At this time of the year, many of our clients’ thoughts turn to the financial implications of their children or grandchildren attending university. The fact is, it’s not cheap! There are of course many ways in which university education costs can be mitigated.
At present, top-up fees are restricted to £3,000 per annum and of course students can help to contribute to the costs by undertaking some paid employment. However, ultimately most parents will see the prospect of a degree course as a significant expense – especially if there is more than one child!
It is difficult to be precise about costs – so much depends on the course itself and the location and accommodation arrangements. Student loans can make a valuable contribution, but will you really want your offspring saddled with a debt – even before they have managed to get a foot-hold on the housing ladder?
A recent Natwest survey found that after taking into account the new tuition fees a three year degree course could amount to £33,500. Top up fees are likely to increase from 2010, and certainly our own experience with clients suggests that the total cost already (especially if there is a gap year) is likely to be nearer £50,000.
The other side to this story is of course that a graduate is likely to earn over 50% more than his non university educated colleagues. While this means that the initial investment may well pay off, it’s important to ensure that the costs don’t come as an unpleasant surprise.
There are a wide range of investment options available to parents and grandparents who plan in advance to fund for further education which we can help with.