Parents are sacrificing cars and holidays – and even taking on second jobs – to fund hundreds of pounds in contributions to their children’s university living costs, new research from Which? suggests.
In a survey of parents of current and prospective students, a quarter (26%) of parents told Which? they have had to or intend to cut back on luxury spending – such as holidays, new cars or home improvements – to financially support their child at university.
Six per cent of parents also said they have or will have to take on a second job to help cover the cost.
Which? heard from 846 parents of current and prospective undergraduate students about how their child’s university education is being funded, with just over eight in 10 (84%) parents of current students saying they are financially supporting their child at university.
Half (49%) of those said the overall cost of supporting a child at university was more than they expected, with contributions made by parents averaging £360 a month.
Two thirds of parents (66%) surveyed told Which? they use or will use their monthly income to cover the cost, while a quarter (27%) said the funds come or will come from their savings.
A third (34%) said they had or will cut down on day-to-day spending, with another one in three (32%) telling Which? they will encourage their child to get a job or save in other ways.
Expenses that parents of current students were contributing towards included living costs, including accommodation, bills and food (56%), study materials (37%), outings and hobbies (28%) and tuition fees (10%).
However, one in five parents of current undergraduates say that they are supporting their child financially, but did not know specifically how the money was being spent.
One parent with three children at university told Which?: “All my earnings go into supporting my children, and we have gone without many things to support them.”
In a separate survey of students, Which? found that half received additional money from their parents, with around four in 10 (44%) saying they have spent more money on accommodation than they expected to, and the same proportion (43%) saying course expenses cost them more than they had anticipated.