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Can I afford to send my kids to uni? University costs for parents
Everyone wants the best for their kids, but it’s not always possible to give them everything they want. If they ask you for a pony or a speedboat then it’s easy enough to say no. What about going to university?
The average cost of three years at university is estimated to come to £53,000 so it can be a scary prospect for parents on a limited budget. While parents don’t have to foot all of this bill, it’s understandable that the thought of your child going to university can be daunting.
This article will take you through all the things you need to consider. Don’t worry though, it’s not as scary as you think!
The 4 costs of sending your kids to university
There are four areas to think about when weighing up the potential cost.
1. Fees for their course – The recent rises in tuition fees have caused some people to worry about the cost of university for their children. This is actually not something to be radically concerned about as they’ll only need to be paid back once your child had graduated and is earning their own money.
2. Moving away from home – For many kids university is a chance to spread their wings and this’ll often mean moving to a completely new area. There’ll be some transport costs to get them to their new uni and they’ll also need all sorts of essentials to set them up in their new home.
3. Living costs – This includes rent, food and all the other bills that might crop up. If your children move away from home, they’ll have to pay rent for their student halls/house as well as for their own food, travel and of course occasional night out.
4. Costs related to their course – Depending on what your child is studying, there may be extra expenses. Most university libraries are well stocked with all the required text books but there still might be extra materials that have to be bought.
Not all university fees have to be paid by parents
Fear not! Many of these costs don’t have to be paid by cash-strapped parents. Students can apply for a grant to cover their student fees. There’s also student loans available to help towards the cost of their living expenses. On top of this universities may offer their own forms of assistance and, depending on the type of course studied, there may be other help available.
Many students also rustle up some extra spending money by taking on part time jobs. While they’ll need to be free for lectures during the day, most university towns have plenty of bars and restaurants needing part time staff for evenings and weekends.
Universities often offer “job shops” to help students find employment to provide themselves with extra financial support.
What financial help can your child apply for?
Most universities will have a talk on student finance at their open days. It allows you to ask about possible grants they offer and also how to apply for student finance.
What if the finance on offer doesn’t cover all your child’s costs?
If you’re struggling financially it may be hard for you to spare extra cash to go towards the costs of university. This doesn’t mean that they can’t go. It’ll just mean your child might need to be careful with money.
Sit down together and look at a budget with them. This will help to work out how much support your child may need.
University is a time of learning, so being on a tight budget will be a great opportunity for your kids to learn how to plan their finances and stretch out their money. They’ll also really appreciate it when they’ve graduated, have a good job and can afford to indulge themselves a bit more.
The most important thing to remember is there is plenty of help available to make your child’s dream of further study a reality. Also remember that the student loan system means that there is very little to pay upfront.
What’s more graduates will not pay a penny of their loan back until they begin to earn over £21,000 per year.
So having children going to uni can lead to some extra costs but you’ll probably find there’s more help available than you first thought. If you’d like to read more you’ll find loads of handy advice in our student debt guide.