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AIBU?

to think that £500 a month is enough for a child at uni

554 replies

FunnysInLaJardin · 04/02/2024 20:39

we will pay his accommodation and his tuition fees will be paid, so this will just be for food and travel etc

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Jarstastic · 05/02/2024 08:02

I think it’s fine.

We pay accommodation and DC live on the minimum maintenance loan which works out to about that over 40 weeks. If they want any extras, eg designer clothing they need summer jobs.

not sure this is the best way to do it. Will be having a look at it for the next academic year. May look at DC paying accommodation when they get termly minimum maintenance loan with a top up from us, then giving them a weekly allowance.

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Lentilweaver · 05/02/2024 08:02

Fair enough @cakeorwine

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cordeliachaseatemyhandbag · 05/02/2024 08:03

Those gasps fees are crazy! Why not just buy him a flat and let a spare room or 2 to other students?

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cordeliachaseatemyhandbag · 05/02/2024 08:03

Hall!

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Persipan · 05/02/2024 08:10

FunnysInLaJardin · 04/02/2024 23:09

I have no idea! even for 41 weeks the costs are huge. Since we are not in the UK it makes sense to do 51 weeks and not have to move him over the summer.

Massive faff!

Where I am there are ample student storage options for the summer (where they collect, store, and bring everything back at the beginning of the next academic year). I would be astonished if Brighton did not have similar, and it would be vastly cheaper than paying for a room to sit empty for months.

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cakeorwine · 05/02/2024 08:12

cordeliachaseatemyhandbag · 05/02/2024 08:03

Those gasps fees are crazy! Why not just buy him a flat and let a spare room or 2 to other students?

Investing in and developing new accommodation for students seems to be the latest money earner - if you have the money to invest.

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RufustheFactualReindeer · 05/02/2024 08:13

Dd was at uni in London for two years, (foundation courses so left and has spent this 3rd year working instead)

she had her accommodation paid for at about 12k and then £250 a month for the first year and £300 for the second. £50 of which her brother gave her as he also had £250 a month in another city and wasn’t spending even close to half of it

we did also pay for travel home but quite often dd paid for it herself

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Spacecowboys · 05/02/2024 08:18

cloudtree · 04/02/2024 20:54

Yes. Should clarify. Ds gets minimum Maintenance Loan (circa £4500). It doesn’t cover his rent in halls. We top up so that his rent is covered and then give him £500 a month to live on (term time only). This roughly equates to maximum loan. He will work over the summer to top it up.

Exactly what we plan to do in a couple of years. Hopefully the £500 a month will still be worth similar by then.

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LuckySantangelo35 · 05/02/2024 08:30

@FunnysInLaJardin

you say you want it to feel like home away from home for him…

that’s not really the point of uni! It’s supposed to be about roughing a bit and developing a bit of resilience - not all home comforts!

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Y0URSELF · 05/02/2024 09:05

Spirallingdownwards · 04/02/2024 23:13

Yes crossposted. Yes Brighton is one of the expensive cities too.

Students should be alerted to the factvwhen deciding which unis likely costs of not just halls but subsequent years' accommodation too

This is good advice.

The moral of this story is that, unless you are very comfortably off and can afford to subsidise all of your children to do any type of course of any length anywhere in the Uk

You need to sit down with them and talk hard cash, ideally at the stage when they choose their A levels, NOT when they are filling in their UCAS form.

They need to have a realistic idea of what you as a family can afford and what they will need to pay for themselves

what grants / loans / bursaries they are likely to get ( they can work this out on the websites)

the relative cost of accommodation in different cities

the length of their course

the amount of work on their course , length of term and how easy or otherwise it will be to have a part time job

the family’s ability / attitude to subsiding them . Everyone has different views and values about this - some families are happy to take on extra hours / jobs so their kids don’t have to work, other will subsidise vocational courses but not others , some have plenty cash and are happy to support their kids to have fun for a few years.

They need to know all this before they set their hearts on some option that simply doesn’t fit within their budget. And you as a parent need to encourage them to be flexible and not reject good options because they are a three hour bus journey away or “ none of their friends are going there “.

I see too many parents , especially in the south east of England ( where accommodation is expensive and outlooks are narrow ), saying that their children can’t possibly go to eg Leeds or Cardiff because “ it’s so far away “.

And instead they end up spending two hour a day commuting across London and staying in halls where there is no sense of community because there are students from many institutions. And it’s hard for them to have any social life because of their commute.

But at least they have never had to travel north of Watford Hmm.

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Seeline · 05/02/2024 09:20

I see too many parents , especially in the south east of England ( where accommodation is expensive and outlooks are narrow ), saying that their children can’t possibly go to eg Leeds or Cardiff because “ it’s so far away "

I don't know where you've got this idea from! I'm in the south east (South London) and my DCs have got friends at unis all over England, Scotland and Wales.

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Beansy8 · 05/02/2024 09:26

FunnysInLaJardin · 04/02/2024 23:09

I have no idea! even for 41 weeks the costs are huge. Since we are not in the UK it makes sense to do 51 weeks and not have to move him over the summer.

Massive faff!

Not sure whether this might be helpful to you, but there are removal and storage companies which offer services to students over vacation times. They can pick up his stuff, store it over the summer, and bring it back to wherever he's staying in September. I think they can also provide boxes, and in some cases can even do the packing. If your son isn't going to be using his uni accommodation over the summer, then this might be a much cheaper option.

There is one called LoveSpace and there is another called Student Storage Experts. I'm sure there must be others as well. Some seem to offer international delivery too, if that's what you're after at the beginning or end of his time at uni. I haven't used any of them myself yet, but planning to do so over the summer!

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Era · 05/02/2024 09:27

Rents do vary massively. DS is in a middle tier hall which is arranged in groups of 12. They share bathrooms one between 2. It's £172 a week on a 40 week contract. Term lengths are actually 11 weeks, 10 weeks and 10 weeks so 9 of the weeks you are paying for are the Christmas and Easter holidays when you can leave your stuff in your room (or stay there if you wish). You can't however opt to move your stuff out and pay for only 31 weeks.

The cheapest shared bathroom accommodation on campus (sharing with more people) is £140 a week on a 40 week contract so £5,600 plus £200 college fees - total £5800. This is at Lancaster which is one of the cheaper universities.

En suites range in price but the most expensive is £192 a week. Studios are £225 or twin studios (larger) which are £255 per person per week but there aren't many studios.

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Lentilweaver · 05/02/2024 09:29

For certain subjects and with certain grades, Leeds, Cardiff and the Scottish unis do not suit. Far away would not be the problem. But employability is.

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MotherOfDragonflies · 05/02/2024 09:37

"employability" is becoming less of a factor if what is meant by that is "where did you go to university?". Even lots of law firms are doing blind recruitment now and this is only going to increase as a practice.

However, the fact remains that high ranking universities typically ask for higher grades and so attract bright kids who can get those higher grades. So those universities are always going to get a higher number of kids going into top jobs.

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Pumpkinpie1 · 05/02/2024 09:43

Are you kidding ? That’s too much !

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RB68 · 05/02/2024 10:08

Daughter is in London. Her fees covered on the loan basis as is approximately 50 to 60% of accom. (via main loan) we pay the rest of her accom and 220 per month (We just carried on her payment from prev years at college where she paid for food, travel and most clothes. She also has a part time job working 6 out of 8 weekend days in a coffee shop (mostly they are short days so not 16 hrs in one weekend etc). It pays London Living wage which was an amazing find and they are lovely people, she can also walk to work. She has way more money than she really needs for subsistence living but I say its all about balance and I wanted to make sure that she at least had food and travel money from us.

I believe there is always some work you can do so long as there is not a work placement that goes along side the course and even then there are reading weeks and holidays. Sometimes you have to hunt for the job that suits.

In some ways having 2 yrs at a local college rather than still in school, helps as it gives a taste of what managing money is going to be like.

500 is probably about right if you don't want them to work, want them too eat and socialise etc. If they are not on a high course costs degree ie not art based then should be plenty esp if outside of London

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FunnysInLaJardin · 05/02/2024 10:20

DaffodilsAlready · 04/02/2024 23:04

So the cheapest room there is 281 a week, which for 33 weeks (what my DD’s halls were if I recall) is 9273 which is not out of line with other halls. If you go for one of the private studio ones, which would raise the cost a lot, then your DS does risk being isolated, I think.

we are looking at the cheapest room, but have to have it for a minimum of 41 weeks

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FunnysInLaJardin · 05/02/2024 10:32

Beansy8 · 05/02/2024 09:26

Not sure whether this might be helpful to you, but there are removal and storage companies which offer services to students over vacation times. They can pick up his stuff, store it over the summer, and bring it back to wherever he's staying in September. I think they can also provide boxes, and in some cases can even do the packing. If your son isn't going to be using his uni accommodation over the summer, then this might be a much cheaper option.

There is one called LoveSpace and there is another called Student Storage Experts. I'm sure there must be others as well. Some seem to offer international delivery too, if that's what you're after at the beginning or end of his time at uni. I haven't used any of them myself yet, but planning to do so over the summer!

That is really helpful, thank you! I'll look into that option. That will bring the accommodation costs down to about £12,500

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multivac · 05/02/2024 12:25

cloudtree · 04/02/2024 22:40

Presumably they don’t only get minimum loan though.

£500 a month for us means we are roughly topping ds up to the equivalent of the full loan. That’s all.

The OP is giving her kid 500 on top of rent. So it's all for living expenses. Our kids' maintenance loan just about covers their rent. We can't give them 500 on top of that.

To be clear, there's nothing wrong with giving that much. But it's beyond budget for more families than not, and a lot of people reading this thread will already be worrying about the cost of HE.

Talk of how life would be 'impossibly difficult ', and mental health in danger, on less than 16 a day to live on, really isn't helpful. Or true.

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MCOut · 05/02/2024 12:50

@multivac I think you’re being unfair here. No one has been OTT or talking about unnecessary frivolities for their children. Previous posters have been very specific in saying it depends on the city and in most of those posts it is very obvious, they are talking specifically about London. Saying £500 doesn’t go as far in London is just the truth and there’s no point pretending otherwise.

As for families worrying, there is no point selling dreams. It’s better to know ahead of time if DC need to work part-time jobs in summer, or need to make it a priority to have one in place in their uni town.

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MercanDede · 05/02/2024 12:54

Depends where they are? Transportation can be upwards of £150/mo for a bus pass. More of a train pass. Then if they don’t have access to a proper kitchen to cook, it will be a struggle to get by. Add on other things like toiletries, class supplies, and so on…

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multivac · 05/02/2024 12:57

MCOut · 05/02/2024 12:50

@multivac I think you’re being unfair here. No one has been OTT or talking about unnecessary frivolities for their children. Previous posters have been very specific in saying it depends on the city and in most of those posts it is very obvious, they are talking specifically about London. Saying £500 doesn’t go as far in London is just the truth and there’s no point pretending otherwise.

As for families worrying, there is no point selling dreams. It’s better to know ahead of time if DC need to work part-time jobs in summer, or need to make it a priority to have one in place in their uni town.

I disagree that I'm being unfair. I do agree that no one is talking about 'frivolities' or being OTT. But the opening question is 'is 500 a month enough for a student to live on?' (because rent is covered) - and I think it's important to point out that a) it is more than most students will have and b) it's possible to manage and thrive on less. The thread was very skewed (in typical Mumsnet fashion!) by contributions from those with more disposable income than most. As I say, the thought of funding kids through uni can be hugely daunting. I'm just trying to add a little balance 😎

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Zanatdy · 05/02/2024 12:58

It’s too much, my son manages on much less

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cloudtree · 05/02/2024 13:55

multivac · 05/02/2024 12:57

I disagree that I'm being unfair. I do agree that no one is talking about 'frivolities' or being OTT. But the opening question is 'is 500 a month enough for a student to live on?' (because rent is covered) - and I think it's important to point out that a) it is more than most students will have and b) it's possible to manage and thrive on less. The thread was very skewed (in typical Mumsnet fashion!) by contributions from those with more disposable income than most. As I say, the thought of funding kids through uni can be hugely daunting. I'm just trying to add a little balance 😎

But it simply isn't more than most students will have. £500 a month (term time only) - £16 a day means my DS has the equivalent of the full maintenance loan. That's what it is expected it will cost. I think it's really important that people know that in total students are expected to have circa £10,000 a year outside of London. Whether that comes from a full loan or from minimum loan with parental top up is irrelevant really but if parents know what it is likely to cost they can plan accordingly. Students from lower income families will have the maximum loan and so this is what they will have (in some cases much more if their accommodation is very cheap).

If a child is from a lower income family and gets maximum loan but their rent is only £5,000 (as someone stated above for one of the Newcastle halls) they will actually have almost £24 a day! On the other hand if they pick somewhere more expensive to study and live they might have far less.

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