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.

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. 

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