University education is a key step in the journey to fully-fledged adulthood, and something of a rite of passage for students – particularly over the last 40 years, as higher education has further cemented itself as an equitable opportunity for learners to gain a meaningful qualification in a skill or subject. But university is also a costly endeavour, on a number of fronts.
The various fees and associated ongoing costs linked to university are high enough, but in recent months the cost-of-living crisis has made the move to independent living much harder for young people. Even at the best of times, new students are often lucky enough to count on financial support from loved ones in the form of parents and guardians. As a sole caregiver, your job may be much harder in this regard; why is it so important to fund a university education, and how can you approach funding as a single parent?
The Advantages of University
University is certainly not an essential step for school leavers to take towards their ideal career, but undertaking an undergraduate degree can open many doors depending on the profession – and otherwise strengthen CVs.
While the prospects of students can vary widely dependent on their choice of subject and even of university, it is an unassailable fact that certain subjects enjoy incredibly high employment rates post-graduation (to say nothing of the networking possibilities, and the foundational impact of extracurricular activity on a student’s future.
The Cost of Further Education
It is also an unassailable fact that university is expensive. Today, the standard cost for undergraduate university tuition stands at £9,250 per year. This fee has been in place since the controversial tuition fee rise beginning academic year 2012-13, but is not often a fee shouldered by students or parents; rather, it is paid for through a student loan, repaid like a tax by the student after passing a salary threshold.
But the costs don’t stop here. Tuition fees do not cover all study resources, and students are expected to buy their own learning materials as well as other supplementary equipment – whether stationery, devices or even specific items of equipment. On top of this, students need to fund their own living situation, from food and drink to accommodation and related bills. Some of this can be covered by a maintenance loan, but not all.
Planning Your Finances
Supplementing your child’s university studies financially can be as simple as seeking your own form of financial assistance, even if your credit score does not support application for secured loans. Since rent and some other bills can typically be covered by maintenance loans, your support may be needed more for the one-off purchasing of equipment and resources for study. Even buying a device such as a laptop or tablet can be a great help in advance, and alleviate some financial worries from your child.
The burden will not be entirely on you to fund your child through university. As a student with a sole parent and with certain financial restrictions, your child may be eligible for additional grants and bursaries to subsidise their time on your behalf. Ultimately, research is your friend.