University costs for parents
As a parent, all you’ve ever wanted is the best for your children and if they are currently applying to university for 2018, then you’re probably feeling pretty proud of all that they’ve achieved so far, with even higher hopes for the future.
However it’s understandable if you are also feeling daunted by the prospect of your child attending university – not least because of how expensive it can be.
Whilst parents don’t necessarily have to foot the bill for their child’s university education, you may want to do what you can to help so we’ve put together a list of the things that you’ll need to consider.
The cost of attending university has risen significantly over the past few years so it can send parents spiralling into a panic when they look at the overall cost over three years (or four years if doing a foundation year).
Whilst the cost of tuition fees do need to be taken into consideration, one positive to be taken from this is that students can defer payment of their fees until after they have graduated.
This is done through means of a tuition fee loan – the money is paid directly to the university to cover the fees and the loan does not need to be paid back until the borrower is earning at least £21,000 per year.
Did you know? Whilst many universities in England have raised their tuition fees to £9,250 per year, Welsh tuition fees remain at £9,000!
University offers students a great chance to stand on their own two feet and have a real taste of independence but this could mean that your child moves to a completely different part of the country to study. This will mean additional accommodation costs as well as transport costs and the various essential items that they’ll need to set themselves up their new home.
Because of the high costs involved in moving away, many students are now choosing a university that’s within easy commuting distance so they can save money by staying at home with their parents. Whilst you may have been looking forward to reclaiming your own space for the next three years, you can look on the bright side that you aren’t having to shell out for accommodation.
However if your kids really do want to move away from home, then Wrexham Glyndwr could be a money-saving option. As well as tuition fees being cheaper in Wales, WGU was named as the 8th most affordable university in the whole of the UK last year once overall costs had been considered.
Day to day costs
On top of accommodation costs, there are of course other things that you’ll need to consider. If your child is living in halls, then utility bills are usually covered so that’s one less thing to worry about but they’ll need to pay for groceries, travel costs and of course you can’t begrudge them a night out once in a while.
However, whilst you may be happy to fund their education, it might be taking it a step too far to fund their social life as well so perhaps you may want to encourage your child to look for a part-time job alongside their studies. Most students do it these days to earn a bit of extra cash – and it can also be a great boost to their CV too!
Depending on your child’s area of study, there may be times when extra expenses will occur such as needing a particular book or attending a study trip. For course textbooks, don’t forget that most university libraries will be well-stocked with the required reading material and other relevant information. Second-hand books are also a great alternative to pristine shop-bought books. Look out on university noticeboards or web forums to see if any graduates are looking to pass their books on.
I am struggling financially – does this mean my child can’t go to university?
The best thing to do before you make a decision is to sit down and work out all the costs involved for the duration of the course. Sit down and work out a budget with your child – although you may want to offer as much help as you can, remember that your child is now an adult, so you shouldn’t be solely responsible for the entire costs. Living on a student budget is actually an integral part of their independence and will offer them real-life experience of managing their finances – a great skill to have for the future.
It’s also really important to remember that there is help in place to make the dream of university a reality. Whilst some things will be payable up-front, the student loans system means that the majority of the costs can be deferred until after graduation – and even then, the payments will be a relatively small percentage of their earnings.
Check out our dedicated parents section for more information.