Parents worldwide contribute to cost of university, finds survey

However, students in the US, Canada and the UK experience some of the highest ‘funding gaps’, according to a global HSBC analysis

August 14, 2018
cost of going to university

Nearly 80 per cent of parents support their children financially at university, according to an international HSBC survey.

Students in the UK (where loans are available) say that they are spending up to £41,246 during their time at university, while their parents are contributing up to £8,412 on average, according to respondents from 15 countries and territories cited in the bank’s annual Value of Education report.

Along with parents in France, who contribute £8,201, these two countries have the lowest parental contribution rates in the world, according to the poll.

Globally, parents in Hong Kong contributed the most (£40,121) to their children’s education. The figure is about £20,000 more than the next highest-ranked nations for parental contributions: the United Arab Emirates (£22,834) and Singapore (£20,486).

The countries with the biggest “funding gap” between what students spend and what their parents contribute were the US (£63,769) and Canada (£36,445), according to the survey. The UK had the third-highest gap.

The survey was taken by 10,478 parents and 1,507 students across 15 countries and territories.

Jonathan Nabrotzky, HSBC’s global head of branch network, said: “It’s clear from our research that many parents are committed to funding their child’s university education but, in reality, the costs are often much higher than they are prepared for.

“With student finance an increasingly complicated picture, many students are finding alternative sources to keep up with costs, including paid employment and borrowing from friends [and] family or personal loans.”

One in 20 parents surveyed said that their child’s grandparents contributed to the cost of university education.

The report also investigated which skills parents thought were the most important for their children to acquire at university.

Overall, problem-solving skills (55 per cent) were the most highly valued, while in the UK, 36 per cent of parents prized this skill.

Creativity and design-based skills appeared to be the least important (47 per cent of parents prioritised this globally), except in Asia where parents in Indonesia (57 per cent), Taiwan (55 per cent), India (52 per cent) and China (51 per cent) felt that these were skills that university study should prioritise.

Foreign language skills were valued most by parents in Taiwan (68 per cent) and Indonesia (71 per cent), in comparison with the UK (27 per cent), US (26 per cent) and Canada (28 per cent).

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