If your teenager has applied to university this year and is beginning to get their offers back then this is the guide for you.
Having gone through this process with teenboy just last year I know the ins and outs of applying to university, applying for student finance and applying for a place in halls to getting a place in private halls.
But more importantly, given teenboy’s laziness I know how NOT to do – how to pick up the pieces and fix it when the teenagers break it – cos invariably they do and they will because they’re teenagers. Although if you’re one of the lucky parents who have organised, disciplined and effective teenagers then you won’t need this guide at all. The rest of you, have a read and arm yourself so you can help your teenager not make a mess of it like mine did!
Before we go any further I need to tell remind you of one thing – make sure your teenager keeps their UCAS login info somewhere safe (if possible get a copy of it and keep it safe for them) they will need this on results day to find out if they’ve got enough points to get in. Again, this is a huge mistake teenboy made. He lost his and we spent all day trying to get through to UCAS on the phone. On results day this is an impossible feat.
Due to the amount of information I’ve split it into at least 2 parts, although it may end up in 3.
So here’s part one of :
Mum to Teens’ Guide for Parents of Teenagers Going to University in September
Your teenager has got an offer from one of the universities they’ve applied to, here’s what you need to make sure they do next:
Apply for student finance NOW
Apply for halls of residence NOW if they have an unconditional offer
Your child might tell you they don’t need to apply for finance yet because they’ve only got a conditional offer so they don’t know which university they’re going to until they get their A-Level results.
DO NOT listen to them.
To ensure they have finance in place they need to apply for their student loans now.
DO NOT make the same mistake as teenboy who didn’t apply for either until August. He then had no money for his first term, and almost got kicked out at Christmas cos he hadn’t paid his tuition fees because he hadn’t got his money through.
How to apply for student finance
Your teenager and you can do it at www.gov.uk/studentfinance
This is a government website filled with all the information you and your teenager will need to apply for and access the finance that will get them through their whole time at university.
Tuition Fee Loan – your teenager can get up to £9,000 each year to pay their tuition fees for a full time course. Remember, as this is a loan it MUST be paid back once they earn £21,000 a year. And if they haven’t paid it off in 30 years it gets written off.
Maintenance Loan – your teenager can get a loan to help pay for living costs while they’re at uni. If they’re going to live at home they can get £4,375 per year. Living away from home they can get up to £5,500. And if they’re living away from home in London they can get £7,675. This is also a loan and MUST be paid back.
Maintenance Grant – your teenager may be able to get some further help by way of a Grant. This is means tested and dependent on the family income. If your household income is less than £25,000 a year then your teen can get up to £3,354 a year. This reduces the more you earn. If you earn more than £42,600 your teenager won’t get a grant. This is a Grant and DOES NOT need to be paid back.
When your teenager applies for student finance you will most likely want to support their application. To do this you will have to provide details about your total household income. This is done quite simply by adding your national insurance number to your teenager’s application or at a later date by replying to the email you’ll receive after your child has completed their application.
You may be asked for some more information to substantiate your household income this can include things such as payslips for the past year, P60, self assessment tax return, benefits book, pension info, investment statements, evidence of divorce, etc.
You can find out more information about your part in your teenager’s student finance application here
Loans and grants are paid in three installments – at the start of the academic year, at Christmas and then finally at Easter.
DO NOT pay your teenager’s tuition fees up front. If for some reason your teenager’s finance does not come through in time for the start of their course you are under NO OBLIGATION to pay their tuition fees up front. The university knows they have applied for a tuition fee loan and they are happy to wait until that comes through (within reason, see teenboy’s problem above!).
Student finance will not give you any information regarding your teenager’s application unless you get your teen to give them consent to do so. I highly recommend that you do this. Just in case something goes wrong and your teenager isn’t equipped to get it sorted out, for example it’s Christmas and they’re going to get kicked out of uni because their loan hasn’t come through, you can get on the phone to them and get it sorted within minutes.
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