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 Post subject: Living with Bursary
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 5:21 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2016 12:28 am
Posts: 8
Hi all,

I'd like some advice with regards to a school bursary and what's like having one. My son's been offered a part bursary to study at a very good independent school. It means that after our mortgage and living expenses we'll be able to afford for him to go there. But it will stretch us and this will be the same for 5 years. We will have no savings after all the bills and our living expenses.

Can someone tell me what it's like to have a bursary and what affects it has on their life? Is it tough knowing that you need to earn the same amount for 5 years so the child is able complete school. Do people think it's worth the sacrifice for going to an independent school, based on their experience?

Please PM me if you dont want to share your experience publicly?

Thanks,

food4thought


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 Post subject: Re: Living with Busary
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 8:10 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 3:02 pm
Posts: 297
Location: S E London
Having a son just finishing at an independent school sixth form, having come from state, have you factored in the extra? For example, how much is the uniform? Our experience is that the uniform itself it not always more expensive than a state school, but the sports kit list can be a bit eye-watering! Are lunches included in the fees, or extra? Do you have to pay for exams, or are they included? What about trips? How many curriculum related ones will your child be expected to go on, and what sort of costs are involved?
We have also found that things like school concerts are more expensive, and several have been in churches or concert halls in London, so we have had to pay out not just for tickets, but food and travel too. Not an issue if you don't have a musical child!!!

Doesn't mean it's not doable, but there are more expenses involved than just the fees. Obviously there are expenses at a state school, but you won't be paying fees on top!

Having said that, DS has had a much better experience at his independent school than his friends who stayed in state schools. Only you know the pros on cons of state v independent.


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 Post subject: Re: Living with Busary
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 8:16 am 
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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 5:27 pm
Posts: 3445
Location: london
Congrats to your son.

In my experience there will be lots of families, bursary or not, who have little money left each month as a result of paying school fees, although there will of course be several who are eye wateringly wealthy. So, you and DS will not be unusual in that regard. The difference I suppose is that those not on bursaries might increases their income over time, thereby becoming more comfortable, but then of course fees go up so we certainly never felt that! As to whether it is worth it, I would say it depends what your other options are. I have few regrets about sending our DDs to indie but the alternatives were either dire or just involved too my travel time for my comfort. If we had had a good state school locally however we would have gone with that. Several of DDs' friends are on full or part bursaries and none of their parents regret it for a minute, in fact they are more positive that those who are paying :) . But, do not underestimate the grind of it all, if you have a decent alternative, go for that.

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 Post subject: Re: Living with Busary
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 9:01 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 11936
No school is worth a constant financial struggle.

What 'extras' does the bursary cover? What happens if your car breaks down or the heating? You need to be able to have a contigency budget for 'everyday' mishaps.


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 Post subject: Re: Living with Busary
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 10:05 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
Posts: 4587
Location: Essex
Unless you have managed to hide a pretty lavish lifestyle from the school bursar, your statement that you will have no savings after mortgage and living expenses are accounted for rings alarm bells for me, I'm afraid. As Guest55 says, what if your car or house require major repairs? I can empathise with the feeling that having put yourselves in the position that the 'nice' option might just about be doable, it would be hard to give it up, but I would think long and hard as to whether it actually is an affordable option. Independent schools are independent businesses, remember, and the school may not think too hard about putting fees up by an amount which leaves the residuum too much for you to manage.

Is the state place you are holding really awful?

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 Post subject: Re: Living with Busary
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 12:52 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
Posts: 6685
Location: Herts
St Albans High School for girls just waited until all the offers had been accepted and deposits paid, then they put their fees up by 9% to pay for all their new buildings and the rebuilding they have planned.

There is nothing to stop them doing exactly the same thing next year. You are a sitting duck.

I wonder how many parents are staying in jobs they hate just to pay the school fees. DG


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 Post subject: Re: Living with Busary
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 2:33 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2010 9:45 pm
Posts: 1488
Daogroupie wrote:
St Albans High School for girls just waited until all the offers had been accepted and deposits paid, then they put their fees up by 9% to pay for all their new buildings and the rebuilding they have planned. There is nothing to stop them doing exactly the same thing next year.
I would assume they will do the same thing next year as all private school increase their fees on an annual basis. Perpahps the next year's increase will not be as high as 9%, but fees will go up.

The most likely reason behind the timing of the fees increase announcement is that the schools need to give a term's notice of the fees increase, so let parents know immediately after Easter or on the last day of term before Easter, while offers have to be accepted usually in early March at the latest. This means that the offers have to be accepted before the new fees are due to be officially announced. Some schools include a letter with an indication of a predicted fees increase together with an offer letter, but not all of them do.

As for bursaries, if they are set up as a percentage of fees (and I don't know if they are), they will keep up with the new fees to an extent, but the percentage of fees that parents need to pay will 'translate' into a higher amount (i.e. the same percentage of higher fees will mean a higher amount of money the parents need to pay). With a 100% bursary, the fees increase would not make much of a difference. If a bursary is a set amount of money, it may perhaps be adjusted from year to year, but I don't know if and how this is done.

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 Post subject: Re: Living with Busary
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 2:46 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:30 am
Posts: 2248
We do it. We manage. Not much in the pot for other things but figure it's just three more years. There is an understandable bias on her towards state school, it is, after all, an eleven plus website. It's also understandable because yes, on paper, it makes no sense at all to leave yourself nothing in reserve. By. The end of our sons schooling who knows, we may have ended up with some debt we have to pay back, with some lean times too, but for us it's worth it. Only you can decide how much of a risk it is, or whether it is so close to the wire that a broken washing machine would mean you losing your house. But as I say, for us we are ok with going without things and hoping for the rest to be ok, but who knows?!


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 Post subject: Re: Living with Busary
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 2:53 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
Posts: 6685
Location: Herts
Apparently quite a chunk of the mortgage payers in this country are just two mortgage payments away from trouble.

The issue has to be are you getting something out of it that is not obtainable otherwise? DG


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 Post subject: Re: Living with Busary
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 3:36 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
Posts: 8113
Daogroupie wrote:
Apparently quite a chunk of the mortgage payers in this country are just two mortgage payments away from trouble.

The issue has to be are you getting something out of it that is not obtainable otherwise? DG


I think it becomes more of a problem if the interest rates go back up again - monthly payments could easily double. Seem to remember my first mortgage was 13.5% :shock:


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