As A-level results day approaches (17 August), millions of UK parents could be counting the cost as their children get set for university.
A study carried out by Aviva finds parents of university students typically give their children £3,446 per year (around £287 per month), to support them through their studies. This adds up to more than £10,000 on average over a three-year degree.
However, one in 10 parents give children at university least £9,000 a year (£750 per month), while a quarter of parents (23%) give studying children at least £5,000 per year (around £417 per month) to help cover all aspects of university life, including accommodation, living costs, fees, text books and travel.
The insurer commissioned a survey of 2,000 parents who have children at university or who have been to university in the last 10 years.
Eight out of 10 parents questioned said they had given their children some financial support while studying. However, only one in seven parents (14%) said they had saved a fund which would cover all university-related costs for their children.
To put this in context, figures from Aviva’s summer 2016 Family Finances report suggest that those who recently joined higher education could find themselves with £44,000 of student debt when graduating. Alongside this, Family Finance data also shows that the typical UK family has £3,134 in savings.
Students still work to support their studies
Even with support from parents, a significant number of students still work to support themselves while studying. Forty-three per cent of parents said their children had a job during term time, while 42% said their children worked during university holidays.
Worryingly, 37% of parents whose children had paid employment while at university felt that work commitments had a negative impact on their children’s studies. Of even greater concern, one in five parents said that they didn’t feel university was worthwhile for their children.
This echoes an Aviva survey carried out in 2016, which found that 37% of graduates regretted going to university, due to the resulting debts.
Financial help from the extended family
A third of parents said their children had also received financial support from other family members or friends. Grandparents were the most likely contributors, with more than a quarter (27%) giving money to their studying grandchildren. Siblings helped out 6% of students, and 2% of students received financial support from friends of the family.
Almost a third of parents surveyed (30%) have given, or plan to give, money to their children to help with student debts, although only one in 10 (9%) will pay off these debts completely.
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