New research has revealed that over one in five parents (21%) are subsidising their children’s studies at university by over £400 a month, with over half (55%) giving over £200 a month
The survey of 100 parents with children at university was conducted by The Scholarship Hub, a free online database of over 3,000 UK scholarships and bursaries worth over £150m in funding. It reveals the high levels of support that families are giving to students and how this impacts them.
Over one in eight parents (82%) feel that maintenance loans do not cover students’ living costs adequately, which is forcing parents to step in.
To do this, almost two-thirds (62%) of parents are cutting back on other spending with one in five (22%) cutting back on holidays, 14% on house repairs, 11% on new clothes, 9% on general things, like food bills and travel, and 6% on entertainment expenses. Some are also using their savings.
As well as parents, over one in five (21%) grandparents are contributing financially to support grandchildren at university.
56% of parents say this is not affordable for them
Karen Kennard, founder of The Scholarship Hub, said: “The reduction in maintenance loans means that students are scraping around for extra money from jobs or family members. It’s not high tuition fees that are the major stumbling block for students but rather a lack of funds to cover a student’s basic living costs and expenses. Tuition fees, in contrast, are paid directly by the student loan company to the university and aren’t re-payable until the student is earning over £25,000, so they don’t actually affect a student’s day-to-day life.”
Over half (57%) of parents are also not aware of additional funding for students, from scholarships, grants and bursaries. Previous research, conducted by The Scholarship Hub, revealed that organisations offering scholarships often struggle to find applicants. Half (10 out of 20 organisations) of organisations said they had to work quite hard to attract applicants, often having to extend deadlines and almost a third (seven out of 20) said they get less than 50 applicants. Only two said they got a good response.
Karen Kennard continued: “The number of scholarships, grants and bursaries is rising each year, yet the vast majority of students aren’t even aware of them. There are many different scholarships available and they’re not just for disadvantaged students or linked to a particular university and subject. Students should be checking what they might be eligible for so they don’t miss out”.
Another way for parents to support students, without having to dip into their own pockets, is by using Funds4Uni, set up by The Scholarship Hub and easyfundraising. Students set themselves up as a ‘fundraising cause’ and invite friends and family to support them for free by doing their online shopping through Funds4Uni. The scheme then generates donations from retailers to the student’s university funds, which are paid directly into the student’s bank account.