Most parents would like their children to go to university. However, the costs of university can be a concern. It is worth understanding how university costs are charged so that you can plan carefully for it.
Student loans – all students can get a loan to cover the cost of their university fees as long as they have not used a grant or loan before. Usually they can have up to four years of funding. There are a few exceptions to this but most courses follow these rules. This means that however much the course costs, the student will be able to borrow the money to pay for it. There is also some money available to cover living expenses, all students can have a small amount, but some can get more but it depends on their family income. This means that lower income families can borrow more money and a better off family will have to find the money themselves, maybe by borrowing in a different way or by using money that they have.
Grants and bursaries – there are limited grants and bursaries available for some students on some courses. It is worth finding out about these, but if you are planning in advance and wondering to start saving when your child is very young, it is probably best to assume you will not qualify for these, but once they are the right age, then look into it and apply for everything that you can.
Extras – as you can see there may be gaps where you child might need extra financial help. It could be possible for them to work while at university and earn the extra money that they need. Another possibility is that they go to a local university or do an online degree and stay at home which will be cheaper as there will be no extra rent to pay. Another option is that they go to work for a while first and save up their earnings so that they have some money available to pay for their course. However, if parents start saving up then there will be money available if they need it. It might be that, as parents, you would like them to have the opportunity of being able to study away form home, when they are eighteen and not have to work or worry about money.
If you do want to start saving then it is probably wise to start as soon as possible. Whether this is from when they are born or later, it is best to do it as soon as you start thinking that it might be necessary. The longer you give yourself to save up the easier it will be to build up a nice lump sum of money for them. It might be that you want to put it into a trust fund for them so that they can get to it when they are eighteen or into a savings account or that you keep it in an account in your name so that you can use it to pay their rent, rather than giving them access to it. You will need to think about what you think will be the most suitable solution for you and them.
It is probably a wise idea to save up regardless of whether you think they might need it. You never know whether they will get any help or not. It is hard to predict what the government might do with regards to funding university education, particularly if there is a change of government or lots of cuts to public spending. Therefore, being prepared is the best plan. It is probably best to assume there will be no help and save accordingly. Then when the time comes you can investigate what help is available and if there is none, you will be prepared. If there is help available then you can choose whether to use that help or not.