things here.

ExtraHotLatteToGo Thu 07-Apr-16 13:54:23

Lucsy. Please don't 'manage their expectations' in that way. Fill them full of confidence that they can do anything they put their minds to. It's the best thing yu can do for your children. When the time comes together yu will find a way to make it work if they are determined it's what they want to do.

Try not to worry or you'll spoil these years with them 💐

Lucsy Thu 07-Apr-16 13:56:30

Thanks all. Such a mind field. So different too each uni seems to be.
I'll save what I can, DC both already asked when they can get jobs so I'm sure they will get one when they are old enough.

I'm determined not to let them be any more disadvantaged than they already are.

They are both very bright. Ds in particular is something else and his school have already picked up on it. I don't care what they decide to do. Just don't want doors slammed in their faces because of me

ifyoulikepinacolada Thu 07-Apr-16 14:00:36

If the worst comes to the worst, then they'll just need to stay in uni halls for the duration of their degrees. That's it. There is so much support out there and unis have student liaison officers who will help - your dc absolutely can go to oxbridge if they work hard enough so please do encourage them!

flowers for you. You sound like a wonderful mum.

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Thu 07-Apr-16 14:09:23

Turn2us has a grants search; you might find there are things available for your DCs or yourselves now.
And what everyone else said.

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