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Living expenses and maintenance loan(47 Posts)
According the student loan calculators my dd should get around £6000 maintenance loan. We're thinking of getting her to pay the rent from her loan and then giving her a regular amount to make up the shortfall for food, transport and other expenses. I hope she'll be able to get part time work and holiday work, but I just want to get an idea of how much students are likely to need for living expenses when you exclude rent? She wants to go for self catered accommodation, but hasn't chosen her firm or insurance yet, possibly Newcastle.
Those who pay a regular amount to their dcs, do you think it works best to pay weekly, monthly or termly?
I've been looking at the Which? calculator, but I think they've taken yearly expenses and divided it into a monthly amount as some of the items are quite strange e.g. £60-odd a month for holidays and flights!? I'm trying to find a basic, but realistic total to budget for.
One more question I can't find the answer to on the student loans website: is the maintenance loan amount set for 3 years based on parental income in the year of application, or can it change if income changes in subsequent years?
It is supposed to be. £200 a week for everything... Rent as well..
The rent gets paid as soon as each term loan comes in ..
There are 42 weeks of uni a year...
Have you seen the Martin Lewis TV show. The maintenance loan away from home outside London is a maximum of £8,430. It states on the student finance website as pointed out by ML that parents are expected to fund the difference between that amount and the amount they receive due to family income.
However in many parts of the country the actual maintenance loan doesn't even cover rent. We used to pay our oldest son's rent and he used his maintenance loan to live on.
You need to work out what your family can afford.
DD got minimum maintenance loan, about £1.4k per term which didn't quite cover the rent/catered, and that was Oxford, which is cheaper in general terms than many city unis. We then gave DD £500 per month extra, which I know is on the high side, but she couldn't work, and also had extra weeks to pay for as she stayed longer than the minimum terms for project and lab work.
Sorry just realised my last sentence is stating the bloody obvious! I would make a list of all her anticipated expenses. The first term there will be more expense due to freshers week, joining clubs, buying sports team kit etc so make an allowance for that.
Also if she goes out of halls in 2nd/3rd year sometimes it can be cheaper (especially somewhere like Newcastle).
Add up what loan she will get, what she intends to contribute from savings from summer job etc and start from there. Make it an exercise that she has to do with you and she will see for herself how tough it will be.
I am trying to get dd to make a budget & realising that I've probably not been very helpful by not expecting her to do this sooner in life. Eg if she needs deodorant, tampons, stationery, etc she puts them on the shopping list & I add them to our online shop, and also pay for school canteen & transport, so she's not really got much idea of how much necessities will cost. I don't have much idea of things like how much students will spend on a night out, or even what kind of food she's likely to buy - not the kind of things that I'm buying to cook fairly complicated family meals. I was hoping there might be a realistic cost breakdown somewhere online. but haven't found one yet.
I think my main concern is that accommodation costs vary so much & students can't rely on getting their first choice. I was looking at one of the unis dd has an offer from and the range for self catering was from around £100pw to £140pw, so presumably all of those students aren't living on £8400 per year, or some would have much more disposable income than others. Btw thanks to those who mentioned the £200pw/£8400pa figure - I'd read the amount before but stupidly didn't even think to use that as a basis for budgeting!
My son gets the absolute basic maintenance loan of whatever it is? £3200? And we cover his rent plus a bit over. The rent is about 5500, and we pay 6000. He is in a town where the rents are high, but him and a few others shopped around carefully. Accommodation varies in price everywhere. If he had got the full maintenance amount we would have needed to contribute very little, but then he manages fine, and has a life. He works a bit in the holidays.
Assuming that the rent is covered by her loan or topped up by you, then living costs are still hard to gauge.
Things to think about.
The first term is more expensive than the second.
The third term is usually shorter than the others.
Some youngsters spend more than others. Does she have an expensive phone contract, like to party, participate in a sport? Those things add up (sports memberships can be £££).
Travel in some uni towns can add up.
They are home quite a lot, terms are usually 30 weeks of the year.
As an example my DD is in halls and after rent I give her £300 a month which is more than enough. She only gets it in term time and works during the summer.
Imperfectsusan - am I right in working out that your ds has £9200 in total so that's quite a bit more than the full loan would be? I'm wondering if we need to budget for more, maybe just give dd up to the £8400 limit, but keep some in reserve in case of emergencies.
I just found this online, which looks helpful - just going to look at the other universities dd has offers from.
I think taking the maximum loan is a good starting point as said above. That is about £8k. That will cover most halls rent but not all parents can afford a penny over the minimum loan and some students live at home anyway so it is hard to generalise.
I pay the rent (and fees actually as my twins don't have loans) plus an allowance of £150 a week to each through the year and bills and provide a shared car and in holidays pay for their food even though their allowance remains the same. I pay it weekly so they never run out of money. That will be upper end and plenty of students get an awful lot less.
They will find people with hardly any money and those with lots at university and it is a good chance to get to know different people with different amounts of money and all part of the experience of it all.
I think holidays are added because many students take them. Someone has to pay for a week in the sun! So either factor it in, pay for the holiday or get them to fund it. If they have a holiday it is an expense.
DH won't comment, but I'm thinking we'll need to make the amount she gets up to the maximum maintenance loan. Anything over and above that, then hopefully a small job/holiday job will help. Lessons in being frugal may also help if she listens!
For our son and daughter (who both got minimum rate around £4500 I think) we paid rent for 1st year, as they were in halls and the price was ridiculous (£7000!) They then had to live on their loans plus any extras that we gave periodically. We still paid for mobile phones, books etc.
Years 2 and 3 when they lived out and rents were cheaper they were expected to pay rent out of their loans and we then paid them £100 per week paid weekly. Again, still paid for phones, books, top up shops and any big expenses.
Forgot to add, amounts do change each year even if your income is the same. The third year is a shock and is a lot less despite them having to still pay rent for a full year.
The bursaries/scholarships available from universities varies greatly and it was one of the big deciding factors when DD was applying.
Imperial College gives up to £5k bursary and Edinburgh gives up to £7,200 bursary for English students.
I was concerned that being a single parent family on a low income would mean DD just couldn't afford to go to university but I was so wrong. She ended up at Imperial where the accommodation is £5600 out of her £11200 grant. £1000 a year goes on travel. I give her money for food and she has a p/t job. Plus she has a £4k bursary.
out of her £11200 grant
If only they got grants......
Still a loan of £11200 and a bursary of £4000 is way more than most students get.
She ended up at Imperial where the accommodation is £5600 I am shocked that accommodation at a London university is no more than in a NE city.
How come students get considerably less in their last year - that makes no sense whatsoever?
@livingontheedgeee is the £5,600 per term or per year?
Wow £5600 is seriously cheap for London unis hence their max maintenance loan being higher. She has done well there. Hope she gets to stay there for the duration of her course otherwise it will be a shock next year. Or is that wbat it is after they have deducted the bursary?
We made DD's money up to the maximum loan for year 1. Her maintenance loan didn't cover her rent completely. We paid the top up weekly, so if her budgeting was rubbish, she would have more money in a week.
Year 2 we have reduced our money. Her private rental plus bills costs about the same as a place in halls, but she had plenty of warning, so she worked long hours over the Summer holiday. She said she'd rather do that than try and work while studying.
How come students get considerably less in their last year - that makes no sense whatsoever?
I think it's because their course is considered continuous through the summers of year 1 and 2 but it ends in June of the third year. So they don't pay for the July and August after graduation.
The fact that they will often be locked into accommodation rentals that last well beyond the end of term is a problem.
I second that the first term can be more expensive than others. Sport especially.
DD took a cookery course designed for students before she went, which has easily paid for itself. She not only eats better, but is amazed at how much others spend on take always or processed food. DS also came to the conclusion that you feel better if you eat well, but only after a year of eating pot noodles. The course could be easily replicated at home and might involve budgets, and buying cupboard staples. Plus cleaning/laundry which not all students seem to have been exposed to!
I agree that London is not always more expensive. Transport is cheap and lots of stuff is free. Plus there is lots of scope for employment, for example ad hoc hospitality shifts in the run up to Christmas.
That's per year. £153 a week for 39 weeks in an ensuite room with a 4' bed in the newest accommodation with access to a gym. If you're prepared to share then it comes down to £102 a week.
The accommodation closest to the campus is much more expensive - up to £281 per week but to be honest, it's a bit old and dreary.
We found that the higher ranked universities have a lot of money available if they really want you.
KCL don't offer a large bursary (I think it's £1500) but if your household income is below I think £35k then you get accommodation at a much reduced rate.
I suppose the good thing about the cities is it's easy to get a job. A single shift in Tesco for 8 hours a week will pay £245 a month. Bar tending pays about £10-12 an hour plus tips and generally free food when you're working.
The other thing people shouldn't forget is the number of scholarships out there. For example, Women in Science give £3000 a year for 3 years to girls who are prepared to promote equality for women in the sciences. There are websites where you can trawl through everything available and you'll be surprised at what could be on offer.
Only the other day, I found out that a wealthy resident in our very small town offers a scholarship to any local child who attends his old university. It's only £250 but hey, that's 2-3 months of food.
@livingontheedgeee thanks such a helpful post.
Thanks for all the comments - all really helpful.
I was only vaguely aware that bursaries existed as one uni we visited said that dd might be eligible for a music one if she plays in their orchestra (she has G7 oboe). I will do some serious searching on these.
Very interesting about Imperial and Edinburgh. There's another current thread about should top universities be free - sounds like they can be a better value option for some already.
Also thanks for the cookery course idea - I have been thinking about what I need to teach dd over the summer, stuff like basic recipes, how to use a washing machine (why have I left this so late?). Might look for a course she could do this with a friend - more fun that being lectured by me
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