How much to budget for UK 3-year degree?

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How much to budget for UK 3-year degree?

Postby newbie1979 » Sun May 26, 2013 10:38 pm

Hello everyone,

My son wants to do a law 3-year degree in UK after his A level this year. Assuming he gets in a place in university in one of these like UCL, LSE, Warwick and Nottingham, I understand London living cost will be higher. How much does do I need to budget for -

a. tuition fee
b. living costs
c. any other cost.

Thank you.

newbie1979
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Re: How much to budget for UK 3-year degree?

Postby insider » Mon May 27, 2013 12:25 am

Below are the approximate sums of my daughter (Science) in London (in pounds):

First Year

Fees
18000

School Dorm with breakfast, dinner and housekeeping (9 months, Single Room, Shared Toilet with another room)
7100

Grocery / Food / Transport / Phone Bills / Entertainment
300 x 9 months = 2700

Total = 27800 pounds

Above exclude airtickets but incl the several trips she made to Spain, Italy, Paris, and one more (can't remember) during her breaks (usually a group of them traveled together and staying in 10 pounds/night dorm, backpacker-style).

She is coming back for Jun holidays soon and I still have about 2500 pounds in the bank after my first transfer of 30,000 pounds into her account (meaning for first year, she spent about 27,500 pounds, incl of everything such as buying of a printer, etc).

Her second year budget:

Fees
19500

Single Room in a shared-apartment (12 months)
9360

Grocery / Food / Transport / Phone Bills
450 x 12 = 5400

Total = 34,260

Second year I will not give her any budget for travelling and entertainment coz she will work on weekends as a salesperson (making about 6 pounds / hour).

PS: She lives comfortably with above allowance. Her Jun - Sep holidays will be interned in Spore at S$600/month. She plans to have second year internship in London itself and therefore she looks for 12-month tenure for her second year accommodation (lease usually signed with either 9 months or 12 months or 24 months tenure there. 9-month tenure tends to fetch higher weekly rate than 12-month and so it's very challenging to try to match).

PS2: She is not a scholar but ALL her close female peers are scholars. ALL these scholars want to have single room and so she can't find anyone to share room with and have to take on a single room herself which both of us feel is unnecessary expenses. As scholars' accommodation charges are highly (if not fully) subsidised, ALL her peers go for single room. (meaning if your child can find someone to share room, the accomodation cost can drop quite a lot if she is not going there under scholarship). Her new accommodation is within walking distance to school and so rent is very expensive, meaning further away is much cheaper but then have to factor in transport charges, travel time, discomfort of moving around in bitter winter, etc...

Hope above info is helpful to your planning...

Note: numbers edited. Roughly first year to budget about S$60,000 and second year S$70,000.

insider
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Re: How much to budget for UK 3-year degree?

Postby newbie1979 » Tue May 28, 2013 11:39 am

Thanks for the useful information. I guessed we'll need at least 32k sterling pounds each year.

One other question - since the pounds to sing-dollar exchange rate is good now (it has gone up but still better than 2.2 earlier), do you suggest open a pound currency savings account?

We can then remit the money to him yearly?

Thank you.

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Re: How much to budget for UK 3-year degree?

Postby insider » Tue May 28, 2013 8:04 pm

newbie1979 wrote:
One other question - since the pounds to sing-dollar exchange rate is good now (it has gone up but still better than 2.2 earlier), do you suggest open a pound currency savings account?

We can then remit the money to him yearly?

Thank you.


Prior to my daughter flying off, I opened a joint account with her with HSBC (HSBC Advance account).

This account you need to have minimum $20,000 deposit with them (can be in other structural products or cash).

Then, they will help you to open an HSBC account in London together with your Spore local accounts. So, when your child reaches there, the account is oredi opened and he can use straight away with all the ATM / Debit Card and internet gadget, etc.

This account enables you to deposit S$ into your S$ account, then transfer to your pounds account, then transfer from Singapore to the London account. So, you can transfer as and when you want (think no charges if transfer from Singapore pounds account to London pounds account though not sure whether got minimum sum as and when you want).

You may want to study this account coz it is very troublesome for students to open an account there in person (probably have to wait for a month and meaning during that month, have to hold whatever cash in hand. The cash can be a lot if it is required to pay for dorm charges if you are not going to TT the money or buy a bank draft over, etc. My daughter used her debit card to pay for her dorm charges which is a few thousand pounds).

HSBC will give you preferential rate if the transfer from S$ to pounds amount is minimum S$30,000, otherwise, will be at board rate. When I transferred my 30,000 pounds, I compared the rates between money changer and HSBC preferential rate, they were comparable.

PS: I dont speculate in anything including currency. My gut feel has been S$ will get stronger and so I don't bother to 'hoard' and will just buy as and when the need arises (like this coming Sep I will buy 35,000 pounds and then transfer to my daughter's HSBC account at one go instead of buying them now.)

PS2: It also takes about 3 to 4 weeks for both the accounts in Spore and London to be opened and all the internet banking stuff to be in order when you open the HSBC Advance account in Spore . So, dont do it last minute.

PS3: HSBC ATM machines can be found almost like everywhere in London. So, don't worry about machines in ulu ulu places that are inconvenient...

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Re: How much to budget for UK 3-year degree?

Postby Coolkidsrock2 » Tue May 28, 2013 8:34 pm

It will be best to stay in the dorm. Homeowners are cautious about renting to students and some of them are asking for up to 6 months deposit. Sometimes, they may build in clauses in the tenancy such as annual rental increment of X% over inflation rate.

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Re: How much to budget for UK 3-year degree?

Postby Quintessential Mum » Thu May 30, 2013 1:52 pm

Thanks for the information! It is most helpful. :D

How about the financial guarantee? Do they need all 4 years? By the way, did your daughter face any adjustment problems when she moved to the UK?

Thanks!!

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Re: How much to budget for UK 3-year degree?

Postby insider » Thu May 30, 2013 8:24 pm

Quintessential Mum wrote:Thanks for the information! It is most helpful. :D

How about the financial guarantee? Do they need all 4 years? By the way, did your daughter face any adjustment problems when she moved to the UK?

Thanks!!


Hi Q Mum,

Errrr...dont need financial guarantee leh.

In her visa application, one of the documents required I remember is have to show a bank statement under sponsor's name to have minimum amount of first year expenses but during her visa interview, she was not asked to produce that documents (which was prepared).

It was smooth sailing for her with no adjustment problems. I flew with her on her first trip there coz too many things to carry and weight limit of 30 kgs can't really bring much and so I brought myself there to have additional 30 kgs (flew Emirate but SQ also allows 30 kgs if informed beforehand is a student or at airport counter, show them the student visa and they will take in 30 kgs). Then, we shopped around for plates and bowls, etc, to set up her dorm.

She was lucky coz she has a very good neighbour (also a Sporean girl) and two can click very well. So, she settled down very fast with ease after I left. Now she has a big clique who will travel to nearby places together.

She also has been dealing with the winter quite smoothly there (staying in dorm is an advantage plus her winter gears are good enough for her to weather the slippery roads and cold).

You don't worry too much coz kids are really stronger and smarter than what we imagine them to be...

PS: Just that the study and grading system is a bit different from here. May need to blur blur a bit first in the beginning then later know how then can score with the 'correct' method (not by hard regurgitation...)

PS2: Her neighbour shipped most of her stuff there. Warn you first, it takes about 2 months for the cartons to reach there. So, don't pack things that need to be used daily inside those cartons else really have to wait till neck long long if you intend to ship...(another friend expecting a present to be airmailed to him but it NEVER arrives somehow...)

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Re: How much to budget for UK 3-year degree?

Postby Quintessential Mum » Fri May 31, 2013 11:35 am

Thanks a bunch insider!! You are so helpful.

True, cost of living in London is expensive. What is your daughter studying and how long will she be in the UK?

I am so glad to know that she settled down quickly and is happy there. :smile:

I have heard that there is a strong drinking/partying/drug abuse culture there and the kids can easily be tempted. This is a cause for concern.

By the way, does she come home once a year or every term?

Thank you once again! Have an awesome day!

Cheers

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Re: How much to budget for UK 3-year degree?

Postby insider » Fri May 31, 2013 3:25 pm

Quintessential Mum wrote:
I have heard that there is a strong drinking/partying/drug abuse culture there and the kids can easily be tempted. This is a cause for concern.

By the way, does she come home once a year or every term?

Thank you once again! Have an awesome day!

Cheers



For first year, she is taking BioTechnology and then second year she will be changing to BioChemistry (under her professor's advice).

She is looking at obtaining a first class degree for her 3-year course, then with her first class, go direct into a PhD programme (about another 3 years) either in UK or back in Spore. Her interest is in research and if can’t do research due to whatsoever reasons, then as a Pharmacist with final plan as a lecturer (she is good in presentations). If she fails to obtain a first class, then will have to take another year of Masters before PhD.

Pertaining to ‘bad culture’, I guess this thing is like almost everywhere and therefore, this is where 家教 will come in. Even in her elite secondary girls school, there are lesbians, underaged pub drinking, pregnancy, etc issues. These are things that actually to me is good to expose kids to. A ‘good’ person is not really one who doesn’t do bad things but to me is one who can be among the bad things but still remain ‘pure’.

She had a 3-month internship in Manchester during her 3rd year poly and that time she also stayed in the dorm with shared toilet. Then, there would be people drinking and partying in the shared kitchen as well as making out in the toilet (at anytime of the day). So, those were just ‘eyes opener’ for her and I feel it would be up to her how she wants to use her logical reasoning to decide whether to participate in such activities.

In her current dorm, it’s more ‘proper’ coz she is in one of the more expensive dorms available where kids who party lesser will prefer (meaning other dorms may have more party culture). So, you may want to study ‘dorm culture’ if you are really concerned about ‘bad influence’. She chose that particular dorm (can’t really choose actually as one can put in the preferred but at the end is still subject to availability / balloting) coz she read that kids who stay in the norms are mostly ‘nerds’ and therefore environment is more quiet (which is true). If it is my son, he will be bored to death in that kind of environment and probably will choose the ‘most happening’ dorm and be the organizer of parties.

I am reading the three words - ‘easily be tempted’. I think we all understand our kids well, as to whether they can be easily tempted or not. Even for my playful son, I don’t think he will be easily tempted as I trust he knows how to draw a line between responsibility and play, and therefore, he is allowed to party as much as he wants. This is the ‘faith’ element that I have in him; sort of an ‘implied expectation’.

My daughter did all the research on her UK studies on own. She read about courses and charted her path. She presented to me the pluses and minuses of each university and later each dorm with respective cost. Her UCAS application etc was totally none of my business (largely coz I am not familiar with her course and therefore unable to advise and so better don’t 越帮越忙). I always feel it is important to let kids have ownership of such research instead of being spoon fed. (not that I don’t research at all but she has to do on her own and her reasoning must fit what I read myself, otherwise, we re-chart, etc).

Finally, maybe you want to fall back on the saying of “birds of a feather flock together” whereby usually human will ‘scan’ among the crowd and stick to people similar to themselves. So, if your child is the studious kind, he/she will tend to stick with peers of his/her kind (not sure your child is a girl or boy). I see my daughter's group travelling pix, all like 'same kind' ones...

PS: My daughter is more towards 宅女 type and so she thinks partying is a waste of time done by brainless people. Honestly, I am hoping that she will dress up more and party more instead of being so boring but cant really change her coz she is just so different from my son (one is 无静不欢, another one is 无闹不欢……)

PS2: This June she will be returning for her first summer break while taking a 3-month internship (need to be resourceful to get internship attachment here while she is still there. 'Must make things happen instead of waiting for things to happen' - a strong strategising concept I built into my kids since young <by being seemingly bo-chup about them as much as I can so that they will use their brains instead of being dependent> as this is a critical surviving skill).

I don't see she will be coming back for next summer break coz she is eyeing for another internship opportunity in UK itself. Those 2-weeks Christmas breaks are too short for her to come back and so I encourage her to go for short trips around coz cheaper and more fun than taking the long flight back to eat char kway tiao...


PS3: previewing my writing and shaking head on myself for being always so lo-soh! hahaha...

Have fun!

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Re: How much to budget for UK 3-year degree?

Postby Quintessential Mum » Fri May 31, 2013 7:24 pm

Thank you once again for your in depth analysis and thoughts! :D Your frank and honest accounts are most appreciated. It is good to know these things and also hear from someone who has experienced it first hand.

I share similar parenting views too. :) My daughter is like your daughter, enjoys learning very much and puts her best in everything she does. She is keen on a career in the academia sector too. Ha ha I have budgeted for 3 return air fares in a year! :)

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