Is it a fair assumption that a parent will fund their child to some extent during university? This wasn’t the case for me – here’s my experience.
It feels to me like there’s a societal assumption that people have a great relationship with their family.
For determining student loans, UK law also takes this stance. It bases the amount of money handed to students in student loan packages on the overall family income.
But should we assume parents are willing to pay? What if they choose not to?
I was one of those students whose parents didn’t help fund my education, and I’m still dealing with the consequences years later.
I took out a loan in my second year as the income from my additional jobs wasn’t enough to pay my rent. Five years after finishing university, I’ve only just about paid this off.
There are assumptions made in the current process when deciding who gets what amount of money.
As my family had an income that went above the threshold for extra support, it meant that I was given a low amount of money in terms of the loan by the government – the minimum amount on offer.
The amount was certainly not enough to be able to pay for my accommodation, food, books, travel, socialising or any of the other costs associated with going to university.
Another of the assumptions made is that parents are willing to support their children. In our survey, parents of current undergraduate students said they’re putting their hand in their pockets to the tune of £360 per month, on average.
But what happens if your parents cannot or will not do that? For me, that additional financial support wasn’t an option.
The financial pressure, plus the pressure of actually doing the degree while growing up and learning to be an adult makes it a hard time to live through emotionally.
Working multiple jobs
I got jobs to support myself during the degree. One store was very supportive, allowing me to move to other stores so I could work holidays or while away from uni.
This was extremely helpful as I was also allowed to make commission. I worked long hours, often skipping important seminars and lectures so I could make the money to be able to afford to continue studying.
Somehow (while also maintaining a social life!) I finished with a 2:1.
I’m proud of that achievement, but I wish I had been given the opportunity to get a First. I think this would have been possible had there been less pressure.
What’s your uni experience been?
Balancing multiple jobs was a challenging but helpful way to learn social and communication skills you don’t get from a degree.
Perhaps the situation helped make me the person I am today.
A lot of people must go through similar situations in order to be able to study, but not everyone can handle the additional pressure of working to support themselves.
Is the current system a fair way to judge the amount of support a student will need?
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on whether you think the system is fair and is working as well as it could be. Has it worked for you? Have you been in a similar situation?
What do you think could be done to improve things? Let me know in the comments.