Millions of grandparents to fund grandchildren’s university education

Millions of grandparents expect to have to help fund their grandchildren through university as students continue to struggle with high tuition fees

More than 360,000 grandparents have already helped out with funding their grandchildren through university but this figure is expected to rise as more students struggle to cope with the cost of university tuition fees, researchers found.

Around one in eight over 55s think they will need to contribute to fees of around £9,000 a year, with many dipping into their savings to help out their grandchildren when they go onto higher education.

Experts warned that with extra pressures on finances for the under 55s, grandparents need to plan if they want to help their grandchildren.

Researchers found as people got older more expected to make a contribution, 10 per cent of those aged between 55 and 64 planning to help with funding, which increased to 15 per cent for the over 65s.

Around 637,456 students applied to university in 2013, compared with 618,247 in 2012, which suggests people could be using their families to help them pay fees.

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Students face cost-of-living crisis, suggests NUS data

Students in England face a cost-of-living crisis as loans and grants fail to keep pace with rents and bills, claims the National Union of Students.

The gap between income and expenditure for a typical student amounts to more than £7,600 according to NUS analysis.

The union compared the cost of living and studying for the 39-week 2013-14 academic year with typical income from government grants and loans.

The government said it was targeting support at those who needed it most.

Rent, bills and other outgoings continue to rise year after year above the rate of inflation but grants and loan rates were frozen this year and will only rise by 1% next year, says the union.

It estimates that a student living outside London will pay an average of £21,440 in tuition fees, books, equipment, rent, travel and other living expenses.

Against this, they have a potential income of £13,747 composed of their tuition fee loan plus maintenance loans and the grants available to those on average and low incomes.

This leaves a shortfall of £7,693.

More than half of students get no parental help

The majority of students are applying for controversial new student loans.

More than half of university students receive no financial help from their parents – resulting in most having to take out loans to cover tuition and living expenses.

In a survey by website Topcashback.co.uk almost three quarters of students said they did not expect any help from parents. But a smaller number – 57 per cent – did not actually receive any.

The backdrop is steeply rising university costs and the introduction of a complex and controversial new student loans system, which launched in 2012. From that year annual university fees in England rose from up to £3,000 to up to £9,000.

The site’s research shows two-thirds of students take out student loans to help cover the cost of university and 54pc have a job while studying. Smaller numbers – two in five – use savings to help meet the costs.

A report on new loans system – effective from September 1, 2012 – is complex. All students in England can apply for tuition loans, covering their course fees, and maintenance loans that help with living costs such as accommodation, bills and books. 

‘Middle-income graduates pay the most for student loans’

The impact of the new rules – only beginning to be understood now – will make graduates on middle incomes pay more and for longer, new research shows.

These are the findings of a heavyweight piece of research undertaken by political charity, The Intergenerational Foundation, published today, examining the complex new student loan regime introduced last year.

The new system – which came in as universities were permitted to charge a maximum £9,000 in tuition fees per year – means students borrow at a commercial rate of interest, higher than inflation, which is scaled up in relation to earnings above a current £21,000 annual threshold.

The impact of these escalating rates mean people in the middle pay the most – but take the longest to clear their debt. In the words of the report, “graduates toward the middle of the income distribution during their careers will find they are never able to pay off their debts in full and will be stuck making repayments until after 30 years when they reach the point where their outstanding debts are written off.”

Two in three pupils fear university costs: They worry about living expenses and not being able to earn while studying

Pupils are worried about living expenses and not being able to earn while studyinggroup of adults maths

Two-thirds of children are worried about the cost of going to university even though they think it will help them ‘get on in life’, a new survey has revealed.

They are concerned about living expenses and not being able to earn while they study while those from middle-class backgrounds are most troubled by £9,000-a-year tuition fees.

The Ipsos MORI poll for the Sutton Trust surveyed 2,595 11 to 16-year-olds.

It classified them as being in families of high, medium or low affluence based on questions about their households.

It found that students from the least affluent families (23 per cent) were more likely to cite cost as the biggest consideration when deciding whether to go onto higher education than their richer counterparts (14 per cent).

However, middle-class youngsters – who miss out on means tested maintenance grants – are most affected by tuition fees (30 per cent) when worrying about all the costs.

This compared to 28 per cent of rich students and 26 per cent of poorer ones who agreed that fees were the ‘biggest concern’.

Overall, 65 per cent of students surveyed were worried about university finances – 28 per cent cited tuition fees; 19 per cent, the cost of living and 18 per cent, not earning while studying.

Only seven per cent said they were not troubled by the cost of going to university.

Higher university tuition fees ‘putting off working-class boys’

Boys are more likely to shun university as a result of the rise in tuition fees, according to new research.

In particular, the gender gap between working class boys and girls going to university is growing, the study, by the Independent Commission on Fees, shows.

Whilst overall acceptance rates among applicants from poorer homes have remained steady, the figures show 1,700 fewer boys from the 40 per cent of neighbourhoods with the lowest higher-education participation rates were accepted into university last year.

Will Hutton, chairman of the Commission, said the study showed the first year of higher fees had produced a worrying expansion of the university gender gap.

Overall, 112,300 young males (aged 17-19) got a place at university last year, a 1.4 per cent fall on 2010, compared with 135,100 young females (a 0.9 per cent rise).

Gap between rich and poor students ‘stark’

An “unacceptably stark” difference remains between the number of rich and poor students choosing to study for a degree, says the head of the universities funding body.

University admissions: Official data, published by Ucas, shows that 18 year-olds from the wealthiest areas are still three times more likely to apply to university than those from the poorest areas.

Teenagers from poorer backgrounds remain much less likely to go to university, and to study at a top institution, according to a report by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

It warns that some universities could run into trouble if they fail to attract enough students and raises concerns about a slump in the numbers of people studying part time.

The new study looks at the impact of reforms to higher education funding.

Tuition fees were trebled last autumn, with new undergraduates now charged up to £9,000 a year for a degree course.

Graduates begin paying student loans back once they are earning at least £21,000.

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