Uni fees - can someone please explain fees and maintenance to me in words of one syllable or less!

(27 Posts)
Bigfathairyones Fri 28-Feb-20 15:44:28

Dear all, I'm being an idiot I think. Is this correct re: putting kids through uni. Went to a careers evening this week and now am really confused!

2 sets of costs - tuition fees and maintenance. DS can get a tuition fees loan, known as the student loan and he then pays that back over the next 50 million years. Maintenance (food, accommodation, beer, books, beer etc.) is either paid for by parents if they earn over a certain amount, or we/they can get a loan for it. We definitely won't qualify for a maintenance loan so we'd be paying.

I'm panicking slightly as although on paper we earn a lot, we have huge outgoings as we have invested in our business as well as the house etc. and the thought of paying for 2 lots of Uni fees at a time when they overlap, for 3 children, over the next 9 years is eye watering and frankly unaffordable. Have I missed anything? None of them will be looking at apprentice degrees so they'd all be full fees.

OP’s posts: |
BornInAThunderstorm Fri 28-Feb-20 15:47:00

Encourage them to get part time jobs? That’s what most people I knew did at Uni even before fees were higher etc

cocomelon23 Fri 28-Feb-20 15:53:57

We're in the same position. They'll have to get part time jobs.

MrKlaw Fri 28-Feb-20 15:54:42

tuition fees - £9k a year. Guaranteed to get this as a loan no matter what you earn. Will be paid back at (9%?) of your earnings once you earn above about £26k a year. Most won't pay full amoutn back

Maintenance loan: Max about £9k, but goes down based on parent income. If you earn above £60k ish household, you get the minimum - £4168 per year. So you'll always get something. Paid back the same way as tuition

You need to fill in a form, and if you're earning above £60k so you know you will get the minimum, you just tick a box saying "I'm not telling you how much I earn - just give me the minimum".

Minimum loan is more than enough to live on (and you pay for accommodation); or not quite enough for accommodation (so you top it up, and pay living costs)

titchy Fri 28-Feb-20 15:58:38

What the pp said. You're expected to top up the difference between what they get in maintenance, around £4K if they only get the minimum, and the max, around £9k.

It's always been this way....

BubblesBuddy Fri 28-Feb-20 16:17:22

The minimum loan is low for accommodation in some areas so top up from you could be significant.

You need to think of this as DC paying a grad tax. Look at Martin Lewis on Money Saving Expert for a decent explanation. High earners contribute a lot more than lower earners. If anyone becomes a SAHM and then works part time, eg as a teacher, they won’t pay much, if at all. They don’t pay it back if they don’t earn that much and it’s written off too.

Maintenance is available depending on income. It’s a shame you didn’t factor this into your financial planning earlier. It’s also best to make sure the university and course will lead to grad employment and good prospects. However low earnings mean its free apart from your contribution.

Bigfathairyones Fri 28-Feb-20 17:09:11

Thanks all, makes more sense and delighted that we can still get £4k maintenance; that helps. Bubbles, unfortunately we've had to invest in the business in the last 3 weeks; no real choice due to complete reorganisation and merge with another company. Until then it was do-able. Thanks again all and will def. be suggesting part time jobs!

OP’s posts: |


WoofAndWhiskers Fri 28-Feb-20 17:12:01

Won't your business investment reduce your income on the self assessment?

MarchingFrogs Fri 28-Feb-20 19:05:07

delighted that we can still get £4k maintenance;

Well, the student applicant can (unless either you or your OH is also applying for university?), although some posters on the HE board do make their DC hand over their loan instalments as they get them, apparently.

The relevant taxable income is that for the last completed tax year, so 2018/2019 for the 2020/21 academic year. However, if there has been a significant drop in the household income (>15%) since that year, you can ask for a current year assessment instead.

If household taxable income is definitely above the threshold, though, there is no need or point in the applicant naming you and your OH as 'supporting' their application, as you will just go through the process, only for the applicant to be told that they are only eligible for the minimum maintenance loan anyway.

DiOzhene Fri 28-Feb-20 19:50:25

Make sure your dc check the accommodation costs of universities before they apply. Realistically, they are probably going to have to avoid all london unis, as well as other expensive unis (iirc Liverpool has expensive fresher accommodation). This should be one way of narrowing down their shortlist of universities, there are many universities with accommodation under £4.2k (I know someone who’s daughter is at UEA and pays just over £3k for example, for about 40 weeks). My eldest had first year costs of £3.5k (with a maintenance loan of a bit over £7.8k and a bursary of £1.4k). With that said these are cheap, many universities will have higher costs, but they should be able to find ones for £4.5k or less. Make sure your dc are aware of household finances so they’re realistic about what universities they can afford - even a part-time job is unlikely to allow them to go to a London uni in my opinion.

After that, they need to get part time jobs. In first year, they can probably work during term, and they could save money before starting university by working over the summer holidays. They could also take a gap year to save money by finding full-time work for part or most of the year. Theoretically they could also live from home if there’s a university nearby but I don’t know any teens who genuinely want that - but living in London, my eldest has several friends who lived at home (or went back home in the second year) to afford to go to a London uni of their choice.

BubblesBuddy Fri 28-Feb-20 22:18:31

Working depends on the degree. Lots of students take a while to find their feet on demanding courses and certainly shouldn’t work in term time. Some universities don’t recommend it either. Summer jobs might be better.

Accommodation prices do vary but staying at home can be limiting. It’s not providing the all round university experience but it does save money.

Thenextstorm Fri 28-Feb-20 22:22:21

Joining thread as woefully ignorant of the system

BackforGood Fri 28-Feb-20 23:41:18

It does help if the (potential) students crack on and get themselves Summer jobs. They can earn quite a bit in the 3 months between A-levels finishing and Freshers' week. Gives them a solid bank account to fall back on, as the 'starting out' can be quite a bit more expensive than the on-going living costs.

newbingepisodes Fri 28-Feb-20 23:52:49

I lived at home and kept a part time job.

Xenia Sat 29-Feb-20 07:49:01

Good summaries above. Everyone in England gets all their fees paid (unless they choose not to take out the loans at all - I fund my children without any loans) and about £4k. Foreign students are different and Scotland and even Wales have different systems.

Those who are not well off get more than £4k for their rent and board etc.

It would be a shame if teenagers picked univerisites on the basis of accommodation costs where they have normally well off parents on £50k a year but the parents have no money to top up the £4300. My twins' year 1 halls in Bristol were about £7500 and their rent in years 2 and 3 (they are i n year 3 now) is about £500 a month including bills so £6000 a year. Oxbridge by the way tends to be cheaper as you only have accommodation during term time and the terms are shorter and probably they have more money to help students.

Bigfat's school should have made it clearer that all students will receive the minimum maintenance loan, If they are telling parents they will get nothing for that element then the parents might put children off going to university.

ineedaholidaynow Sat 29-Feb-20 08:02:56

You will find on many threads when PP are asking whether they should have another child, quite a few posters will say remember to factor in university fees.

BubblesBuddy Sun 01-Mar-20 10:04:50

DD had catered shared in Wills, Bristol, and that is now £6430 pa. Single rooms are £2000 more. Self catering is cheaper but some university halls are advertised as luxury with prices to match. Avoid these!

Ginfordinner Sun 01-Mar-20 10:14:19

You will find on many threads when PP are asking whether they should have another child, quite a few posters will say remember to factor in university fees.

I'm guilty of that grin
DD's halls in Newcastle are £5.5k. Her maintenance loan is less than that, so we pay her hall fess and she uses her loan to live on - food, books, living expenses and socialising. A lot of parents do this.

BubblesBuddy Sun 01-Mar-20 21:13:44

Unfortunately a lot of parents don’t have £5500 a year to give. I do agree that saving early or regular gifts from grandparents is to be encouraged! That makes the Bristol hall with meals relatively attractive if you are prepared to share!

Bigfathairyones Tue 03-Mar-20 17:27:50

So interesting. DS is thankfully very money aware so he's been working to save up towards his living costs and of course we'll help too.

OP’s posts: |
CoffeeHere Wed 04-Mar-20 00:09:19

Millionth name change but been here since the start.

I'm impressed how much we've all come on - we were backpacking six months ago and now there's barely any mention of the 'C' word on here


Laniakea Wed 04-Mar-20 08:28:49

Dd will be starting at Southampton in September. She applied for accommodation yesterday- the five cheapest options! Non en-suite, self catered starts at 4689 for 40 weeks and goes up to 6000. Obviously far more than the 4200 loan she’ll get.

She took a gap year & has been working full time throughout. She’ll have about 8/9k saved by the end - that’s after holidays/massive amounts of socialising/tattoos etc. She’ll keep that job for university holidays.

We’ll be contributing £250 a month & paying the accommodation shortfall. If she needs/wants more then she’ll have to work or dip into savings.

MrKlaw Wed 04-Mar-20 09:04:07

@laniakae - if you're topping up accommodation and giving £250 per month, that should (pretty much) be enough to live on without dipping into savings, if she's not too extravangent. We've done the same but £300pm for DS and he seems fairly comfortable for money (but he isn't a party animal I think so that helps)

Laniakea Wed 04-Mar-20 12:58:49

I hope so!

I think she’ll have a bit of a culture shock to start with. Ideally her savings will be for summer schools/extra costs (inc increased accommodation costs) in years 2-4/small buffer after graduation.

It is scary though.

MrsPelligrinoPetrichor Wed 04-Mar-20 13:03:34

We definitely won't qualify for a maintenance loan so we'd be paying

They will qualify for the minimum maintaince loan with is nearly £4k per year iirc. There's an on line calculator and you put your earnings in and it tells you how much.

Ds lives off his maintenance loan and we pay his rent.

Our mantra is 'its only 3 years,it's only 3 years'shockgrinwink

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