The cost of university can be a worrying thing for parents. Although student loans are given to all students to cover their tuition fees, there are variations in how much other money they can borrow. The living expenses loans are mainly calculated based on parental income and for those households with higher incomes, there will be no loans available. This means that parents will have to make up the short fall. This could be a significant amount of money. Below are a few tips for parents that need help with covering this cost.
Calculate how much you will need
To start with it is a good idea to calculate how much your children will need. They will need to cover the cost of food, rent, utilities, travel and books as well as extras such as mobile phones, clothing and toiletries. It is good to plan for the worst and make costs a bit more expensive than you think they will be so that you are well prepared. They may of course also have a car to run which will make a significant difference to their expenses. They may have money that they could contribute or even be able to get a job in order to help sustain themselves. However, it is best to not allow for this just in case they spend their money before they start university and their course might be so difficult that they have no time to work while they are doing it.
Consider a local university
It is a lot cheaper to pay for university if your child lives at home with you. They will not have to pay rent and therefore that will be a large chunk of money saved. They will of course still need feeding and your utility bills might be a bit higher as a result of them being with you. However, it can save a significant chunk of money. They may not like the idea of not being able to have the same freedom as a student that is no longer living with their parents, but some students are not ready to move out of home at such a young age anyway. Of course, it will also depend on what course they want to do and whether the local universities offer those. The reputation of the university may also be important as well as the pre-requisites required to do the courses on offer and you will not be able to look into this until very near to when your child is looking into a course as they may change.
Start saving as soon as you can
It is wise to start saving up money as soon as you can. Start a savings account and put some money into it each month after you get paid. If you have already calculated how much money you will need then you will know how much you will need to save up. You will need to save this much for each child. Of course, there could be a chance that they decide not to go to university. However, it is wise to save the money and then if they do not go, you can still give them the same amount of money as their siblings and they may wish to use it towards a deposit on a home or a car or something like that.
Even if you do not have a huge income and can only save very little, it is worth doing. Any money that you can save will help out in the future. You might be wise to try to cut your spending in other areas so that you can save more. This can be hard when your children are young as you will need to pay for childcare or have one parent not at work or only working part-time. However if you get into the habit of saving and budgeting so that you can save, then this will help you set a good pattern for the future. As your income increase, increase the amount that you save so that you can make it even easier to accumulate a good pot of money.
Consider work options while they are at university
It is worth thinking about work options while they are at university. It might be that while they have been at school, one or both parents may have been working part-time in order to help them with homework and things like that. Once they go to university they should not need this care and may not even be at home and so both parents could work full time and this would bring in more income.
The students may also be able to get a part-time job to help out towards their keep as well. Even if they just did a few hours a week it would all help and it could make a difference to how much they needed from you.