There is no getting away from the fact that bringing up children is expensive. Just paying for their daily needs can cost a lot of money, but if you want them to go to university or if they want to go, then you will have additional costs. It is worth understanding what help you can get with the costs of university and then plan how you will be able to help out financially as well.
Student loans are set up by the government to help address the cost of university. Every student can borrow enough to cover their course fees for up to four years. They can also have some money towards living expenses but this is means tested, so better off households will not get so much money. The minimum amount loaned is not enough to cover rent and food so parents will have to help out unless the student has savings or can do a part-time job to cover those extra costs. The loans repayments are also means tested and start once the graduate is earning over a certain amount and is taken out of salary directly through taxation. This means that the students only pay back what they can afford and at present after thirty years any remaining balance is cancelled. These rules could change though as the government is in charge of them and tends to tweak them frequently.
Student Grants and Bursaries
There are grants and bursaries available for some students. Sometimes universities have these available for students on certain courses, some are offered by the government and some of for those from low-income backgrounds. It is worth looking into these and applying for everything that might be available to get extra money.
Students are very likely to need parental help with finances. It is important to give help in two ways though. You should make sure that they know how to spend wisely and more importanlyt how to budget. They will get money in a lump sum and they will need to make sure that they do not spend it all at once and then leave themselves nothing for later on. Therefore, teaching them how to calculate how much they have available to spend and how to make sure that they spend it only on necessities is important. Leading by example can be a good way of teaching but when they get to university age, they may no longer want to listen to advice from parents. Therefore, it might be a good idea to give them a book or direct them to a website where they may be more likely to take the ideas on board.
Even if they budget well, they may just not have enough money to manage. It is extremely likely that parents will have to help out, particularly if the student does not get the full loan. This means that you will need to find the money from somewhere. While they have been living at home you will have been feeding them and so this money that you have been paying out, you will no longer need to when they move out of home. You could give them that money and they will be able to use it to feed themselves. However, they may need more than this and it could be a good idea for you to start saving up long before they start university.
Some parents start a savings account or a trust find for their children when they are born. Even putting a small amount in this each month will add up and they will be able to use that towards university. You will not know at this young age, whether they are going to university or not, but the money will help them regardless as they will eventually need to move out and will need a deposit on a home or they might want to learn to drive and get a car and the money will be useful for that. This is just one way that you could help them though.
Some parents put aside money instead of giving the kids pocket money or even save the child benefit up to give to them when they are older. It is also worth teaching and encouraging children about saving as money they receive for gifts can be put aside for this purpose. It may seem a long way away when they are very young but it is surprising how quickly time passes and what a difference saving like this can make. This may not be possible for lower income families, but children from lower income families will be able to borrow more from the student loan.