University is somewhere that many young people aspire to go to. The numbers attending are on the rise and across all income brackets. Although there is some help available, it may also be down to parents to help out. It is therefore worth thinking hard about how you can help out.
- Ensure the student gets all money they are entitled to – it is really important to make sure that you are getting all the money that you are entitled to get. Students can get loans which will cover their fees and might also cover their living expenses depending on the level of income in the household that they live. All students are entitled to a loan to cover their course fees but a more affluent income will get less loan or even no loan at all to cover living expenses so it will be these households that will be needing to find more money. The full loan is not a huge amount though and so parents may need to top this up anyway. There are some grants available for the lowest income families and so it can be worth checking if they are entitled to those.
You may also find that specific universities have money available for some students on certain courses. This might be more of a lottery as it will depend on those specific courses and it may have to applied for and there may be limited funds to only be allocated to very few students. It is best not to rely on this sort of thing but to take advantage of it if it becomes an option.
- Do extra work – it might be the case that parents will have to do extra work so that they can support their children. If one parent has been at home or working part-time while their children were at school then they may have to look at working full-time so that they can help out financially. Of course, if there are younger children at home then it may not be possible for everyone to work full-time. There may be opportunities to earn money online though doing part-time work or perhaps there might be the possibility of doing some freelance work or contract work to fit around family commitments.
- Give them the money you would otherwise have paid for them – when we have children living at home we are paying out for their food and possibly also toiletries and other things for them as well. When they move out, we will save that money and so it could be fairly easy to give them that money. Therefore, you might be able to supply them with enough to buy food and a few other things which could be a really good help. You may even be able to rent out their bedroom and send them that money to cover their rent.
- Get them to work – another option is to get the child to work part-time while they are doing their studies. It is often possible for students to pick up a part-time job, perhaps working weekends and/or evenings so that they can get some extra money. How much they can cope with will depend on how difficult the course is that they are studying and some will be very much more taxing than others. It could even be wise for them to start work while they are at school so they can start to build up some savings or for them to take a year or two out after they finish school to work full-time and build up some savings before they go to university. This may also give them time to carefully consider which course will be right for them and may reduce the risk of them doing a course that they later decide is not right for them.
- Make the student stay at home – if you are lucky enough to have a local university then it will be a lot cheaper if you let your child stay at home when they are studying. This will save the expense of rent and utilities as you will cover those costs. You may be happy for them to stay and not contribute anything at all and they will then only have to borrow the money to cover the cost of their course fees. Some people feel that university is about moving away form home and experiencing life without being under parental guidance. However, if it is the qualification that is the important bit for you, then it should make sense that you will be better off staying at home. It is a lot of money to pay just for an experience, which you could get once you finish university, find a job and are therefore able to afford the rent without borrowing money to do so. Obviously, parents will still be paying out some money in the scenario but it will be about the same as they were paying out when the child was at school which was hopefully within their means.