2 minutes reading time (389 words)

Going to university? Time to start saving

bridge 374048 640If you’ve got an 18 year old then I bet you’re not looking forward to next Thursday. For the unaffected, that’s when A level results are out. I can still remember the tension of going to get my A level results and that was back in the dim and distant 1980s. That was when a university education, if not free, was cheap enough. There were no tuition fees to pay and you got a grant towards living costs. I actually graduated with money in the bank thanks to a part time job working in a bar. Today, students leave university with five figure debts which then have to be paid back once they start work (as long as they are earning £21,000 or more).

The prospect of that debt probably means today’s teenagers take a university education far more seriously than when I was young – which is kind of a shame, really. After all, if you’re going to end up in hock then you probably want a useful degree with a high grade. I quite fancy the idea of the boy going to study abroad – some Dutch universities teach in English and the cost isn’t far off the UK (but you can’t get student loans). The website www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk has more information. Or for those wanting to get out into the real world quickly, there’s the private University of Buckingham where degrees take two years. But anyway, that’s probably a discussion for the future given the boy is only 11..

One thing I could plan for now is the cost. Although student loans have put much of the burden of the cost of studying on the student, there’s still a cost for parents. The National Student Money Survey says that while 83% of students have loans, 71% need help from their parents. So obviously, the sooner we all start saving, the better. Jane has written here in the past about using Jisas – you can put up to £4,128 this tax year and the child can only access the cash when they are 18. I do have a Jisa for the boy which is invested in sensible funds (a better idea over the medium to long term than a savings account) but I haven’t contributed anything to it for a while. I may just have to start again...

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Saturday, 20 April 2019