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    • howiebest
    • By howiebest 10th Nov 18, 4:03 PM
    • 3Posts
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    howiebest
    student maintenance loans and step parents
    • #1
    • 10th Nov 18, 4:03 PM
    student maintenance loans and step parents 10th Nov 18 at 4:03 PM
    Student Maintenance Loans and Step Parents

    My step son has started his first year at university and we (mother and step father), like many parents up and down the country are now having to make some significant financial savings in order to fund his living costs at university. Our ‘son’ currently receives the minimum maintenance loan (just over £4000/year) based on our household (where he usually resides) income. His halls of residence fees alone (self-catering) equate to £6800 per year (complete rip off) so we have therefore made the decision to pay for his halls of residence fees leaving him with his maintenance loan to pay for his food and living costs (£100 per week).
    My views on student finance broadly fall in line with those of Martin Lewis, i.e. tuition fees are a tax and not a loan and represent a good deal for students. Whereas the maintenance loan is too low and requires additional funding which generally has to come from parents. It raises the question as to when does an adult (which our ‘son’ is), legally become financially independent? At present, it is quite clear that the finances of a student in higher education are not independent; they are calculated solely on the household income (parents/step parents) where he usually resides, which technically makes him an dependent adult.

    Having got that off my chest, could I ask for advice/ constructive comments to the following hypothetical scenario: -

    If my step son returns from university at the end of his first year of study and ‘independently’ decides as an adult (which he legally is) that he wants to live with his actual father (who is a low earner), would this be ok for him to do? The result of this ‘independent’, adult decision would be that he will now be eligible for a maintenance loan of over £8000 per year and therefore saving us approximately £4000 per year. As a law-abiding citizen, I am concerned that it may look like we are manipulating the system for financial benefit even though our ‘son’ would have made the decision for himself which as an adult he is legally obliged to do so.

    Should our ‘son’ consider this option as a realistic proposition? Does anyone out there have experience of this scenario and the possible barriers in place to safeguard against it happening? I would be grateful for any advice.

    Thanks
Page 1
    • _shel
    • By _shel 10th Nov 18, 4:59 PM
    • 1,604 Posts
    • 2,793 Thanks
    _shel
    • #2
    • 10th Nov 18, 4:59 PM
    • #2
    • 10th Nov 18, 4:59 PM
    Student Maintenance Loans and Step Parents

    My step son has started his first year at university and we (mother and step father), like many parents up and down the country are now having to make some significant financial savings in order to fund his living costs at university. Our ‘son’ currently receives the minimum maintenance loan (just over £4000/year) based on our household (where he usually resides) income. His halls of residence fees alone (self-catering) equate to £6800 per year (complete rip off) so we have therefore made the decision to pay for his halls of residence fees leaving him with his maintenance loan to pay for his food and living costs (£100 per week).
    My views on student finance broadly fall in line with those of Martin Lewis, i.e. tuition fees are a tax and not a loan and represent a good deal for students. Whereas the maintenance loan is too low and requires additional funding which generally has to come from parents. It raises the question as to when does an adult (which our ‘son’ is), legally become financially independent? At present, it is quite clear that the finances of a student in higher education are not independent; they are calculated solely on the household income (parents/step parents) where he usually resides, which technically makes him an dependent adult.

    Having got that off my chest, could I ask for advice/ constructive comments to the following hypothetical scenario: -

    If my step son returns from university at the end of his first year of study and ‘independently’ decides as an adult (which he legally is) that he wants to live with his actual father (who is a low earner), would this be ok for him to do? The result of this ‘independent’, adult decision would be that he will now be eligible for a maintenance loan of over £8000 per year and therefore saving us approximately £4000 per year. As a law-abiding citizen, I am concerned that it may look like we are manipulating the system for financial benefit even though our ‘son’ would have made the decision for himself which as an adult he is legally obliged to do so.

    Should our ‘son’ consider this option as a realistic proposition? Does anyone out there have experience of this scenario and the possible barriers in place to safeguard against it happening? I would be grateful for any advice.

    Thanks
    Originally posted by howiebest
    'Son' yes not manipulating at all
    • howiebest
    • By howiebest 10th Nov 18, 5:07 PM
    • 3 Posts
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    howiebest
    • #3
    • 10th Nov 18, 5:07 PM
    • #3
    • 10th Nov 18, 5:07 PM
    I have used ‘son’ to replace - son of mother and step son of mine. Just for simplicity’s sake.
    • unforeseen
    • By unforeseen 10th Nov 18, 6:02 PM
    • 3,089 Posts
    • 4,060 Thanks
    unforeseen
    • #4
    • 10th Nov 18, 6:02 PM
    • #4
    • 10th Nov 18, 6:02 PM
    As a law-abiding citizen, I am concerned that it may look like we are manipulating the system for financial benefit even though our ‘son’ would have made the decision for himself which as an adult he is legally obliged to do so.
    Which is precisely what your son would be doing, no doubt based on a 'suggestion' from you.

    I would think that they would look at residential history and question why the sudden decision to move.
    • silvercar
    • By silvercar 10th Nov 18, 6:08 PM
    • 38,116 Posts
    • 160,284 Thanks
    silvercar
    • #5
    • 10th Nov 18, 6:08 PM
    • #5
    • 10th Nov 18, 6:08 PM
    This seems a fairly mild form of encouragement, seeing that some parents decide to 'separate' prior to completing applications, in order to maximise the student loan.
    • Teapots
    • By Teapots 11th Nov 18, 9:18 AM
    • 5 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Teapots
    • #6
    • 11th Nov 18, 9:18 AM
    • #6
    • 11th Nov 18, 9:18 AM
    I would have your son call student finance and ask them for advice, if he does genuinely want to move in with his dad then he shouldn't be stopped, but that doesn't mean student finance won't look into why the sudden move happened. I don't know if they'd do that, I've not had experience with it, but who knows.

    Be careful with it all though, if he applies and they think he got more than he should have, he'll have to repay it either out of his maintenance loan or upfront, while would be a lot of money if he's eligible for about £8,000 with his dad.
    • howiebest
    • By howiebest 11th Nov 18, 8:09 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    howiebest
    • #7
    • 11th Nov 18, 8:09 PM
    • #7
    • 11th Nov 18, 8:09 PM
    Having read a little deeper on the subject, it appears that students in HE are classed as dependent or independent. Our son is classed as dependent and therefore his household income is taken into consideration when calculating his maintenance loan. I have yet to find any definitive answer as to what is classed as his 'household' and the criteria used to determine this. It seems to be a very confusing state of affairs with regard to the definition of an adult. In most cases I know of, 18 seems to be the age from a legal point of view, but when student finances are concerned, most undergraduates are conveniently classed as dependent students so that their parents have to contribute significant sums of money. I shall be phoning Student Finance England to clarify the definition of 'household'. Thanks to those who have contributed.
    • Ed-1
    • By Ed-1 11th Nov 18, 8:40 PM
    • 2,413 Posts
    • 1,255 Thanks
    Ed-1
    • #8
    • 11th Nov 18, 8:40 PM
    • #8
    • 11th Nov 18, 8:40 PM
    Having read a little deeper on the subject, it appears that students in HE are classed as dependent or independent. Our son is classed as dependent and therefore his household income is taken into consideration when calculating his maintenance loan. I have yet to find any definitive answer as to what is classed as his 'household' and the criteria used to determine this. It seems to be a very confusing state of affairs with regard to the definition of an adult. In most cases I know of, 18 seems to be the age from a legal point of view, but when student finances are concerned, most undergraduates are conveniently classed as dependent students so that their parents have to contribute significant sums of money. I shall be phoning Student Finance England to clarify the definition of 'household'. Thanks to those who have contributed.
    Originally posted by howiebest
    The legal position is set out in the student support regulations. The current set is the 2011 regulations which have been amended several times since in relation to amounts etc., but the definitions of dependent and independent student and what counts in the parental income test hasn't:

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2011/1986/pdfs/uksi_20111986_en.pdf

    Happy reading!
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