Am I being unreasonable?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Student Money Saving
56 replies 3.1K views
babe_ruth_3babe_ruth_3 Forumite
279 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Student Money Saving
Not sure where to post this question but I'll start here.

I am the mother of a first year university student. He is not elligable for any grants but has a loan which has paid for his first years tuition and student accomodation except for about £1200 which we have paid for him. We have supported him financially for his first year but we have told him he will have to support himself the 2nd year.

I expect the second years loan to cover pretty much the same as first year and we are going to pay the shortfall again for his accomocation.

I suspect that he will have to earn around £80 - £100 per week to feed and entertain himself, so he will now have to get a job. I'm sure it will only be bar work, waiting on etc. which he is happy with but not sure if it will earn him quite enough.

It seems that most of the students he is with get grants and loans and seem to be financially better off than him or at least have more money in pockets to spend.

We are not wealthy people by any stretch of the imagination and I wondered what other parents situations are? If any one out there is willing to offer advice or information woud be most gratful.

Anyone know where the spell check is??
It is unwise to pay too much but it's worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, all you lose is a little money... that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot...it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better (John Ruskin - 19 ctry author, art critic & social reformer)
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Replies

  • Crispy_AmbulanceCrispy_Ambulance Forumite
    3.8K Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
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    Unfortunately, the law says that if you earn over a certain amount, then you are expected to make a contribution to your son's fees and/or loan. No-one will make you, but no-one else will meet the shortfall either. Unless he is classed as independent (either he gets married, or you kick him out and stop all future contact or he has supported himself for 3 years before uni) and he is 25 or under, you are responsible for the amount that the loan does not cover.

    This sounds harsh but it is the reality. A student loan is not enough to live on let alone pay tuition fees out of. And any help he can apply for will not make up for your contribution if you decide not to pay it. This is different for students starting out in 2006.

    Most unis will recommend students not to work any more than 15 hrs per week depending on the course.
    "Harry, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don't plan it. Don't wait for it. Just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men's store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot black coffee."
  • megsykinsmegsykins Forumite
    210 Posts
    One of the biggest factors is which uni your son is at - the difference can be astounding! Obv can't change it now, but means he might have to be tighter with his cash. For example, I know people who are paying £45 p/w rent inc utility bills, and others who are paying £70+ plus bills. North / South makes a big difference, as does location - city / outskirts / rural - I'm at Keele and it's definatley cheaper, cos the cost of living round here is very low, I'm always shocked by the cost of drinks and club entry in Manchester, Nottingham, etc.

    Anyway, first thing is for your son to look for a good paying, full-time summer job. Office temping pays well, usually better than shelf-stacking or bar work, get him to sign up with some agencies asap. Even at just £5.50 ph he can easily earn over £2000 in the 3 months. And make sure he isn't paying tax. If he gets long Easter / Xmas hols he can try to earn FT then too. Most students I know get the bulk of their cash from holiday work.

    For your son to earn £80 - £100 pw during term time would probably mean working 15 - 20 hours - so about 2 - 3 evenings if doing bar work (dep on tips). Depending on his course and workload, he may find that a bit too much, but also might find it OK - different students manage their time differently - if he does lots of sports and societies he might struggle, but he'll need to prioritise.

    I'm not sure about grants, etc or how parents cope cos my parents fund me, but they saved up and went without luxuries for the last 20 years so that they'd be able to help me and my brother and sister through uni. Nowadays it seems that unless you've had a 'uni fund' since birth, then parents won't be able to support you - bloody tuition fees and rip-off landlords :mad:

    One thing to do is, if he's home this summer, use the time to teach him to cook frugally, (maybe point him in the direction of the OS board), remind him to use buses not taxis, cook food not takeaways, have nights in not nights out, use the library instead of buying £40 textbooks, etc and get him to check out cheap deals for phone / internet / bills etc (I'm presuming that he's living in a house next year like most 2nd year students). It's definately easier to lower the outgoing than increase the incoming!!

    Hope that helps, most students are in debt, so accept that he probably will end up dipping into overdraft / credit cards, especailly by his third year, just make sure he gets the best deals on these.

    :D

    (Spell Check is top right of the box, above the smilies, or get Google Toolbar which has Spell Check for any web form)
  • Crispy_AmbulanceCrispy_Ambulance Forumite
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    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
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    Most students do work, but I think more than about 15 hrs pw is probably too much with a full time course. The other advantage about working, apart from the money, is that he will save cash because while he is at work, he is not out spending money on beer!

    To the OP - I understand why you want him to support himself, but we see a lot of students whose parents won't pay their assessed contribution and it is very frustrating, as there is nothing to cover the shortfall.

    as Megsykins says, working full time over the summer is a good idea, as is trying to reduce accommodation and living costs.

    Leaving uni without a debt is probably pretty much unachievable for most students these days.
    "Harry, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don't plan it. Don't wait for it. Just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men's store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot black coffee."
  • i am classed as independent as my rents kicked me out and i live in a council flat, but i dont have more money than peopel whose parents partly or wholly support them. please remeber that these kids get to go hoem every holiday and live rent and utility free and eat your food for free. i have to run a home 12 montsh of teh year. we dont have it better off. if you dont want to partly pay for him you would have to do what my rents did or he would have to get married. its your choice.
    :T The best things in life are FREE! :T
  • chugalugchugalug Forumite
    969 Posts
    Are you saying that your son has been assessed by the Local Authority as you having to make a contribution to his upkeep? If so then according to the assessment criteria you can afford to do so. Unfair cos there arent any other situations where you would have to support your child until the age of 25 but thats the system unfortunately. If he wants to go to Uni then he has to have loans and you have to support him.

    On the other hand, you might be saying that you haven't been assessed as having to support him but that he cant manage anyway. This you have more control over. If he's second year he can move into a houseshare which would be cheaper than Uni accommodation. You can help him with budgeting (which he should have started last year!!). He shouldnt have to work 15-20 hours during the week, that'll be impossible if he wants a decent degree. He needs to work maybe one day at the weekend during the week and work all the hols, especially the summer. That way he'll be ahead financially at the start of the year. Also, as his work load increases in the second year, he'll have less time to go out, thereby saving money!!

    As a last resort, leave him to it. Its a big, bad, expensive world out there and he has to learn to manage sometime. Point him in the direction of this site. He won't starve - and whats a few weeks living on beans on toast. All part of the uni experience.

    PS: just reread your post - what do you mean by not wealthy? Isnt that relative? Not having a go but you would have to contribute to your son's education if you earn over £30,000 and something a year which is a reasonable income. Perhaps everyone else disagrees?? All opinions welcome!!
    ~A mind is a terrible thing to waste on housework~
  • tr3mortr3mor Forumite
    2.3K Posts
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    babe_ruth wrote:
    I expect the second years loan to cover pretty much the same as first year and we are going to pay the shortfall again for his accomocation.

    You might be surprised by the extra you get this year. All students will be getting an extra loan to pay their fees in addition to a pretty good increase on the normal student loan too.

    Eg. I think this year I will get a basic loan of £4400 plus my fees paid by a separate loan. Last year I got a basic loan of aroun £4100, of which I had to pay my fees and other costs.

    So, if he has to pay full tuition fees, he should be around £1200+ better off this year!
  • just popped back to see if I had any replies and I can't believe the response. Certainly given my lots to read and be thinking about.

    I suppose I just want him to learn to fend for himself. The past year he has managed on £70 per week (from us) plus a nat west overdraft of £1000. I suppose what I am really asking is Am i being unreasonable in expecting him to get a job to pay for his food and extras and I just wondered what other parents did. I know a lot of his uni friends have jobs but I don't know it thats out of necessity.

    We will not be funding him however during the summer hols so he will have to work for spending money then.

    It will be interesting to see if he does get extra this year but we havn't heard yet.

    thanks all for replies
    It is unwise to pay too much but it's worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, all you lose is a little money... that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot...it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better (John Ruskin - 19 ctry author, art critic & social reformer)
  • impy78impy78 Forumite
    3.2K Posts
    Well, I certainly would expect it to be quite hard for him, as a student to eran that sort of money a week...

    When i was a student (bearing in mine there was no minimum wage at the time), I used to work Friday Night 9pm - 4am in a night club

    Saturday 12 - 6 in a cafe then 9- 4 in the club
    Then all day sunday in the cafe... and I got £40 a week.....
    Hi, we’ve had to remove your signature. If you’re not sure why please read the forum rules or email the forum team if you’re still unsure - MSE ForumTeam
  • Hi.

    I appreciate that parents can not continue to fund their children as they start going off intot he big wide world of work. I have been very lucky/fortunate as my parents have continued to help me out while at uni. Also at keele university (yay, go keele) i'm coming to the end of my three years, (wednesday is the last exam!!!) i've worked a part time job through all three years. I only work one day a week at a local electrical retailer, but it helps towards my finances.

    What i would say to everyone is the £45 a week i earn has helped but was no where near to suppling all my needs. I think if you can continue to 'help' your offspring do. I don't mean pay for everything, but if they are willing to work, let them but just ensure they don't work too much. Three nights working in a club is fine if you can be motivated to work around that, and you don't have early starts, but bear in mind there is a fine line between working and working too much. And just bear in mind that you go to university to get a degree, not to get a job.

    BUT please don't get me wrong, i don't think total support is good, i think everyone should understand the value of money. If you can help him while at uni please do, perhaps match his earnings or send him £50 a month or do a big shop for him once a month. To everyone out there who has supported themselves through university, I salute you as i could never have managed it. I owe a great deal to my parents and i doubt they will ever realise how grateful i am.

    Probably defending the students cause a little bit, sorry.

    MATT
    Debts (Apr 09):
    Professional Training Loan - £16,438.60
    Graduate Loan - £1,900.92
    Credit Cards - All Paid

    Just waiting for an allotment now!
  • babe_ruth_3babe_ruth_3 Forumite
    279 Posts
    from what you all are saying I am starting to feel a little mean. I think we should re-evaluate the situation and have (another) serious talk with DS when he next comes home. Cheers all
    It is unwise to pay too much but it's worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, all you lose is a little money... that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot...it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better (John Ruskin - 19 ctry author, art critic & social reformer)
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