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Uni - we are well off on paper but not in reality

(37 Posts)
noeuf Thu 08-Sep-16 19:55:13

So my question is how on earth does ds fund uni? Having read some threads on here, we would find maybe £200 a month for ds but on paper we are much better off.

Late marriages, huge mortgage (over short term as we are old) and debt (we can't not pay this) all eat into what we have available.

I'm so worried as I don't want to be a cow but I can't see how it could happen for him? On here people are paying 700 a month.

LIZS Thu 08-Sep-16 19:57:54

He could get a maintenance loan which would cover some living costs and then get pt work?

noeuf Thu 08-Sep-16 20:01:47

I thought that but then I read in here that he would only get a little one as it's based on parents income?

LIZS Thu 08-Sep-16 20:04:13

It is but minimum for London is 5k pa.

noeuf Thu 08-Sep-16 20:07:38

Oh okay, that's better. Definitely not London.

Desmondo2016 Thu 08-Sep-16 22:51:56

I felt exactly the same as you 2 years ago. I went to the financial presentation on the Uni open day which was 100% aimed as students self funding which made me feel much better. I come from a family where accommodation and sometimes full living expenses have been met by parents. I'm the 2 years my son has been at Uni I have only paid for his mobile phone. He was fortunate to already have a job with Tesco which transfers between home and uni in termtime/holidays. He's even saved and had holidays and a nice standard of living along the way. He's worked very hard and takes lots of overtime and has recent been promoted to shift manager. He tends to work full-time hours in the holiday. He still loves his uni experience. I'm very proud of him. He will, of course, have the full amount of student debt but does not use credit cards or an overdraft.

noeuf Fri 09-Sep-16 06:27:19

Oh wow that makes me feel better. Thank you, it's quite stressy and I'm finding it hard to be interested as I keep thinking he won't be able to

errorofjudgement Fri 09-Sep-16 07:01:25

It is difficult, the student loans calculator will give you an idea of how much your son can borrow. In our case DS was entitled to the minimum loan (plus course fees). The loan was not enough to cover his housing costs let alone feed himself!
If your DS is on a course with few contact hours then he will be able to work in term time and fit in his course work too.
Other courses have long contact hours, and heavy coursework demands, so term time working is more difficult.
Realistically, if you have the income on paper there is an expectation from the government that you will continue to financially support your DC, otherwise all students would be entitled to the same amount of loan regardless of their parents income.

80sWaistcoat Fri 09-Sep-16 07:05:55

If. he works through sixth form holidays and weekends, saves up and works at uni and in holidays he can do it. Depending on course he can get paid during a gap year at uni. Pick somewhere to go at uni where there are jobs.

He'll be so much more employable when he graduates too.

Motheroffourdragons Fri 09-Sep-16 07:08:22

Agreed, he will get the minimum maintenance loan, outside of London is about £3800 this year.
We were like you, on paper in theory we should have had no problem but it was a bit of a struggle for us. In the end we paid for the accommodation, which we could do termly when in halls and quarterly when they went into a house for 2nd and 3rd years.
We found that the maintenance loan did not cover the accommodation costs, so even if our children had used it for that we would still have had to make up the shortfall, or they would have had to have worked to make it up.
They do also generally get interest free overdrafts from the bank which is a help.
If their course is short on contact hours they can also find work, one of mine got a job on the shop on campus, which was great.
You will get through it all, but it is a bit scary at first.

Needmoresleep Fri 09-Sep-16 07:25:37

noeuf, you will be far from alone. We are in a bit of London with high house prices, poor schools and older parents. People look rich and have often sent their children to expensive schools, but contributing much to University is a step too far. People often need their last decade of earning to pay off the large mortgage, accumulated debt and to start putting some away for retirement.

I find some of the posts on University living expense threads tactless. Yes some people having worked hard have the spare cash to allow their DC to maintain their standard of living. But lots of others will either not have the money to do this, or have other priorities. DS managed a year of pot noodles, before starting to buy in bulk and cook with friends. He worked through the summer, though is doing quite a demanding degree so term time would be harder. He is fine. I am not sure that some of the kids we know who have had their student life style heavily subsidised are so fine. Certainly their parents complain about them living at home in their late 20s, unable to earn enough to rent somewhere nice and unwilling to give up the comforts of home.

Bobochic Fri 09-Sep-16 07:38:29

It is very, very hard for the current generation of UK students. Their parents may have budgeted early and carefully for their DC's education and a good start in life (house deposit) but they had no idea 18 years ago that university costs would explode - both fees and accommodation - in the way they have.

We put money to one side for our DC's HE because we live in France where school is cheap but where HE is often very expensive and so our DC have been able to go to university in the UK without us or them taking a financial hit versus anticipation. I feel extremely sorry for many of my friends/family in the UK who spent a small fortune in independent school fees and cannot now cover the cost of university.

Trills Fri 09-Sep-16 07:43:05

breakdown might help you estimate what the government EXPECT to you give your child just to get them up to the level of someone on the maximum loan.

Trills Fri 09-Sep-16 07:43:40

Sorry link went weird

noeuf Fri 09-Sep-16 07:57:20

Thank you so much for the kind replies. The calculator is good, he does do p/t work already so could do a shop job I think.
We haven't paid for private school, but we have just not managed SE costs, disabled child, divorce (one each) and late to parenthood very well.

TheFairyCaravan Fri 09-Sep-16 08:00:51

We give DS2 about £200 a month. We buy bits and bobs over the year when he needs them, if we can afford it, like books and nursing stuff.

DS2 got a job in a pub 3 weeks after being at uni. He does at least 2 shifts a week when he's not on placement. Most of his friends work.

We looked at the costs of accommodation when we were looking at unis and before he put his applications in. His rent in halls was £80 a week, he's just move into a house which is similar. Some unis charge £150 which we couldn't afford so there was no point applying.

This stage of being a parent is really hard imo. I worried like hell over it.

Bobochic Fri 09-Sep-16 08:03:07

Don't blame yourselves. Divorce is very expensive and time consuming - it eats into other projects. And any DC with special needs are also resource-intensive, often in a non-finite way.

titchy Fri 09-Sep-16 08:09:22

but they had no idea 18 years ago that university costs would explode - both fees and accommodation - in the way they have.

But that's not actually true... Fees have rocketed, but loans pay these in full. There has ALWAYS been the expectation that parents pay their offsprings university costs. Students from the poorest backgrounds get enough to pay their halls of residence - i can't think of anywhere that charges more Han the maximum loan. Those that get the minimum rely on parents - same as its always been. The only thing that's changed is that the tax breaks aren't there anymore and HB isn't available for 2nd and 3rd years.

MrsJayy Fri 09-Sep-16 08:10:58

Does he have to move away ? we couldnt really afford the support her friends got for uni we were the same as you. she did decide to stay home and travel we fed her but she got a loan and worked in a supermarket she managed to run her car and various other expenses and we would give her some petrol money at the end of the month. I know you read on here that kids are getting full support from parents but it is doable not to.

Desmondo2016 Fri 09-Sep-16 08:20:35

Omg what you said about finding it hard to be interested... that is SO how I felt. It felt like it was some kind of charade that would never happen and I always felt awkward and embarrassed talking with him about his uni plans. Please please believe me, it will be fine. The vast majority of the friends my son has made are self funding.

noeuf Fri 09-Sep-16 08:24:48

Desmondo, exactly that
Fairy, that's probably all we can afford .

It's so nice people have replied, I feel totally isolated when all his friends are going and their parents don't even hint at it being impossible.

He does want the whole 'uni experience' so living away, but has ruled out London as too expensive. It's not a surprise that we are not able to just hand over wads of cash but I know he expects us to be able to help him go. (Knows he has to work in a p/t job though)

MrsJayy Fri 09-Sep-16 08:50:58

Can you just say we will pay x each month that is it harsh for you to say out loud I guess but it is reality but nothing to feel guilty about.

LIZS Fri 09-Sep-16 09:07:13

Also worth asking potential Unis about scholarships and bursaries. Some offer cash incentives to attract higher calibre students , disadvantaged candidates or those exceeding the standard offer to their courses. Thresholds vary, iirc Kent was 3 B's , for example.

noeuf Fri 09-Sep-16 09:08:29

I think we have to do that : this is what you have to work with.
It's so stressful, especially as my degree was pointless - I did really well but had no guidance on what next and ended up just working in retail

Desmondo2016 Fri 09-Sep-16 09:38:14

I would make it very clear to him that you will do certain things, maybe

A) pay his mobile contract
B) arrange a food delivery once a fortnight
C) Pay for his railcard / travel home

The loans and grant system will cover his fees and his accommodation and leave him with about £10 a week (from what my son told me about his housemates who did not work AND did not have help from family). Then basically, he is working for his social life funds / additional but unnecessary clothes shopping etc.

One thing I did always bang on and on about to my son was to not get into debt (other than the prescribed student debt lol). I advised him never to get a credit card (at Uni, I'm not against them per se, just too tempting for a student to live about his means in my opinion) and do NOT get an overdraft, again I couldn't bare the thought of an overdraft built up to fund beer lol. I told him to ALWAYS come to me first. Having spent my 20s not respecting money and getting into debt and then my 30s sorting myself out I am so so big on my kids building respectable credit ratings, avoiding debt and being financially secure as life is just so much more fun!

Like I said, my son has worked exceptionally hard in his part time job and was fortunate to already have one to take with him but providing they have the right attitude about it it's easily doable. And to be honest, I've got 3 cousins who have been paid through university, come out with first class honours degrees, still live at home in their late 20s in run of the mill jobs that they could have got without even A Levels and absolutely no inclination to give up the cushdy lifestyle to venture into the real world because it has always been so easy for them, the thought of having to pay rent and have a minimal disposable income left at the end of every month is just too scary for them to comprehend now so they are somewhat stuck and one in particular is just holding out for a rich husband to come along!!

Definitely some valuable life lessons to be learned at Uni fending for yourself.

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