University fees are often the root of anxiety for students and parents alike; in a world where job security isn’t guaranteed and over 1 in 5 people in the UK live in poverty, being able to support your children in their studies is becoming increasingly more difficult.

Students that can’t follow the government’s parental contribution guidelines are left up to £5,700 a year out of pocket.As most students know, Maintenance Loans are means-tested, which means that the government calculates how much money a student should receive in loans each year based on how much their parents earn.

Household incomes that are less than £25,000 a year receive the full student Maintenance Loan – everyone else will receive less depending on how much their parents earn. The government then expect parents to make up this shortfall so all students ultimately receive the same amount.

Is it fair to financially penalise those students who choose not to ask their parents for financial support (or whose parents can’t/won’t pay for what the government won’t cover)? So, the government has created a system which limits the access of further education, which should be a given right.

A lot of students will have siblings, meaning their parents have other children to support through their education – that can get pretty expensive!

And, surely, this isn’t a sufficient way to distribute loans when every student’s situation is individual to them?

Many students will take up part-time work alongside their studies, but depending on your contact hours and workload, this may not be enough for the essentials, let alone cover for rent.

So, what should you do if your parents can’t or won’t give you money?

  • There are plenty of grants, scholarships and bursaries out there, which a range of weird and quirky criteria in many cases. Do some research and you’re likely to find one suitable for you.
  • Get a part-time job or save some money from your summer job – loads of students work alongside their studies and, although it may take a bit of time away from studying, it’ll guarantee a monthly income and teach you great time management skills.
  • Find out about university hardship funds – these are available through your University for students who are struggling financially. Your student services centre should be able to provide you with some more information.
  • Take a year out to work full-time and save up some more money. You may be keen to kick off your University career but you can easily defer your place for a year in order to save.

Do you think it’s fair that parents are expected to contribute to students’ living allowance at University? Let us know your thoughts! 

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