According to a recent survey conducted by the International Longevity Centre based in UK, grandparents are willing to help out their family with the expenses of higher education. The survey shows that at present, almost 3% of grandparents are contributing financially to the education of their grand children. And in future, it is estimated that almost 13% grandparents expect to help their family to pay university fees in the next 10 years. Because of this, many charities are afraid of the fact that an increased university fee is putting a heavy burden on the elderly family members.
Interviews were conducted with more than 2000 parents and grandparents in the month of August. Most of the grandparents said that they would spend their savings in order to financially support their grand children. And some even said that they’d use investments or their own property to finance their children for higher education.
The research and public affairs officer at ILC, Jessica Watson, said that people have to forget about the idea that old people cannot do anything. She said that the survey was conducted in order to challenge the opinion that all older people are laid up both physically and financially.
Watson said: “We’ve found that grandparents with greater incomes are giving more to their children, and that means that there is no social mobility in the process. There are problems with the arguments for increased fees in higher education when you find out that grandparents from higher income backgrounds are giving money to their grandchildren so that they can go to university. It is worrying for those from lower income backgrounds because the effect is that it could shut out opportunities.”
However, some leading figures are of the view that such acts of kindness by the older people could be taken for granted. This could create differences for those whose grandparents cannot afford to help and could also put pressure on the older members of the family to provide support.
The director of policy and research at the charity Grandparents Plus, Sarah Wellard, is also apprehensive about the results of the survey. She says that grandparents play an important role within the family but are usually taken for granted. Although the older children in the house look after their grandparents when they get ill or need care, but they pay very little attention to the role that grandparents play in the family.
Usually, the grandparents are proud of their grand children when they see that their grand children are making the most out of the opportunities that were not available to them before. The grandparents just want to help out their family when they see their children struggling with the expenses. But people should remember that not all grandparents have the ability to do so, and thus their efforts should never be taken for granted.