Up to two thirds of students are dropping out in the first year at some of the UK's biggest universities, according to recent reports. It’s an alarming number and the highest it’s ever been.
Students may decide to leave university for a variety of reasons - academic, personal, health or family related. But studies have found one of the main reasons behind student drop-out is the lack of access to financial support beyond student loans.
The universities minister, Jo Johnson, recently called for an urgent reassessment in the “value for money” of some courses, while the thinktank the Social Market Foundation reported those who do quit their course after a year could still leave with up to £20,000 in debts.
Supporting your child at university.
For parents, sending a child off to university can be bittersweet. The balance between letting them fly the nest and be independent, and wanting to continue to help and support them, whether emotionally or financially, is delicate. While there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution, it is possible to find a balance.
There are ways of encouraging and equipping them to manage their own wellbeing, from simple things like buying them a student cookbook and encouraging them to join clubs and societies, to ensuring they know what support and advice is on hand from the university itself.
Don't suffer in silence.
While workload varies from course to course, if they do have problems with their studies encourage them to talk to their personal tutors, and if stress or anxiety starts to become too much then charities such as Mind offer support specifically for students.
When it comes to budgeting, UCAS and the Money Advice Service have some excellent tips, and it’s important to encourage children to create a budget from the start of term and stick to it.
There are upsides - students are often entitled to discounts on all sorts of things thanks to their NUS card, from clothes at high-profile shops to food offers in restaurants and pubs. Many bus firms offer student travel passes and there is also the option of the Young Person’s Railcard.
Supporting students with healthcare costs.
But leisure and travel aside – what happens about students’ healthcare costs?
At 18 they are no longer eligible for free dental check-ups, for example, so everyday healthcare costs might increase - something they may not think about.
Add to that eye tests and glasses or contact lenses and the costs of maintaining their everyday health can soon mount.
While on average you’ll pay £47 for a tooth filling in the UK, our plans allow you to claim this money back and offer a way for you to support your children - but from a safe distance.
Importantly our Good4you plan also offers a 24-hour Counselling and Advice line which gives your children an outlet to address any other issues they may be facing when starting university. Let them know that if they start feeling it’s all too much they shouldn’t suffer in silence.
While the cost of university has risen in recent years, it is still important that we encourage young people to follow an academic passion, and adapting to university life is one of the most rewarding challenges.
The pressure on students has never been so great – so support has never been so important. Thankfully there is plenty of assistance available to help students through these challenges and enable them to thrive and achieve.
Download our guide on how you can support your child at university and find out more about how one of our plans can help.