Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Accountant Called in to Advise Pupils; Parents and Children Learn the Figures

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Accountant Called in to Advise Pupils; Parents and Children Learn the Figures

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Tully

ANORTH EAST school has called in a leading accountant to advise pupils on the financial cost of further education as fears grow on rising tuition fees.

Queen Elizabeth High School in Hexham, Northumberland, which has 420 sixth-formers contemplating university, drafted in local chartered accountant Patricia Arnold to map out their increasingly difficult future.

And in a series of sessions with pupils, she warned the real cost of a three-year degree could soar to nearly pounds 50,000.

Ms Arnold, a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, who runs her own business in Hexham, says the potential price of sending children to university is now forcing paren to ask "serious questions".

Accommodation costs and utility bills as well as internet and mobile phones all add to the cost of university degrees.

And the worrying figures mean career alternatives such as apprenticeships and going straight into work are coming more and more into focus.

Ms Arnold said in the current climate, parents and children had to be certain that university was the right choice.

The accountant, who spoke separately to parents, said: "The costs involved in higher education are now extremely high, so students and parents have to ask some serious questions.

"Firstly, do you really want to go to university and are you prepared to plan and budget to make it possible? "If not, you might want to look at other options such as apprenticeships or full-time employment.

"With tuition fees set to rise to up to pounds 9,000 from 2012, the real cost of a three-year degree could easily rise to somewhere in the region of pounds 50,000.

There is no doubt things are going to get harder. My own children have been through the university system so I know how hard it can be. However, despite the potential sacrifice, a degree is still very valuable, so if you decide on university, you need to learn to plan not only how to manage money received from loans, but also how to supplement this with savings or a part-time job. …

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