New Fundraising Scheme Helps Families Provide Extra Financial Support for Students Without Dipping in to Their Own Pockets

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A new scheme has launched which helps students fundraise towards their university education costs, paying money directly in to their bank account. The first of its kind in the UK, Funds4Uni allows families to shop online at over 3,000 retail outlets and generate free donations on every purchase to support their nominated student.

Extra financial help for students

Fundraise for university by shopping online

Funds4Uni gives students an additional financial lifeline which could make the difference between some staying and leaving university

Funds4Uni has been launched by The Scholarship Hub, a social enterprise helping UK students to find alternative funding opportunities, in partnership with easyfundraising.org.uk.

Students can set up their fundraising cause and invite family members and friends to support them via their online shopping. If eight adults, perhaps parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and family friends, sign up to Funds4Uni they could raise around £860* a year doing their normal shopping and all without dipping into their own pockets.

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.

Families can also use Funds4Uni to raise funds even before their son or daughter has gone to university as a way of saving towards it as well as after they have completed their course, to help pay off some of their debts. All online purchases made with one of the 3,288 shops linked to easyFundraising.org.uk, generates a donation on the sale which, using Funds4Uni, would pay into the student’s personal account to go towards university 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 donations 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 – http://www.thescholarshiphub.org.uk/funds4uni. 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

As half a million students are 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: MoneySavingExpert.com).

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 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”.

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 easyfundraising.org.uk , 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 the donations 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.”

Find out more at http://www.thescholarshiphub.org.uk/funds4uni .

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Frances Knox
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