With university fees at almost £10,000 per year plus living costs on top, the prospect of committing to three or four years studying can seem as if the financial burden outweighs the benefits. But graduates earn more than school leavers and payback terms are linked to earnings so it can be a worthwhile investment.
Here are some useful tips to help your child manage their finances:
Teach them how to budget. If you’re supporting them financially, don’t budget on their behalf by paying bills direct or limiting their money to a weekly allowance – in the long run it won’t help them. Teach them how to budget for rent, bills, course materials, food and entertainment so they understand what expenses are coming up and how to put aside money so they have enough to cover the cost of living. We recommend using the Which? University Budget calculater to help with this.
Make sure they apply for student discount cards, such as the National Union of Students (NUS) card and a 16-25 Railcard;
Encourage your child to find part-time work, ideally during holiday-time, but term-time too if money is a significant issue. However, make sure your child is not neglecting their academic studies as research shows working more than 20 hours each week during term-time can have a negative impact on academic performance;
Encourage your child to speak to a student money advisor at their university;
Give your child tips on money saving ideas, such as buying non-branded food items and attending free social events.
Speak with your child’s bank about extending their interest free overdraft.
To find out more about what you can do to support your child after they leave home, check out The Parents' Guide to University.