Millions of grandparents to fund grand children’s university education as students continue to struggle with high tuition fees
article by Diane Shawe M.Ed AVPT
Around one in eight over 55s think they will need to contribute to fees of around £9,000 a year, with many dipping into their savings to help out their grandchildren when they go onto higher education.
Researchers found as people got older more expected to make a contribution, 10 per cent of those aged between 55 and 64 planning to help with funding, which increased to 15 per cent for the over 65s.
Around 637,456 students applied to university in 2013, compared with 618,247 in 2012, which suggests people could be using their families to help them pay fees.
Ucas reveals 4% increase in the number of applicants to UK universities despite slight decline in number of 18-year-olds according to the Guardian’s report in January 2014
The study of over 55s by Key Retirement Solutions found as many as one in eight grandparents – equivalent to 1.7 million over-55s – expect to have to pay towards their grand children’s university fees.
“The numbers of grandparents providing financial assistance for university tuition is set to rocket from current levels as the implications of the maximum £9,000 a year tuition fees become clear.
Young people from the worst-off areas in England are now almost twice as likely to apply to university as they were 10 years ago, according to the Ucas data.
But academics and policy experts said the buoyant figures masked some unhealthy trends, with wide gaps in participation and a worrying fall in the number of young men applying to university compared with women.
“With finances for the over-55s under strain from falling annuity rates and historically low savings rates taking on extra commitments requires careful thought and planning.”
Why online education will woo the person with the purse strings?
The higher-education model of lecturing, cramming and examination has barely changed for centuries. Now, three disruptive waves are threatening to upend established ways of teaching and learning.
Around the world demand for retraining and continuing education is soaring among workers of all ages. Globalization and automation have shrunk the number of jobs requiring a middling level of education. Those workers with the means to do so have sought more education, in an attempt to stay ahead of the labour-demand curve. In America, higher-education enrollment by students aged 35 or older rose by 314,000 in the 1990s, but by 899,000 in the 2000s.
So demand for education will grow. Who will meet it? Universities face a new competitor in the form of massive open online courses.
These digitally-delivered courses, which teach students via the web or tablet apps, have big advantages over their established rivals.
With low startup costs and powerful economies of scale, online courses dramatically lower the price of learning and widen access to it, by removing the need for students to be taught at set times or places.
This could eventually be the saving grace for lots of grandparents.