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University students and money(59 Posts)
After initially saying he wants to go to a local uni next year and live at home, my DS has now decided he wants to look at one further away as the course looks more suitable.
I want him to have the choice to go if this is what he wants, but I'm a bit concerned about money. I've calculated the maintenance grant he'll be entitled to - about £6,500 - and I know self catering halls are approx £4,500. My question is, how much money do they need a week to live on? I need to work out if it's affordable for him to go. I'm a single parent, and although my salary is quite good, my outgoings are high, I haven't got a huge amount left at the end of each month.
Any advice greatly appreciated
It's not to you to decide, if he wants to go he needs to save up. Only help if you want to and can afford to, it's certainly not expected.
My DD lived on the low maintenance, £3300 and a £250 grant from her local area, and we paid her rent £4800. She's not a drinker and walks everywhere. When she came home, most of the time we collected and dropped her back. So, her travel costs were quite minimal. Some of her peers worked and the Uni paid ambassadors which were another option to raise funds.
Hope that's some sort of "minimal" starting point.
Isn't that what is expected, though? The full loan is around £8,500 I think. I think the government would expect parents to top up to £8,500 as it's because of their earnings that their DC isn't getting the £8,500. That's what the government has rightly or wrongly decided is how much parents should contribute.
Ellen I agree, I think parents are expected to top up. DS is at sixth form so won't be able to save up much from his pt job. He can get a job when he's at uni, but I wouldn't want him to do too many hours when he's studying, so I see it that any money he earns would be his 'going out' money. I see it as my responsibility to make sure he has food, books, clothes and money for transport.
I guess you can work out food costs for yourself.
Beyond that, daily transport (0 for my DD2, £4 a day for DD1).
That's the minimum. If they want to drink themselves into oblivion, it comes at a cost.
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Yes in theory the parents are meant to top up to the £8500, however theory is a wonderful thing. This system is shit and so unfair on the students. We earn decent salaries but there is no way we were able to pay the rent for our two who were studying at the same time.
They both had jobs during the summer and whilst at uni, we did a big shop for them once a month, sent them back with food, toiletries etc and paid for their travel.
My DS has just started in self-catered halls costing £4000 a year. The cost varies across the country.
2000/32 weeks of term time is 62.50 per week. In halls so that needs to cover food and travel but not utility bills normally. TBH that sounds like plenty to me.
How is he at managing his money?
I guess you are talking about starting uni in 2018? So across this year and the summer he needs to start squirrelling away money. Christmas and birthday presents need to be practical (bedding, towels etc) rather than fun.
Start building up a stock of non perishable, easy cook food (small tins of beans, canned soup etc) for him to take away.
Advice i gave DD1 (and heard her pass on to DD2) was don't fall into a Costa habit.
Many universities offer bursaries for certain courses. This is well worth checking out. My DD1 gets a small bursary which she uses to buy a bus pass in her university city.
Some of the universities have a rough idea how much a student needs to live on:
And more, have a scroll around. If he gets a maximum loan and possibly a bursary, he should be ok. He can get a student bank account with an interest free loan, and work in the summer months as much as possible.
What about student loans? Not ideal and I'm still paying mine off (20 years later but then I had a huge period of time when I wasn't earning enough to have to pay so put off for years
Parents are expected to contribute unless you are on a low income. However the system doesn't take into account other outgoings that parents may have.
But if you don't have money spare, you don't have it. Don't fall into the trap of skinting yourself to finance his lifestyle. He's an adult, if he wants more than the absolute basics, he needs to work too.
Universities post cost of living information which is pretty accurate as they need this for students who require visas. Get your DS to look at the cost of living in different cities when they are choosing a university. It can make a big difference. My DS didn't even look at London as it is so expensive. He is very happy in a great university in a very cheap city
A lot of us were discussing the high cost of many hall places this year on the uni 2017 thread. Some universities have shortages and the 'cheaper' rooms are in short supply.
Some universities 'guarantee' accommodation - but that could be in a private halls at £7,600 (e.g.)
And a lot depends on the DC making their firm offer. The 'guarantees' that come with insurance, clearing and adjustment offers are very likely to come with a price tag well above £5k.
It's a bit of a hidden scandalette, really.
@flumpybear it is the loan the OP is talking about.
My ds is in part catered...has a room with ensuite. He has just started. When all that is paid for he is left with around £50 a week however he does get a fair amount maintenance wise i do not think if he got 4500 i would be able to add another 4k it is madness.
Well i might at an extreme push. Derailing slightly. If they are adults why the heck is parents income linked to anything they receive?
Accommodation cost seems to vary a lot from place to place and also they are options for saving in choosing particular accommodation in your place of choice.
I convinced DD to take shared bathroom accommodation, as ensuite was almost 1k more than her actual loan, as it is she only has a few hundred left over. She worked really hard in the year and particularly months up to starting Uni (once exams were done) and saved 1k and I saved a similar amount which I am paying to her at £30 a week.
I gave her the option of having a lump sum, but suggested knowing she is going to have money for food every week might be reassuring! It is a bit of a trial basis until Christmas to see how it works out. I think a fair bit was spent on Freshers week but things seems to have settled down a bit. I'm finding it a difficult balance between making sure she doesn't have to go without and not wanting to fund a party lifestyle!!
The biggest problem with the student loan system is basing it solely on parental income without taking into account outgoings which obviously vary massively. As other posters have advised, it's important to look at the cost of living in various cities, Northern unis will have cheaper rents (not just in halls, you have to consider the cost of renting privately from year 2). Part time jobs while at uni will help him along, but that will depend on the demands of his course. While some courses are fairly undemanding in terms of contact time allowing students the flexibility to work, if he was planning on something like medicine or chemical engineering, he wouldn't have time to work. So there are many issues to take into account. The cost of halls can vary from about £60 percent for basic rooms with shared bathrooms to £160 pw for en suite, even more for catered. You'll really need to sit down with him and have a serious chat about where he wants to go, what his course will involve, what type of room he's prepared to live in etc, all the info will be available online so you'll be able to work out costs before he makes his decision. Good luck 😉
I didn't expect my parents to contribute but they chose to give me £1000 in my first year. However I got £3300 maintenance which covered my £3200 accommodation. So I would have been living off about £30 a week. I had to get a job, I had no choice.
DD1 will be getting £40/week from me to cover food and bills. In addition I am paying the balance of her rent not covered by her mtce loan about £600 for the year and a basic phone contract.
Drink and other entertainment are on her own account.
DD2 starts uni next year so we will have two to pay for.
DH and I are going to be living on bread and skilly for the next 5 years.