35% of grandparents – around 4.9 million people – have already helped or are planning to help fund their grandchildren through university, according to equity release specialist Key’s latest nationwide study.
Around 15% of grandparents say they have already contributed and another 20% are planning to help over the next 10 years, Key’s research found. It’s not just grandchildren being helped – around 6% of over-55s homeowners will help nieces, nephews and godchildren.
Most are using their cash savings to support students but a growing number, around 11%, are looking at accessing property wealth for this purpose through downsizing, selling other properties, remortgaging and equity release.
Graduates are estimated to leave university with average debts of £50,000 which they will start repaying once they earn above £25,725. The government lends more than £16 billion a year through the Student Loans Company and more than £121 billion of loans are currently outstanding.
But most students will not need to repay the Bank of Gran and Grandad – Key’s research found 79% of grandparents regard the cash as a gift while 18% expect students to only repay some of the money. Just 3% expect their money back.
The table below shows where the Bank of Gran and Grandad is finding the money to help students from.
|WHERE THE MONEY COMES FROM||PERCENTAGE|
|Selling other properties||2%|
|Unsecured personal loan||2%|
Will Hale, CEO at Key, said: “The over-55s are a generous generation with many looking to help their loved ones, especially when it comes to something as important as education. The cost of higher education can seem daunting with students leaving university with average debts of £50,000 as well as their degrees.
“While some of these student loans will eventually be written off, many successful graduates will find that they are using their hard earned cash from their early years of employment to make these payments rather putting aside money for their first home or other long term goals.
“Retired homeowners are mainly using savings to help fund university fees but are also turning to their property wealth using alternatives such as equity release to support families.
“When making any significant financial decisions good specialist advice is key to ensuring older homeowners use their property wealth in the best way to support their own needs and aspirations and those of their families.”