Getting exam results is exciting for both parents and their children. It may lead to elation, or disappointment. It may determine what academic institution the child is attending next and therefore how they will spend several years of their life.
If your child recently got their exam results, it could be a good time to re-address both of your finances.
If you’re supporting a child in education, it’s good to re-address your spending plan when they are changing circumstances.
Whether they’re heading to college or university, starting working life or going travelling, if you plan to continue to help them financially you should look at the costs involved. You may be saving money on certain things when they have left the house: grocery bills, transport costs, school uniforms and PE kits, you might even save on your energy bill by turning off the radiator in their bedroom. But these costs could all be replaced with other costs. There are still books and stationary to be bought, plus housing, household bills, and living expenses to consider.
It may affect your current home insurance or car insurance cover, or you may have to look into new insurance policies. Try to make a list of expected savings and costs associated with the change, and figure into your budgeting.
Discuss Finance with Your Kids
Some young people going off to university will have university fees or accommodation paid for by their parents, or receive a regular allowance. Other parents do not have the means to provide this, or their children are better able to support themselves through student loans, grants, bursaries, or a part time job.
Access to finance for both parents and students can vary greatly, but it’s worth examining in all situations. Students need to have a solid understanding of what sort of costs to expect.
Learning to Budget
Good financial planning starts with budgeting. Students should calculate how much they will have to spend each month in total, make a list of expected costs, adding in a safety net for unexpected costs.
Money Dashboard’s personal finance assistant will help with monitoring spending to make sure it stays within the budget, but it’s also important to adapt. Overspending isn’t a failure, it just means the budget should be updated based on actual spending habits.
Child Tax Credits and Benefits
Children are legally obligated to attend schooling until the age of 16, but many continue education for years to follow. If you receive child tax credit or child benefits, the benefit will be automatically be stopped when your child reaches 16.
If your child is looking for work, it’s likely you’ll no longer be entitled to these benefits, unless you have a younger child as well.
But you may still be entitled to these benefits if your teenager is:
- Staying in school to study A-levels, Highers, or similar qualifications.
- Attending college to study A-levels, Highers, or similar qualifications.
- Attending a vocational school
- Attending some training courses (subject to Government approval)
If you think you are still entitled to benefit, you will have to re-apply via your personal tax account or by contacting HMRC.
Student Finance Sources
Tuition fee loans are available from student funding bodies. These differ depending on which nation of the UK you are in; Student Finance England, Student Awards Agency Scotland, Student Finance Wales, or Student Finance NI.
Scholarships and bursaries are offered by universities and further education colleges, as well as charities, trusts and local councils. They may be based on exam results, or offered for other reasons, such as disability.
Other Financial Support
The Government also provides a calculator, that allows students to find out what they are entitled to in terms of student loans and additional funding. It takes into account the student’s earnings, and the earnings of their partner or parents:
Students can seek additional financial guidance from their university or college’s student advice centre.
Students returning home from study may still need some financial support. Even intelligent, educated individuals have a hard time finding work without experience. If you have been supporting your child through university, don’t presume you’ll be better off now. They may need a little more time to become truly financially independent.