From education to employment


A third of students could not go to university without family’s financial support

Parents or family are the second biggest contributor to a student’s income, giving an average of £205 a month, according to the 2017 NatWest Student Living Index which surveyed 3,400 students from 35 universities.

With half a million students starting university this autumn (source. UCAS), each one could be facing a final debt of up to £57,000, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

As well as tuition fees, which now stand at up to £9250 per year in England, students face living costs of up to £790 a month, and are increasingly being forced to take part-time jobs or be supplemented by the bank of Mum and Dad to plug the difference. What’s more, parents are already contributing up to 27 per cent more than they were expected to last year due to changes in the maintenance loan system (source:

Graduate Beki Gowing’s parents re-mortgaged their house to support her and her sister through university. They also stopped taking holidays or eating out. “My final year was very stressful, and I don’t think I would have received a first if I’d had to worry about a term time part time job as well,” said Ms Gowing. “After university I joined a graduate scheme and now run my own company. I’m so grateful to my parents for being able to help me, and gave my parents my first bonus to thank them for their support.”

As well as parents, grandparents are increasingly stepping in to support a student’s education.   Which? reported that 72 per cent of grandparents are giving £146 a month on average to students, while 95 per cent of parents are giving financial support.

Alison MacGregor, from Kent, whose son, George, is going into his second year at the University of Portsmouth where he’s studying physics said: “The tuition loan covers George’s fees but the maintenance loan only covers his rent and not bills, food, books, going out etc.”

She continued: “We give George approximately £200 per month, and sometimes there are extras on top to cover books/equipment/clubs.  I also do a food shop delivery once a month. I know George worries about how he will cover all his expenses and also runs a large overdraft on his bank account, which we had hoped to avoid”.

A new shopping cashback scheme, Funds4Uni, which pays money directly toward a student’s university education launches today, the first of its kind in the UK.

The new scheme allows families to pool their online shopping cashback and raise extra funds to support their nominated student through university. If eight adults, perhaps parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and family friends, sign up to Funds4Uni, estimates they could raise around £860 a year doing their normal shopping and all without dipping into their own pockets.

Funds4Uni has been launched by, which has raised over £17 million for good causes, and The Scholarship Hub, a social enterprise helping UK students to find alternative funding opportunities, to provide a practical and easy way for families and friends to support a student’s studies, without affecting their own financial situation.

Funds4Uni can be used to raise funds even before a student has gone to university as well as after they have completed their course. All online purchases, made with one of the 3,288 shops linked to, generates a donation on the sale which, using Funds4Uni, would pay into the student’s personal account to go towards living expenses.

For example, a Waitrose or Sainsbury online shop could raise up to £1 per shop, and Amazon gives a 1.5 per cent donation on all purchases, which if someone makes a monthly purchase could generate approximately £40 over a year. Larger purchases, like booking a holiday could make around £25 in cashback if a P&O cruise was booked for instance (see Notes to Editors for more examples).

Students can sign up to the scheme via the new Funds4Uni website. Once their fundraising page is created, they simply share this with family and friends who can start raising for them the next time they buy online

Karen Kennard, founder of the Scholarship Hub, said: “It’s the day-to-day living expenses of university that students and families struggle with. The maintenance loans are based on parental income so the amount offered varies enormously between students and can cause significant financial problems if students feel unable to ask parents to make up the gap or if they simply can’t afford to.”

She continued: “Before a student’s even left home it costs around £200** to kit them out for independent living, then once arriving at university most will find that the majority of their loan will disappear in the first 100 days on expenses like accommodation, books and travel. Funds4Uni gives students an additional financial lifeline which could make the difference between some staying and leaving university.”

Louise Mulluck, CEO at, said: “Easyfundraising has over 1.3 million customers who shop to support over 114,000 registered good causes in the UK. Extending these services to allow students to directly benefit from cashback collected by their family networks is something we’re extremely proud to be associated with. With the growing costs associated with going to university, we know that Funds4Uni in partnership with the Scholarship Hub will make a real difference to a young person’s future.”

How Funds4Uni Can Raise Over £800 a Year for a Student

Groceries – weekly

  • Sainsbury’s – £0.50 per online shop
  • Waitrose – £1 per online shop

A potential £52 raised per year through grocery purchases – if parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles all do their weekly shop online at Waitrose, that could be £260 raised per year…

Holidays – yearly

  • P&O Cruises – 2% donation on all cruises – typical donation per cruise of around £25.
  • com – Up to 5.5% on hotel stays and experience holidays – typical donation per shop of around £20

That’s on average £25 raised per holiday booking, and if your parents, all grandparents, aunties and uncles book, they could raise you a combined £125 per year…

Takeaways – Weekly

  • Just Eat – 5% donation on all takeaways – typical donation rate for a family of 4 of around £0.16
  • Domino’s Pizza – 5% donation on all takeaways – typical donation rate for a family of 4 of around £0.16

If your family has a weekly takeaway that could generate up to £8 a year, excluding any cheeky calorie fests you and your mates purchase per year too!

Insurance – yearly

  • Aviva – A £30 donation on a new annual car insurance policy
  • Axa – A £16 donation on a new annual home insurance policy

Do your home insurance and car insurance via easyfundraising and that could be as much as £46 per year, per individual that take out a policy. If you have a car, parents have cars, grandparents and aunties and uncles, that could generate over £200 a year through insurance alone.

Online Marketplace – yearly

  • Amazon – 5% donation on all purchases
  • Ebay – 75% donation on all purchases

So many people buy from Amazon and eBay on a monthly basis, on average a supporter raises as much as £40 a year through Amazon. Multiply that by 6 family members and that could be £240 raised.

Grand Total is £833 per year.

About The Scholarship Hub: A social enterprise, which aims to help students find ways of reducing their student debt. Founded in 2013, The Scholarship Hub provides a comprehensive database of scholarships for university, plus information on other alternative ways to fund university including degree apprenticeships, sponsored degrees, grants and bursaries.

About The UK’s largest charity reward organisation. We are committed to making a difference in the world and our blog contains many examples of the positive impact that the £17million+ in donations has had across the charities and good causes that we support. We operate as an online affiliate, partnering with over 3,000 online retailers to refer shoppers to their websites. Every time that referred consumers shop online, the retailer will pay us a commission. We turn half of that commission into a donation and the consumer can donate to one of 114k+ good causes that are registered on the platform. The rest of the commission we take as a fee, and where the business has generated a profit in the last nine years, the majority of this has been re-invested back into operations.

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