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Divorce settlement and student finance questions

My husband and I are divorcing. If we stayed together our joint income would have been over £125k/year, however my lone income is £20k/year (plus maintenance, which is still to be agreed).

Our son wants to go to university in 2018 and judging by his predicted results in his GCSEs he should be able to achieve that wish. Our divorce settlement is still to be agreed and my solicitor is asking me to include university fees. I don't know how much his fees will be and wondered if is better to ask for a lump sum for this for the future but would this preclude him from applying for any grants or bursaries?

I think due to his father's far larger income than mine he should be making a contribution to his fees. If you cannot answer this question could you point me in the direction of an organisation who may be able to help please?
Answered by Alison Patterson
Hi Bev,

Tuition fees in most universities are currently about £9,000pa. A loan can be obtained from the UK Government to pay the fees upfront, but this will have to be paid back by your son after graduation. It is possible to pay-as-you-go for the cost of university education out of income, but of course this would be from the parent's income whereas the loan repayments would be the future liability of your son.

Remember that there are two aspects to the cost of a university education:
- the tuition fees (the cost of the course itself)
- the living costs (accommodation, food, books, clothes and all other general expenses)

Most university websites give an indication of the cost of living. As a general guide, hall of residence accommodation will probably cost around £5,000pa at the moment depending on room type, whether food is included and in which city the university is located.

Look at the Direct Gov website for summary information at:


For information about what loans your son will be eligible for (based on today's figures), go to:


Will your son apply for student loans using your income or his father's? This will determine how much student finance he is entitled to and whether it will cover all his university costs. If student finance from the Government does not cover all his costs and your income does not allow it, a parental contribution will be required by your husband.

This is all based on current circumstances. It's difficult to know what the future will look like, but it would be very sensible to build into any forward financial planning a component for university costs.

If you'd like to talk to Student Finance England about this contact them using the details on this page:

I hope this helps!


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