1 in 5 parents subsidise children at university by over £400 a month

A survey conducted by the Scholarship Hub found that a similar proportion of grandparents are also contributing financially

More than one in five parents (21%) subsidise their children’s studies at university by over £400 a month, with 55% giving more than £200 a month; 56% say this is unaffordable.

The survey of 100 parents with children at university was conducted by the Scholarship Hub, an online database of UK scholarships and bursaries.

82% of parents say that maintenance loans do not cover students’ living costs adequately, which is forcing them to step in.

To do this, almost two-thirds (62%) are cutting back on other spending, with 22% cutting back on holidays, 14% on house repairs, 11% on new clothes, 9% on general things (e.g. food bills and travel), and 6% on entertainment expenses. Some are also using their savings.

As well as parents, 21% of grandparents are contributing financially to support grandchildren at university.

The number of scholarships, grants and bursaries is rising each year, yet the vast majority of students aren’t even aware of them

Karen Kennard, founder of the Scholarship Hub, said: “The reduction in maintenance loans means that students are scraping around for extra money from jobs or family members. It’s not high tuition fees that are the major stumbling block for students, but a lack of funds to cover a student’s basic living costs and expenses. Tuition fees, in contrast, are paid directly by the student loan company to the university, and aren’t repayable until the student is earning over £25,000, so they don’t actually affect a student’s day-to-day life.”

57% of parents are unaware of additional funding from scholarships, grants and bursaries. Previous research, conducted by the Scholarship Hub, revealed that organisations offering scholarships often struggle to find applicants. Half said they had to work quite hard to attract applicants, often having to extend deadlines, and almost a third said they get fewer than 50 applicants. Only two said they received a good response.

Kennard continued: “The number of scholarships, grants and bursaries is rising each year, yet the vast majority of students aren’t even aware of them. There are many different scholarships available, and they’re not just for disadvantaged students or linked to a particular university or subject. Students should be checking what they might be eligible for so they don’t miss out.”