Students relying on the bank of Gran and Granddad

New research by Which? University reveals that as many as three quarters (72%) of grandparents are providing financial support to help their grandchildren through university, while nearly all (95%) parents contribute.

In April 2015, Which? University surveyed over 1,500 Which? members about their experience of children or grandchildren preparing for or attending university. The research found that both generations are either helping out already or intend to provide  support with financing living expenses, gadgets, products, travel and accommodation. Grandparents contribute on average £146 per month, whilst parents cough up a hefty £363 per month.

According to the survey, half (50%) of parents and grandparents wanted to offer financial support to help their children or grandchildren avoid excessive debt after university, while almost half (47%) have a desire to invest in their future. More than a third (35%) of those surveyed said that their child or grandchild could not afford to go to university without their help.

The survey also revealed that most parents (87%) and over a third (36%) of grandparents with children or grandchildren going to university in the next five years, expect to be involved in helping them to think through their university and course choices.

Of those parents and grandparents who had already been through the university application process, a need for more information about typical cost of living when at university was the aspect of the application process most (30%) of those surveyed would have liked more help and information on. This was closely followed by information on the financial support available form universities, with 27% of those surveyed choosing this.

For those with children or grandchildren currently at university or having recently graduated, three quarters (76%) thought that the academic experience of their children or grandchildren had been good overall.

Alex Neill, Which? Director of Campaigns, said:

“It looks like choosing where and what to study is fast becoming a family affair, with not only parents, but now the majority of grandparents providing financial support for university.

“Making decisions on courses, universities and funding can be complex for everyone involved. Which? University offers free and independent advice to support students, parents and grandparents through the decision-making maze and make the process of choosing, applying and budgeting for university studies as simple as possible.”

Which? University has a free guide containing everything parent and grandparents need to support their child or grandchild when they’re applying to university. For more information please visit:

Notes to editors

  1. Which? University is a free and independent website to help students make more informed decision about higher education, featuring more than 30,000 courses and almost 300 universities and colleges to search and compare. It brings together facts and statistics from official sources including UCAS, the Higher Education Statistics Agency, the National Student Survey and Destination of Leavers of Higher Education survey. This is combined with real-life insight from students and the unbiased, expert analysis you’d expect from Which?.
  2. Which? University interviewed 1,598 Which? members, about their experiences of their child or grandchild at university. The base sample was made up of 676 grandparents and 953 parents. Respondents were selected based on if they had a child or grandchild currently at or in attendance at a university in the past two years or if they had a child or grandchild who is planning to go in the next five years. The survey was carried out between 16 April 2015 to 23 April 2015.
  3. Parents can download a free PDF copy of the Which? Parents’ Guide to University here:
  4. For more details on student finance and ‘what parents need to know’, visit:

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