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The bank of gran and grandad

By River Reporter Oct 17, 2013

Grandparents are more frequently funding their grandchildren's time at university


The bank of mum and dad has historically been a lifeline for students struggling to survive financially at university, but research has now found that help is available to many from the bank of gran and granddad.

Many students who are struggling with living costs are finding that their grandparents are the ones who are able to help where possible.

Kingston student Nilufer Guler, 21, said: “My grandmother helps me out with my rent sometimes when I can’t afford it. It also costs a lot to eat well, it will cost at least £30 weekly to eat properly, so she’ll always help me out with any shopping.”

Rising living costs

The research was carried out by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK), a leading think-tank on ageing and population change.

It was supported by Key Retirement Solutions who specialise in financial advice for retired people.

It found that around 360,000 grandparents have already contributed towards their grandchildren’s tuition fees and living costs which could rise to 1.7m over the next ten years.

Financially struggling 

Brian Reach from ILC-UK said: “This research reveals that grandparents are providing financial support to younger generations. For grandchildren, these transfers are likely arriving at a crucial transition point, impacting educational and housing opportunities.”

A report by the National Union of Students shows that student loans meet just over half of what is needed for living costs with the rest coming from other sources such as family, friends and jobs.

Rent and food prices are reported as increasingly rising faster than wages which leaves many students unable to afford to live solely on their student loans.


Miss Guler said: “I have a full loan and grant and I still need help because it’s really expensive living in London. Travelling alone is really expensive, I live in New Malden and I have to top up £15 to use the bus every week and that accumulates.”

General Secretary of the University and College Union, Sally Hunt, said: “Students without parents and grandparents who can afford to help out will find life at university even tougher. The government needs to ease the financial hardship faced by so many students to ensure more people have the chance to realise their full potential.”  

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