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A variation of should I pay my child's tuition fees - 2 children, different system(10 Posts)
My daughter is currently about to go into her third year of a Level 6 diploma qualification. It's the same academic standard as a degree but more vocational. Due to the different way this is financed (she's not eligible for Student Finance but is eligible for a government award which is dependent on our family income) she will end up with no student debt. We have to pay approx £3k per year for her tuition fees, the rest is paid by the government.
When our son goes to university in 2 years time he will be doing a normal, student financed degree course. Now there is a big difference between paying £3k per year tuition fees and £9k per year fees so we had always assumed that he would take out a normal student loan and we would top up the maintenance amount. (we currently pay all dd's maintenance costs) but is it fair that he then has to pay off his student loan (assuming he earns enough) whereas she has nothing? To pay his fees would be possible (we are not huge earners on £65k per year but have a fairly frugal lifestyle) but would mean a lot of sacrifices.
Perfectly fair - they have made their course choices and I assume didn't consider the mechanism if fee paying to be relevant to that decision?
Where the imbalance might lie is in the amounts you are subsiding their choices. Assuming you give your ds the same in maintenance as you do your dd, then you'd have have subsidised her to the tune of £9k (as you've also paid part of her fees) - in which case you could consider how to redress that imbalance (subsidise has
For an extra year, give him £9k cash somehow?).
Of course if his maintenance is the same as hers-plus-£3k a year then you've spent the same on them both which is fair.
Remember equal doesn't have to mean equitable.
We pay all dd's maintenance costs. Her course only gives maintenance grants (not loans) to families with an income under £30k so we pay her accommodation and give her an amount to live on (plus she has a job). Ds will get at least the minimum maintenance loan of whatever it is £5k ish and we would top it up to the amount of the maximum.
Personally, I would say don't pay the fees up front. You can always give your DS a little extra in maintenance, or even, if you have the money saved, offer him a small lump sum when he graduates, to be used to pay off some of his loan, if you feel strongly about it then. But if paying the fees would mean sacrifices in the meantime, what would you do if there were to be a unforeseen call on your finances?
What is fair is that you give him the same as your other dc. So £3k per year plus maintenance equivalent to what she received (eg if she lived at home, whatever allowance you gave her plus your extra costs. I have this with my DD's but they made different choices
She’s st home now but will be back in Halls in September.
My partners parents have 4 children with about 12 years between oldest and youngest, they paid for accommodation for all (oldest around 4K a year and when youngest went 9.5k a year) and topped up the loans to the full amount. So obviously the youngest had the most money out of them but as the full loan amount increases every year based on cost to live they all got the same, ie a place to live and what was deemed the recommended amount to live on in the given year they went to uni. Don’t pay off the fees if they are covered by SFE. Just make sure that both dc have enough to afford to live and have similar amount of spending money relative to their situation. It could be that spending the same Monetary amount for both will enable one to have more spending money than the other Which doesn’t seem fair
Have you considered whether your son will want to do a Masters? I think in your position I'd let him take the loan for fees and maintenence. Then top up his maintenance to the full amount and reassess towards the end of his degree when he has decided his future career path.
Also worth reading Martin Lewis on the subject of student loans and whether it's worth paying fees up front.
Her course only gives maintenance grants (not loans) to families with an income under £30k so we pay her accommodation and give her an amount to live on (plus she has a job). Ds will get at least the minimum maintenance loan of whatever it is £5k ish and we would top it up to the amount of the maximum.
I think that you'd need to ensure that your DS receives the equivalent amount that you've paid for your DD's accommodation & maintenance.
It doesn't make financial sense to pay your DS's university tuition fee upfront - the repayments on that are low (I think it's the Money Savings Expert site which says it's the best value loan/investment that someone can ever make).
But your children should probably receive roughly equivalent living expenses from you if you're concerned about fairness, as your OP suggests.
Up to eac family. I paid my daughters' fees £1000 a yar plus maintenance (and my son £3k and also the twins more recently £9250 plus maintenance) so almost £10k a year difference with her twins - so all 5 children could graduate without a student loan and they were in the same position (as indeed we were as our parents chose to make up a very very low minimum grant up to the maximum which many parents did not in those days).
However it just depends what you can afford. Your son may never earn over £26k a year and so never pay a penny back so it is not quite like normal loans.