Why are my needs being judged based on my parents’ income?

What happens when my parents can’t give me £3,700 a year


All the talk about the cost of university is whether fees will go up to over £9,000, and looking back to when it only cost £3,000. But what we don’t talk about enough, is how unfair maintenance loans can be.

The gap between those who get maximum and minimum is up to £3,700. So those on minimum loan have to make up the difference in order to cover living costs with rent, bills, food, and books which can cost up to and over £50 if your library doesn’t have it.

The maximum you can get is £7,000. But the way this is judged doesn’t work out. Lots of people receive the minimum loan and little to no financial aid from their family. These calculations never take into account how much your parents can actually afford to give you when they might be paying off a mortgage or supporting siblings through school or university as well.

Trying to count all the money you don’t have

The minimum loan should at least cover the cost of basic living costs for a start. I’m not saying that everyone should get the same, but I shouldn’t have to work 20 hours a week on top of university because my parents earn a little more money. When the minimum loan doesn’t cover the rent of non-en suite halls that were built in the 50’s then something is wrong.

More to the point, how does what my parents earn have any relation to me? The government’s assumed that I will be getting cash from my parents, but that’s simply not the case. Have you judged the other commitments my parents have? Are we not adults now, who should be able to fend for ourselves?

There are people at uni who can afford to keep a car and shop at Waitrose when they come back from their holiday abroad, because their parents are retired doctors or architects. They get the full loan all paid for by Student Finance. Then there are those of us who are stuck cycling everywhere because we can’t afford to pay the gas bill on top of rent this month. Is that not a sign of a broken system?

You’re supposed to learn how to manage your finances at university, but this appears to only apply to some and not others, when some of us have no finances to manage thanks to Student Finance. How is anyone supposed to learn money management in the first place when the money you’re managing constantly has a minus sign in front of it?

University is a time when students try to carve out some independence from their families. It seems strange then that this opportunity isn’t universally applied. More to the point, why are those belonging to higher income families being effectively punished for their family’s income.

Being forced to be reliant on daddy’s money at uni defeats the whole point of leaving home and the only way to fix this has to be to raise the minimum amount.