Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Photo 22

Sometimes plans, ideas and life are just a process of elimination and we've certainly found this today with Amy applying for university.

She's been advised by college to apply to several so she has the chance of more offers. And so the process began.

She definitely wants to move away from Greater Manchester so already some have been written off by her determination to do this. 

Then there's the question of courses. I assumed they would all offer the 'basic' English, Maths, Sciences, but I was wrong, so a few more have been crossed off the list.

Distance is a factor - she wants to move away but not to the other end of the country, so everything south of Bristol and north of Cumbria has been eliminated.

Then you get into the realms of grades. The top ones require 3 A's regardless of what you want to study, while lower down the ranks, grades of ABB, BBB or BBC are accepted. She's a predicted A student in English Lit and Creative Writing but teeters on the A/B in psychology leaning more towards the B, so to save herself the stress and worry a few more have had a cross put against them.

According to UniRank there are 152 universities in the UK. After we've taken everything into account I think Amy is now looking at around 6 of them! 

If I understand correctly it will cost around £9,250 per year for 3 years and she should get a student loan to cover this. I've no idea what this actually pays for as I haven't delved that far yet but I sincerely hope some of it is accommodation!

According to the information I've read the loan is only paid back when you've graduated and are earning £21,000 per annum. A £21k wage would mean you pay back £26 per month. If you've not paid back the loan after 30 years it's written off. 

I didn't go to university, circumstances led me down a different route, but I suppose I'm very old school about them. I basically tend to think the degree needs to be worth getting into debt for. Otherwise I strongly veer towards apprenticeships and think there should be more of these on offer. 

I don't want to get into whether university should be free or not, but I would just say I'm grateful education is gratis for all our children up to the age of 18. At the moment we find ourselves in a 'not free' era where uni is concerned but when paying it back gets broken down, it doesn't actually seem that bad. 

Yes, it would be a lot better not to have to pay back any loan but if it's enabled you to get a decent job that pays well then surely it's worth it. 

I know a few people from abroad read my blog and I'd be interested to see how our costs at degree level compares and whether you think yours and ours is value for money or not. 

If anybody has or has had a child in Uni where they've had to pay fees, I'd be really interested to hear whether you think it was worth it or not and also any other basic information you might be able to help with, such as hidden costs. 

Amy, the possible uni one, who really prefers to do an apprenticeship but doesn't know 
how she could do this as she wants to study English Literature. 




  1. Student Type: Canadian
    Study Schedule: Full-Time
    Faculty/Program: Arts
    Housing: Included
    Units of Course Weight: 30
    Fee Amount
    Summary of Non-instructional fees $1558.83-lots of these may not be necessary
    Estimated costs for first year $15632.63 (CAD)
    Tuition $5320.80
    Residence $7153.00
    Books and Supplies $1600.00

    That's just for the first year in our province. Converts to 9257.39 British pounds.
    We have 2 sons that went to university, both lived at home and worked all the way through and never had student loans. Very lucky. They both worked in restaurants and one had a couple of stints working in a casino.
    My sisters son and daughter got complete free rides all the way through university. Full scholarships for 3yr. BA and then 2yr. masters. They are a couple of brainiacs and gifted and are really nice kids, thank goodness!!
    One of my brothers boys went to university on a free ride on swimming scholarships. He went to the try-outs for 3 olympic games. He didn't ever make the team but he was very highly ranked in Canada. So, again very lucky. He went to uni. in a different city so had to pay for accommodation but he worked as a lifeguard and also gave private swimming lessons and therefore didn't need student loans. So our families have been very lucky in the cost of 'further education' but I know many kids/families are paying off student loans for years.
    I'm looking forward to hearing what Amy decides to do. What does she hope to do with her Eng. Lit. degree?

    1. I was going to say that Canada and the UK seem to be the same cost wise, that is until I read Philip's comment and it would appear the £9k over here only covers the cost of the course, accommodation is on top of that, so you seem to be better off over there.

      Your family have done very well for themselves with their education and it sounds like there have been good opportunities for them. Most students over here have to find part time jobs as well - even if it's just for beer money!

      That's the thing with the English Lit degree, she's not sure what she wants to do career wise but loves the subject and it seems to come naturally to her. One University combines it with a language which she's interested in looking into. I suppose that could always take her down the teaching route in a High School - or abroad teaching English, even just for a couple of years experience. It will be interesting to see what she ends up doing. xx

  2. I was lucky to go to university when you received a bursary twice a year. Only a small amount but it helped with books, photocopying and travel. Neither of my girls wanted to go and both have very good jobs. I believe choosing the right subjects is as important as the right place to learn. So many degrees have no substance in the real world. Our grandson wants to be a pilot he is twelve and we will probably help where possible for him to achieve his goal.

    1. Your girls have obviously done well for themselves without going to uni and if Amy knew what she wanted to do I think I'd be encouraging her to try and get a job/apprenticeship.

      I didn't go but I was never out of work and the jobs I had were good ones and paid well, so I don't feel it's absolutely necessary to go to get on in life. I agree with you about some degrees having no substance to them and I've always said if Amy and Thomas go it has to be a 'proper' subject.

      It's good your grandson knows what he wants to do and I hope he achieves his dream. Thomas has been joining the police force since he was 3 years old and is still as keen to do this. Amy is definitely a free spirit and has no idea what she really wants to do. This is the biggest problem with regards to job vs uni but at least English Literature seems a decent subject even if it doesn't directly relate to a specific job. xx

  3. Exciting times ahead for Amy. You have one smart and pretty girl on your hands Suzanne and some big decisions to be made.
    I'm of the belief that going to university seems to have become a rite of passage for many where an apprenticeship or management training programme would have been the better option. The accommodation costs can be very expensive (depending on the area) and most students need to work to subsidise their loan. It's a lot of debt to get into so early in life if it isn't the right choice for them. X

    1. Aww, thank you Jules. We think she's gorgeous but don't tell her!

      There are some big decisions to make but thankfully we have a year to find things out. I think she would prefer to do an apprenticeship rather than go to university but therein lies the problem - she doesn't know what she wants to do. I mean Not. A. Clue. so that's not very helpful. I don't want her to go to Uni just to buy herself another 3 years which is why we've always said if either of them go it has to be a decent recognised course.

      There are some English Lit/Language courses which she's keen to explore. I don't think she's for staying put and is always talking about working abroad so maybe teaching abroad is something she could consider.

      Long gone are the days where you started work at 16 and stuck with your career until you retired, so even if it gets her a few years work and some life experience that would be fine.

      She's very astute with money though and as well as not knowing exactly what she wants to do she seems hesitant to go and take on the debt if she's not going to need the degree. She has her head screwed on, it's just all a bit muddled for her at the moment. xx

  4. The £9250 is to cover tuition fees. You apply for a maintenance loan in addition to this for accommodation and expenses. The amount of maintenance loan allowable is means tested based on parental income. this is unlikely to cover maintenance costs, particularly if the University is in a relatively expensive area. Despite all this I believe university can be a worthwhile experience in many ways aside from the educational benefits. Qualifications are no guarantee of a good job of course, but for many professions it is an essential access route.

    1. Good grief Philip, that's really surprised me. I've heard the £9k per year bandied about for ages and just assumed it covered nearly everything. So accommodation is on top of that as well - we need to look into that then.

      You're right, a degree is no guarantee of a job but so many employers seem to want them these days. I would just feel happier if she had a vague idea of what she wanted to do although I realise people set out in one direction and end up going down a completely different route, so maybe it doesn't matter so much at the end of the day.

      It will be interesting to see what she decides to do and interesting to find out how much the accommodation costs are!

      Thank you very much for replying with that information. It's been really helpful. xx

    2. I'll send you a. Message chick - only just seen this n off t sleep x

  5. I think it depends on if they have any idea of what they want to do afterwards. Son was sure always that he wanted to be an archaeologist so had to go to uni to get a degree.Very few of his friends who did archeaologt=y degrees are actually still in that job as there are few jobs available. Eldest daughter was keen on doing something arty so did a years arts foundation course at a Suffolk college which guided her into doing a textile print course at Uni and working for Monsoon and now phase8. Youngest didn't want to do uni left school at 17 and went straight into work at a local opticians where she is now practice manager. Both the eldest worked part time while at uni to help with costs of drink and night life! They both made friends that they still have and expanded their horizons hugely.
    Our nephew went to work with cars in a garage but then went on and did a degree and Masters a few years later and is now an engineer earning Pots of money!Another nephew learned while working as an accountant but is now a consultant. A friends daughter did a forensic science degree then went on to do a masters in nursing. A friends son did a history degree but has been working in a warehouse since then but he'll always have that degree if he wants to go on and do something with it later.
    So you don't always have to do what you start out doing!
    There are lots of opportunities what ever she chooses.
    Good luck with all the trips to visit all the universities. Looking round is the best way to choose or Good luck if she chooses not to go too!
    Blimey I've gone on a bit....sorry

    1. No, you've not gone on at all. It's interesting to read what choices people have made and where it's lead them. That's the sort of thing I want to know. The biggest problem we have is she doesn't know what she wants to do which is making the decision harder. She's got her head screwed on regarding money and isn't keen on taking the debt on just to fill a few years or if she ends up in a job that didn't need a degree.

      I think she would prefer to work like your youngest but as she doesn't know what she wants to do she's stuck with this as well. My nephew was going to go to Uni but he's got an apprenticeship as an accountant in September, which he's much happier about. Again it all boils down to wanting to do something.

      I think she will probably end up going to Uni so I'm hoping English Literature is looked on as a decent degree to get although I can't think what it would lead into apart from teaching.

      She's just put her name down for an open day at York and no doubt we'll be visiting a few more which will be interesting.

      Thanks for the input - it's appreciated. xx

  6. Hi, when middle son went to uni we found the whole process baffling - it was our first time. Luckily for him the tuition fees were still at about 3,500 per year. He got a maintenance loan but still worked in a student job through his 3 years and we always paid his rent (we did struggle as it was like a 2nd mortgage ). Youngest daughter went to Univ of Leeds by which time the tuition fees had gone up to 9000 per year. She also got a maintenance loan. The maintenance loan is based on parents income. As both hubby and I worked full time, she didn't get much - so again we paid her rent for 3 years. She went on to do a 4th year to do her pgce and is now a secondary school english teacher but her student debt is in the region of 60,000. She pays a bit through her salary as she earns over 21,000. Both the tuition fee loans and maintenance loans have to be repaid - and intetest is added!!! I seriously wonder how the figures are calculated as some weeks both our kids only had about 2 days in uni!!! Both spent their first year in halls - it's when they move into private renting that you get to see some hovels with extortionate rents.
    Good luck - it's a minefield out in uni world.

    1. Flipping heck Mrs £60K! That's a bit of a shock. Makes me wonder how the debts are ever paid off. The maintenance loan both yourself and Philip has mentioned is an eye opener. Here I was naively thinking that paying £9k per year is do-able! But this is the sort of information I'm looking for.

      My friend basically went back to work to put her kids through uni but I don't like to ask her about money, it's too personal, so this information is really helpful. She did say her daughters mattress in private rental had bed bugs though!!!

      My sister says a couple of her sons friends packed in after their first year because of the lack of hours they were in lectures. She said they were basically away from home, bored, only young and spending money they didn't have to keep themselves entertained. It sounds like it takes a lot of discipline in life as well.

      There is a lot to think about and Amy isn't exactly chomping at the bit so we need to do some serious talking. Thanks for the info. If anything else springs to mind, please drop me a line. xx

  7. It's a lot to take in so I've taken the liberty of making some additional points:-
    1. Going to university is not just about getting a degree. There are other psycho-social benefits as well as broader educational and cultural developments. I think it provides a gentler transition to adulthood and independence.
    2. As Sue demonstrates the career you end up might not necessarily be related to your degree subject, or if you don't go to university what your initial interest or first job might be. So I would not worry if Amy does not know what she wants to do yet. See university as a formative process. (When I first went to university I had no idea that a whole load of jobs and careers even existed).
    3. Apply for a course in a subject you are interested in. Personally, l would find spending three years devoted to reading English Literature enormously appealing.
    4. The debt. Research does show that on average graduates earn more than non-graduates. There will be some graduates, of course, who don't just as there are some non-graduates who earn a lot. Under current rules the loan repayments are structured in a way that makes them affordable according to your income.
    5. Ultimately, it needs to be Amy's decision.

    1. Philip, You sound just like her Dad :) He sees it as more than just getting a degree as well. He says it's about independence, socialising, experience and pushing yourself, all things I agree with, it just seems an expensive way of doing it!

      She seems set on English Literature but I'm not sure what that would lead into apart from teaching and she's not keen on doing that, but as you say, maybe the degree subject doesn't have to be specifically related to a certain career at this point in time.

      We've all got a lot to think about and look into but you're right, it's up to Amy at the end of the day. If an apprenticeship came up I think she would be happier doing that but I wouldn't see Uni as a gap filler just because she couldn't go down that route - she's got the ability and attitude to gain a degree and I'm convinced she'd put 100% in and get a lot out of it, but it's her choice. xx

  8. I think it would be a good idea for you and your daughter to get more facts about this big decision, especially if she is going to go into debt to get a degree. Please don't go into it without knowing how much the debt will be and whether the degree will lead to employment. A degree in English Literature is a lot of fun, but it does not lead to any employment options. There are a lot of resources available to help Amy figure out what she might like to do to earn a living. There is also no shortage of Career information available. I am sorry to say it, but there are a lot of English majors working in coffee shops after they graduate. Do your research.

    1. Yes, this is another 'problem'. She loves English Literature but apart from teaching we can't figure out exactly what career it could lead to. She may be directionless in knowing what she wants to do but she's pretty certain about what she doesn't want to do and teaching doesn't really appeal to her. So although it's what I would call a 'good' degree to have I'm not sure where it would be applicable - although I suppose it looks good on paper when you go for a job. We have a lot to think about and a lot to look into and we're probably making it harder for ourselves by doing this - I'm sure a lot of people just go for the sake of it - but she doesn't want to do that. She wants to be as certain as she can be it's for her. xx

  9. so much to think about. Blimey.
    I'm sure Amy will make the right decision, and she's lucky to have good, supportive parents behind her. xx

    1. It is a lot to think about Sadie and because of the finance side I really want her to be sure about her decision. It will be interesting to see what route she chooses to go down. Half her problem, and she's astute enough to realise this herself, is that with not knowing what she wants to do she could end up in a job that didn't even require a degree but by then she'll have racked up a load of debt. Mind you, I'm not sure how any of these debts gets paid back - maybe the teachers, doctors, lawyers yes, but I'm not convinced an average wage for a 21 year old is in the £20k's, although I could be wrong. Lots to look into which will keep us busy for a while. xx

  10. As someone who has worked as a university lecturer for many years I would say that I have taught many students who were there just because they thought they should be, that going to 'uni' was a rite of passage but who often had very little passion for their subject. Simply that university was the default option after A levels. I stress I am not suggesting Amy thinks like this.

    The debt has to be worth it. I seemed to spend a lot of time in recent years reminding students that they would likely be leaving with 50K + worth of debt so they needed to think about this every time they considered skipping a lecture or seminar, or not trying their best on an essay as it was only worth 20% of the course mark - again I am not suggesting Amy would be like this!

    I guess my point is that, sadly, university these days is very expensive so, more so than ever before, I think anyone considering going needs to really consider how passionate they are about wanting to go and how passionate they are about the subject they want to study.

    Don't ask me about the number of students I have taught (I teach English literature - specialising in Victorian literature) who complain about the amount of reading they have to do!!!

    Final caveat - I am not suggesting that any of the poor attitudes described above would apply to Amy!

    1. Thanks for your input from the other side of the fence MMC. I've always said they can only go to Uni if they're doing what I call a good degree or they need a degree for their career. Amy falls into the first category as she's not got a clue what she wants to do. She loves reading and has no problem with that side of things and I can honestly say she is 100% disciplined where studying is concerned, but she is totally directionless regarding jobs.

      I agree, the debt has to be worth it for her and this is what she's trying to weigh up at the moment. She's got her head screwed on and isn't prepared to do something just for the sake of it. To be honest she would be quids in just working a part-time job for 3 years rather than doing a degree for the sake of it.

      Not sure if you will read this but what careers do your students end up going into. Teaching springs to mind, but she really doesn't fancy that, so although it seems a good degree on paper, what sort of jobs could it lead you into? xx

    2. For those that have a plan then teaching is usually what you hear the most.

      It should be said that not all degrees have to be career focused, most employers are looking to see that a candidate has shown commitment. A good degree from a reputable university shows the ability to learn and to study. With a subject like literature, even if it is not directly related to a specific job choice, a good degree (I'm talking at the very least a 2:1) it would indicate a good command of the English language, the ability to read and evaluate written texts and the ability to produce reasoned, evidence-based written arguments. These are good transferable skills.

      So a degree in English Literature doesn't need to lead to a job teaching English - although obviously it lends itself to this quite nicely(!) - but any degree not directly job related needs to be a very good degree to demonstrate the transferable skills mentioned above.

      The civil service, in which the options are many and varied, still remains a route for many of those who come to university with a focus of where their choice of study might open doors for them.

    3. Yes, I agree. A degree in English or English Lit can open up many opportunities career wise, not just teaching.
      Further to my comment above, our eldest son chose not to go to university after his A levels. Instead he got a job at junior level, the firm paid for all his training and exams in accountancy and 7 years or so later he's now a chartered accountant with no student debt and a great career that's well paid.

    4. You've made some good points there MMC and being able to show an employer that you can apply yourself can only be a positive. From what people have said it sounds as though it's not unusual for students not to know what they want to do which is good to know.

      The thing about teaching is that although it wouldn't be her choice at the moment who knows what she'll think in 4 years times or even in years to come.

      There is a lot to consider and only Amy can make the decision but I want to try and get as much 'honest' information for her as I can rather than her go into it blindly, not complete what she's started, not be able to get a job because it could be considered a 'nothing' degree or regret 'wasting' 3 years which is why I'm asking for opinions - so thank you for replying. xx

    5. English Lit is one that I would consider 'good' Mrs but I don't know anything about them so it's good to get people's views on it.

      I think if Amy knew what she wanted to do she would probably be more than happy to get a job that supported her with some further education but as she doesn't, this is where it all becomes a bit uncertain. I can't see her going wrong with an English degree, I suppose like Philip said there are people with and without degrees working/not working. Nothing is guaranteed either way these days.

      You must be very proud of what you son has achieved, that's the route my nephew is about to go down, so it's nice to read your son has been extremely successful in his career. xx

  11. Rachel, I'd be really interested to hear what you have to say with Miss 22 leaving Uni last year and Mr 20 going down the apprenticeship route. Thanks :) xx

  12. My daughter has just done her first year at Cardiff uni (Eng Lang & Lit joint honours) - £9k tuition fees loan and about £8.5k living costs loan - and that's just for one year.... multiply that by 3 and she'll have over 50k of student loans at 21.... (we're also now looking at unis for son no 1 - 5 years in medicine - argh!)
    Daughter looked at around 7 unis, from memory - Leeds, Cardiff, UWE (in Bristol), Newcastle, Worcester, Swansea and Chester. Happy to try and answer any questions on these if I can :)

    1. ETA - she's not planning on teaching (although knows it could be a back up option if needed)

    2. Thank you so much for commenting Mrs G. and giving me figures as well. I've learned so much in 48 hours from people taking the time to reply, not least it will cost double what I initially thought and she will come out with a lot of debt!

      Amy's best friend has a brother at Cardiff, he's just finished his second year and he loves it. She's going to look at York, Leeds and is thinking about Worcester, but I have a feeling she'll go up rather than down the country, if she goes that is. She was interested in Chester but said it didn't do English Literature as a main subject? I've not checked yet so unsure if she's looked in the right place or got muddled with another one, she's looked at that many.

      Do you mind me asking if the £8.5K covered your daughter's accommodation, bills and food or was it just for the rent and did you also have to find money for the other stuff?

      Having 2 at university would give me nightmares - you don't do things by halves :) If Amy does go by the time she's finished Thomas will be just going into Year 11 and then will do 2 years at college so we'll have some breathing space.

      I have to say since finding out how much it costs I can fully understand why all students vote Labour with their promise of free education! xx

    3. Apologies for the delay in replying! Chester does do a BA (Hons) in Eng Lit according to here -
      Eng Lit degrees can lead to work in publishing, media, finance (some jobs just want graduate entrants - there's not a requirement for a specific degree), research. Eng Lit can also be a popular choice for those who enter the legal profession - obviously with further training/ qualifications. A good degree will show the ability to read, write reports etc. Eng Lit can be a stepping stone to lots of things - but so many think it's just for teaching :(
      My friend's daughter is off to York to do Eng Lit in Sept - fab place.

      8.5K covered all of her rent/ food/ books etc. She had the occasional extra bit of cash given to her by my mum and we always sent her back with lots of provisions (and paid for the shopping for the first week) We also bought (as did friends and family) gift cards for places like C0sta, Nand0s, Waterst0nes and clothes shops (like New L00k) etc as Xmas/ birthday presents so she could go shopping without really spending her student loan. Accom in halls (ensuite room) was about £111 a week (covered all utilities and wifi) which is a good price. She also managed to not get a job and still have money left. Lots of free/ cheap things to do for students in Cardiff - cinema was £3, for instance.

      (If son number 1 does medicine (for 5 or 6 year), as he finishes or is in last year son number 2 (same age as Thomas) will likely be starting - and 3 years later we may have son number 3 go.... who knows what will happen that far ahead!)

      What makes me cross is the difference within the UK - students from Wales only pay £3k tuition fees wherever they study, and for those from Scotland it's free if they go to a Scottish university. I struggle to see why it's achievable there and not in England...:(


    4. Yes, I did wonder about Chester not doing Eng Lit, it seemed strange. I think she's got mixed up with somewhere else. She loves writing so I can see her going into something media based in which case it would be a good degree to have although I confess I'm one of those people who automatically thinks 'teacher'.

      The figures are really helpful and thank you for being so open about them. If £8.5k covers rent, food and books with just a few add ons here and there then that sounds OK. And the tip about gift cards is really good - probably wouldn't have thought of that. If they did a gift card for Greggs and the £1 shop she'd be fine :)

      Goodness, 4 children that may want to go to University and yet you come across as having a totally calm, matter of fact approach to it all, which makes me think maybe I don't need to be worrying about this as much as I am.

      I don't understand why Wales and Scotland have so many benefits in education and health either. It's not that I begrudge them having it, but we're supposed to a 'United Kingdom' and its making fish of one and fowl of another in my book. Amy, bless her, wanted to go to Edinburgh - she just fancied living there - and her selling point to us was "it's free" until we explained that wouldn't be the case for her.

      Thank you so much for all the information. It's been really helpful and is very much appreciated. xx

  13. First of all, best wishes to Amy in her search for her university and I hope, once she has narrowed them down to a few, she gets accepted to all of them including the one that is her number 1 preference, so she has the option of choice!

    I happen to believe that a university degree is important. Having a degree doesn't automatically mean that one will get a good, well-paying job (when I graduated with my Master's, there were very few jobs in my field of study due to budget cuts and I worked in a non-related field that didn't require a degree for several years), but, I think it does work in ones favor over the long run.

    When my daughter went to university, she wanted to attend universities only within the state (although I made her apply to a couple of out of state ones, as well). She chose to attend UCLA as it was closest to home. Tuition and fees, for each academic year, came to around $12,000 (approx. $4,000 per quarter for the 3 quarters of Fall, Winter, and Spring, that made up the regular academic year; summer classes were extra). That did not include the cost of books (which averaged around $500 per quarter, for her). It also didn't include room and board. If she lived in the dorms on campus and paid for the meal plan, then, that was an additional $15,000 per academic year! If she lived off campus in rental housing, with roommates, etc., then, that cost might have been a little less, but not by much, since rents tend to be high near the campus. She lived at home and I drove her to campus and back every day. It meant a 2 hour commute, each way, for me as it was a 1 hr. drive from home to campus and then, another 1 hr. drive from campus to my office. Occasionally, she took public transit home, but it meant 2 buses and a subway ride and took almost 3 hours.

    I paid for her tuition and fees and books, etc., as I didn't want her to get a loan. After the first quarter, she found part-time jobs on campus, to help pay for extras and a little spending money. Eventually, she juggled 3 part-time jobs and worked about 30 hrs. per week, in addition to carrying a full load of coursework units. She changed her majors half-way through (she was originally going to do Biology) and majored in something called Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics (all one major) and minored in Asian Studies with a specialization in Japanese (she wanted to learn Japanese so she could read her Manga in Japanese! LOL.)

    When she applied for her masters, she narrowed her choice to 3 campuses, all within the University of California system, as they were the only ones that offered the course she was interested in, which was Epidemiology. She was accepted at 2 of them and we decided she should go to Berkeley. They operated under the semester system, and each semester cost a little over $12,000 for tuition and fees. She didn't get on-campus housing as they had no vacancies, so we found her an off-campus apartment - a single/studio apartment (no separate bedroom) for almost $2,000; rents are astronomical in the Bay Area. Again, I didn't want her to go into debt and get a loan, so I paid for it all. She did part-time jobs throughout to pay for her personal expenses, including groceries. In her case, the summer intern job she did as part of her required coursework led to a part-time job during her second year of studies and to a job offer even before she graduated (with a masters in Epidemiology and Biostatistics). It is where she's working currently; the initial one year contract was renewed for another year and they gave her a merit-based raise; it is just enough to cover her rent increase, so she's very pleased. :)

    1. Thank you Bless. We are going to look at one in York in a few weeks and no doubt a few others as well.
      What you say about a degree makes sense. It is something she will always have and be able to rely on should a job that requires one arise. And as somebody else has already stated it shows you can apply yourself - as long as you get a good result that is!
      A 2 hour commute twice a day is a lot of driving, you are a very dedicated Mother. But if the long term goal was for your daughter to leave university without any debt then I can fully understand you choosing to do that. We are, if I'm honest, a little disappointed that she won't consider anywhere in Greater Manchester. There are some really good Univerisities here but Amy has always wanted to fly the nest and there is no talking her out of moving away. If that's her decision even after all the financial aspects have been discussed then she will just have to pay for the privilege.
      I'm glad Amy has found a part time job because she's building up experience and can say she's worked which she will certainly need to do if she does go to Uni to cover all the little extras she needs. Your daughter sounds a remarkable young lady with a great understanding of the value of money and education. She also sounds very bright - I shall have to look up qualifications after I've replied to you! You should be very proud of her and I know you are. Your DD and Amy sound very similar. There is an English Lit course with Japanese added on which she's really intersted in. As odd as it sounds I won't dissuade her from doing this because who knows, she could end up teaching abroad although I doubt very much she will be fluent in Japanese within 3 years!
      What is a semester system? At $12,000 it sounds terribly expensive but all the hard work, determination and expense has obviously paid off if it has led to DD getting a good job. I was really pleased to read her contract had been re-newed although I wish companies wouldn't do these short contracts. It's hard to plan very far in advance and a year passes by so quickly.
      Do you mind me asking if you put money away for college for DD from when she was very young. I know it's something a lot of families do over the pond, probably not so much over here, although to be fair it didn't cost anywhere near what it does now, plus not having gone to Uni I didn't realise what would be expected financially. Matthew and Sophie talk about a Uni fund quite often for Sienna and I can understand why now. Even if she doesn't go down that route it would be a nice amount of money to have saved for her.
      Thank you for replying. It's made very interesting reading and I think there probably aren't that many differences these days in that if you go to University you need to be prepared to put the work in because it doesn't come cheap. xx

    2. Suzanne, to be quite honest, I didn't have a special savings account earmarked for her higher education, although I did open an individual retirement account for myself which could have been used for her education without paying a penalty for early withdrawal from the account. Instead, I just saved where I could by living very much under my means and put it all into a savings account, available to fund her higher education as needed.

      A semester system has two terms of school - a Fall semester and a Spring semester; semesters are longer than quarters.

    3. That's amazing to be able to fund your daughter through college by cutting your cloth as it were. For DD to leave Uni without any debt really is an amazing gift to give her although I know she also worked really hard at jobs while she was studying.

      Amy understands the American education system much better than me. She sometimes skypes a friend she met on a writing forum who lives in New York so no doubt they swap information :) xx

  14. Hello,

    I am nearly 40 and I still dont know what I want to be when I grow up.

    One of my nieces went to a uni close enough to drive. The uni worked it so they only had 2 full days at lectures so the students could work and study. She studied I think it is called pure maths. She only had to pay for the tuition fees and petrol. She is now an accountant and making good money. As the family all chipped in for books etc she came out with only £11k debt. This is completely because she stayed home and commuted.

    Niece number 2 did english and media working towards journalism. She went away to uni. She had a full time job at the same time as the rent on her accomodation was so high. The family all chipped in on books etc same as the above. She came out of uni, worked for 2 years in her "dream" job. She hated it. And she had £43k of debt. it was a real wake up call.

    After much soul searching she decided to do a PGCE. She loves teaching. Her friend from the PGCE course teaches in Qatar and save over £20k last year and is hoping to teach over there for another 3 years. My Niece is thinking of going there also.

    My cousin graduated last year. he did English literature, loved the course. He was lucky enough to get into a graduate programme at a wealth management company. He loves it. He has just under £50k of debt. (We were talking about all of this the other day hence I know what debt they had.) His 2 brothers also did English lit, this was before the fees were £9k per annum. I think they were about £4k for tuition fees at that time. Rent was astronimical and one had mushrooms growing in the bathroom. They both came out with nearly £30k of debt. First one went into a publishing house and the other did a graduate programme, found his love of numbers at a wealth management company and trained as an actuary. he describes it to me as "you know the film along came polly. I'm Ruben". He adores his job, so much so he has gone to a job in the USA to do it. He earns big money.

    The foreign office is always looking for good people and you can travel with it.

    Maybe look at it from another perspective, can she afford not to go to uni and not have a degree when so many have them and would be going after the same jobs? Also, if things dont get better post Brexit, most other countries their requirement for immigration is to have a degree, or at least that degree give you enough points on its own to go, with out having the $250k required for say Canada for a start up visa...

    I wish I had gone to Uni. But I know people who are in their early 20's who are doing apprenticeships with wealth management companies in all areas from HR to investment managers.

    I am not sure if this helps in anyway, its a huge decision. Do you get to speak to students at the Uni's you visit on thier open days?

    1. Hi Sol :) Haha, yes sometimes I say to Mark it's about time we grew up so I know where you are coming from!

      Thank you for taking the time to reply, what you've said is really helpful especially being pointed in another direction of the foreign office and working abroad. All good things to think about and routes to investigate.

      If Amy chooses to go to Uni she is dead set on moving away - she sees it as part and package of going but there are personal concerns about doing this at the moment that she recognises but she still seems set on that being the only route she wants to go down. My concern is her not being close enough to the family if/when she needs us. This isn't from my point of view but hers. I think if she was nearer to us it would be better all round so she can come home if she needs to, otherwise I can see worse happening ie. having to come home permanently.

      From what people have said and you've certainly backed this up, the financial element is pretty much what you make it depending on the decisions you take about location, jobs, travel etc. She's recently started a part time job and finally seems to be truly understanding the value of money now she's earning it herself so maybe nearer the time she will re-think the money aspect and if there is a cheaper way of doing it she may well go for that. She's pretty astute where money is concerned so her blase attitude of coming out with £50k of debt for the sake of moving away is very unusual.

      Your family sums up what life is all about really and thank you for sharing their stories. Sometimes everything falls into place, more often than not you think you're on the track, only to find out that you were way off the mark.

      I can't see her getting an apprenticeship even though she'd like one because she doesn't know what she wants to do, but if she doesn't get one then you're right, there are so many graduates out there with good degrees that not having one and not knowing what she wants to do is definitely not the way to go.

      Everything that has been said is really helpful. We're trying to find out from the horses mouth as it were how it's panned out for people who have been there and done it, rather than it being sold to us. I'm hoping some students will be around to speak to when we visit York but I'm not sure. It would probably be more helpful speaking to them than the tutors.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. It really is appreciated. xx

    2. Forgot to say my Aunt (my boy cousins Mum), is an English teacher at a grammar school hence they all did english. There is also a thought that she has many ex students that have said they did english or journalism and have then ended up working for the BBC, another as a producer of films and had done script editing before that, one who professionally writes speeches for anything from a company CEO to a politicians spin doctor... there was also one who is a scaffolder! lol

      I came back to read your reply really, but it fired everyone up in my family (bit of a crisis at home, but all on the mend now). And them all being there to show support we all got talking and I am the only one in my family who hasnt been to uni. Its really interesting what they all think. What they think of the debt. And then one thing came out, something my Nan used to say, "there is good debt and there is bad debt. Debt to get education or tools for your trade along with a house mortgage - good debt. A car just enough to get to your new job - good debt.

      A holiday to a far flung place, a night out, a new dress when you have 20 in the cupboard a flash car - bad debt."

      ps congratulation to Thomas for his good exam results recently

    3. Thanks Sol, Thomas was really pleased with how he did. There was a point when I thought he wouldn't even be able to sit them because he used to get so worked up so it was a win win situation all round:)

      Glad to hear the crisis is over, it's funny what you talk about when family comes together isn't it. Amy loves writing so I can see her going into something media based but quite what she doesn't know. I have to keep reminding myself she's only 17 and these days they don't seem as grown up as we did at their age either.

      I can definitely see your Nan's point of view. We've had good debt but I have to hold my hand up and admit there's been plenty of bad debt as well. If we wanted something in our younger days we just got it, but I think a lot of people have probably done the same - she says hoping she's not the only one who has spent foolishly in her life lol. xx