University: The £53,330 question

university fees

university feesA new study looking into the costs of going to university suggests that a teenager leaving home next month will face £53,330 worth of debt by the time they graduate.

Just three years down the line - and upon entry into the jobs market - young adults will be saddled by crippling debts, due to a combination of record-high tuition fees and rising costs associated with food, travel and accommodation.

The LV= study makes for grim reading for those of us whose not-so-little ones are edging ever closer to fleeing the nest, and many families are having to think twice before settling on a decision on their children's future.

Astonishing debts

The major factor contributing towards the horrifying predicted figure is the well-documented rise in the limit universities can set for tuition fees, to £9,000.

LV= claims the average being charged for next year is £8,770 - so working on that figure, the majority of universities will be receiving around £26,310 from one student for a three-year course.

It also anticipates that a conservative £4,300 will be splashed out on food during that time, with accommodation adding a further £12,500 to the debt pile.

And this is before other essentials such as books, household utility bills and travel expenses are even taken into account.

University research site claims the average arrears a student who graduated this year was left with was nearer the £23,000 mark - as the maximum limits for fees had not yet come in.

Financial commitment

LV= head of protection Mark Jones said: "The huge cost of attending university makes it a massive financial commitment either for parents or students themselves.

"Because of the increasing cost, some parents may find that despite having saved for this stage in their children's lives, they are uncertain whether it will be enough to cover the cost of attending university."

In fact, only a fifth of parents questioned who currently have kids under the age of 18 say they plan to foot the whole bill should their child choose the university route, with 28% opting to foot only part of the bill.

A worrying 21% expect their offspring to head off to university but admit they haven't a clue where the money will be coming from.

Plan as best you can

With such astronomical costs just around the corner, many families are primed for a complete overhaul of their family budget.

Assessing your best savings options will be key, as will discussing the matter with financial advisers and, of course, speaking with your peers in similar scenarios.

"Although the cost of university may seem daunting for parents, discussing their financial situation with a professional adviser can make a big difference," Mr Jones continued.

"If parents are planning on helping their children cover the cost of university, it is wise not only to look at the savings they expect to have in place, but also discuss the need for life cover and income protection which can provide invaluable financial security for families should circumstances change."