Stepping into university can be a pivotal time for many students; it can bring down a lot of changes in life, including a new-found sense of independence. But while independence is very often associated with university life, it is highly likely that you will need a bit of assistance — or a lot when it comes to financial assistance — from good ‘ole mum and dad. It gets a little confusing, however, when it comes to how much parents should be contributing and what exactly they will be contributing towards.
In short, most parents are likely to have to pay around an average of £5,000 and the rest can easily come from the Maintenance Loan (from the government). However, this amount can vary significantly depending on their household income, location and various other factors. The general idea is that the more financially stable the student’s household is, the more the parents are expected to contribute. If parents are not able to afford it, students should consider exploring other options like part-time jobs.
To get a broader understanding of the topic, I would recommend that you give the whole article a read. We will be discussing in full how much parents may need to contribute towards their child’s time at university, what this cost includes and what to do if parents cannot afford it.
How Much Does University Cost and What Does This Cost Include?
First of all, it is important to note that the amount that parents may contribute to their children’s time at university is variable. There are many different factors to consider, and there is no amount that should be expected of parents.
So, while it is difficult to come up with an exact figure for how much it costs to go to university, we can break it down and look at the individual costs to get a better idea.
Tuition fees for undergraduate degrees cost £9,250 per year. Considering that most courses tend to last for just about three years, we can safely say that the tuition fees will cost most students around £27,750 over the course of their three-year undergraduate degree. These fees are covered by government loans (which you can apply for here) in most cases, which are paid back once your degree course is over.
On top of the tuition fees, it is a well-known fact that students generally spend a lot on accommodation. On average, annual rent for students is around £5-6,000 — that is about £15-18,000 spent on accommodation over a three-year period. (It is important to note that this amount will vary a lot depending on a number of factors such as location, accommodation type and extra services the accommodation offers.)
Unfortunately for students (and parents!), the costs do not stop there! Students may require money for transport, food, study materials, bills and entertainment, which can easily amount to around £300 a month.
How Much Are Parents Expected to Contribute Towards Their Child’s University?
Parents often find themselves asking how much they will need to pay for their child’s university. Most of the time, students can apply for Maintenance Loans (more on those below!), but these aren’t always enough for students to meet ends.
In reality, how much parents should contribute depends on the Maintenance Loan their child receives, which, in turn, depends on household income. Students who receive a less massive Maintenance Loan are more likely to need assistance from their parents. On average, parents are likely to have to pay around £5,000 to support their child across the 3-year period of their degree.
However, the truth is that the answer depends entirely on their financial situation: some parents may be able to contribute more than others.
What Are Maintenance Loans?
Maintenance Loans, provided by the government, are often the main source of money for students while they are at university. They are paid directly into the student’s bank account through 3 instalments throughout the year.
The actual amount of this loan can vary depending on several factors, including living arrangements and household income. Students from households with an income of less than £25,000 receive the full Maintenance Loan, while students from households with a higher income receive less funding. This direct link between family income and the Maintenance Loan suggests that parents should be paying for their children’s university.
Although the average Maintenance Loan is approximately £6,859, it can vary greatly, as we have discussed above. Check out this page for more details.
Of course, just like all loans, it will have to be paid back at some point, but this only happens after you start earning above the repayment threshold, which is an amount specified by the government.
The general idea is that students who have parents with higher incomes (who are more able to support them throughout their university life) will receive less in maintenance loans than those who are in lower income houses (and whose parents may find it more difficult to contribute thousands of pounds towards a university education). This does mean that a parents financial status plays quite a big role in paying for university (through loans or otherwise).
What If Parents Are Not Able to Pay?
As we have seen above, in most cases, the Maintenance Loan is not enough for students. And in other cases, their parents are not able to — or refuse to — help out with the cost of university.
The most obvious — and most popular — thing to do would be to find a part-time job; while this may seem daunting to some students, it is actually a great solution. There are many options available for students in a wide variety of fields, so there is bound to be something that will pique your interest. However, part-time jobs are often very time-consuming and can cause students to fall behind with their studies.
Students can try checking with their university for financial grants or even scholarships — they may fall perfectly into one of the many categories, so it always worth looking into.
Finally, students can earn money in other ways, such as selling old items, freelancing, or even setting up a small business. This extremely helpful page is full of great ideas that may help. You may also find this article to be useful. It is intended for younger school students, but makes some great suggestions for part-time jobs that you can get alongside your education.
Should You Take a Private Loan?
When the going gets tough, students may resort to attractive-looking, high-interest private loans that seem to be screaming with short-term benefits.
Taking such loans with high–interest rates can have serious implications; it is the kind of decision students make on impulse and are likely to regret. Their long-term disadvantages outweigh the sugar-coated advantages.
It is always best to find alternative ways to fund your education, such as parental support or finding other ways to earn money. Risky loans should only be considered as the last resort.
It is important that you consider the implications that taking high interest loans may have in the long term. It is certainly an important thing to consider if you aim to buy a house or flat in the future! Make sure to explore all of your other options before you even consider taking out a loan on top of your maintenance loan. It really could do more harm than good.
If you are interested in finding out more about private loans, this useful article is an informative resource for some further reading.