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WWYD - how to be fair to two DDs(16 Posts)
Hi all, advice gratefully received...
We have two student DDs currently starting their final year. We live in Scotland, and DD1 is studying in Scotland, a 4 year course with fees paid by the Scottish government. DD2 is studying in England, a 3 year course with fees paid by her via a student loan. They each got a loan of about 4.5k a year for maintenance, which we have topped up. So, after graduating, DD1 will have a loan of around 18k and DD2 around 41k.
DD2 is probably going to do a Masters, and we have decided to give her a fourth year of maintenance contributions. This would make our payments to both DDs equal.
What do you think is fair for parental contributions? We are considering paying DD2's masters fees, which would mean we are giving her more money than DD1, but despite this she would sill have more student debt than DD1.
We are comfortably off BTW, but definitely not rich.
I think you contribution to them should be the same, not the final level of debt, as that would seemingly penalise DD1 for making a sensible financial decision when choosing her undergraduate university.
So: give DD2 a maintenance contribution for her Masters. But only pay her fees if you could afford to also pay the Masters fees of DD1 if/when she decides she would like to do a Masters.
It’s fine to give them both equal amounts. Presumably it was dd2’s own choice to study in England and therefore incur the fees?
Yes, it was DD2's choice to study in England...but none of the courses in her particular subject in Scotland matched her interests. Remember we have fewer unis to choose from up here
I'd previously thought we'd give them both the same, it's just that a Masters on top will leave DD2 with even more debt....
I'd go the other way (if I could afford) and try to leave them in a similar financial position after a similar number of years' study.
Unless the courses in England were way, way better objectively, eg rankings, employment stats (not just more in line with DD’s preferences) I wouldn’t give one DD more cash than the other for HE.
I would take a longer term view.
Degrees differ. DD is studying medicine which is likely to be six years. We also paid for driving lessons and paid for a car to help her get to rural placements. DS took an extraordinarily expensive Masters (about the equivalent of 3 years UG fees), which we paid for, though luckily he was able to live at home, which then opened the door to a fully funded PhD in the US, which means we no longer give him anything.
DS is likely to earn a lot when he finishes and may well not return to the UK. DD in contrast could find herself working long hours for not too much money in London or another high cost area. My best guess is that we might end up helping DD with a deposit, but not DS. However that is without a crystal ball. Who knows what will happen.
In short we are prepared to help our DC when they need help, and as long as we know the money is being used constructively to help build their futures. The equality is based on us wanting to see them both launch as financially independent young adults. The cost of doing so may vary.
That’s a perfect way to put it, Need
Do you understand that it’s not debt. She may not have to pay it off. Ever. Therefore take it out of the equation. It’s a student grad tax and she may have to pay something but not a huge amount unless she is going to be on 40% tax very quickly. I think her choice of university led to that but what else was she supposed to do? Therefore ignore the loan. Ignore any repayments and just fund the parent top up and masters fees for both. Paying off the loan is not the way forward and you cannot equalise the student tax they might pay. Stop calling it a loan and assume she won’t pay it all off. Most students don’t.
Give them the same amount each. Although it would have been better to have had this convo prior, I’d still have it now and give them equal money. It’s a long time til they are both qualified and you don’t know what will happen between now and then. So you will have time to allocate more money to them at a later date if you decide to do so.
Firstly she should pursue any and all funding opportunities, sponsorship, bursaries etc. Make sure your generosity doesn't get in the way of her actively pursuing all these options and working hard to clinch one. No idea how common that is in her subject area and in today's climate (lots of us had EPSRC funding for either fees or fees and maintenance, but austerity might have put paid to that these days.)
Otherwise, paying her maintenance but not fees seems like a good compromise. If she is choosing a taught masters because it makes her more employable then it's a decent investment for her. If she is thinking of a PhD or avoiding getting a proper job, having to pay for the extra year concentrates her mind on whether she will get value from it. Either way, you not paying it seems reasonable.
One option might be that you earmark the fees and split it between both of them, either now, so DD2 only needs to find half fees, or later, perhaps presented as an equal gift that's a boost towards a house deposits.
Bubbles, not wanting to start an argument but that is a political view, rather than a fact. As a small c conservative, I dislike the idea of DC owing the State/society money that could be used to support more pressing social need. In any case our own experience of raising a family in London on public sector salaries is that it is really expensive. Any additional graduate tax or loan repayment probably would have made it impossible. Which is sort of back to the OP. A (MN - waves if she is reading) friend's son who is the same age as DS (23), but living in a low cost area, is already buying his first property. Even when she is qualified I can't see DD doing the same in London without help. I think it is about supporting equality of outcome.
The Cambridge grad who "marries well" and who chooses not to work, is not required to pay anything back, whereas hard working teachers, doctors and nurses, are having to fork out a significant proportion of their disposable income in loan repayments. I, in contrast, would be supporting the latter, not the former.
Thanks for your thoughts.
The future is unknown of course. If DD2 gets a job in her chosen field (for which she really needs a Masters), it won't be well paid. So she won't be well off, but may not have to pay back her student loan for a while...not sure which is worse!
As for DD1, she has no idea what she will do post-graduation, beyond saying that she's not currently planning on further study.
They are both clever but, like me, I think they lack the money-making gene
For posters who suggest that loans may not need to be paid back and will be written off. Op is in Scotland and currently you start repaying when your salary is £18,935, which is much lower than England (not sure about Wales & NI) so it is very likely unless dc stay in minimum wage or thereabouts job, that they will have to pay back loan.
Sometimes what is fair is not equal. It is still early days into adult hood, I would give them unequal amounts now and maybe DD1 will want funds for something that DD2 won't due to higher earnings - flat deposit or car deposit or something else later if she decides to do another course of study etc. Take a long term view and even things out over the longer term - they don't need to know that is what you are doing unless they are particularly keen on counting up what each other has, then I might be thinking about how I brought them up myself.
There are 6 of us and we grow up and went to college (yes all of us! ). Some of us did short post grads some longer some had parental contribution in that time others of us didn't. I benefited from a GP paying something off for me (around £400) and I "passed that on" in terms of regularly sending various ones money whilst they were students and I was working. I got the benefit of the last year of housing benefit being paid to students, no student fees payable, maintenance grant and M&D could covenant me money ie I got the money plus tax they paid on it back. The last one ended with a large student loan but a fantastic salary so it was paid back in 3 yrs.
I think you need to take a wider than just equal financial contributions view - I think they should have equitable/fair standard of living and life.
Each child’s need is different. If one child is doing a 4th year, surely you would help them out if you can?
I didn’t go to university, and was working from aged 19. My brother went to university and my parents contributed towards his fees and living expenses. So they’ve probably helped him out financially more than me. I don’t have an issue with this. They would of helped me out too if I had gone to university but I didn’t.
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