Families Facing University: Learning the hard facts of paying for further education: Vivien Goldsmith names the winners of pounds 1,000 worth of Premium Bonds

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WHEN one member of a family goes to university the effects are likely to be felt by everyone else in the household. That much is already clear from the three families whose financial fortunes will be tracked by the Independent over the next three years.

Thomas Evans, like his parents, is going to Hull University. His mother, Merrilyn, is a drama teacher earning about pounds 14,000 a year and his father, Grant, a probation officer on about pounds 22,000. They have two younger children. 'They will need the same financial commitment from us, so we are facing the financial strains of university until 2004,' says Mrs Evans.

Tom's sister is 11 and won a scholarship to the private school where her mother teaches, but the family would still have had to find some of the fees. With the burden of university that would have been impossible, so she is going to the girls' grammar school.

'We were pounds 70 too rich to get a grant for Tom,' Mrs Evans explains. 'They allow you just pounds 75 per other child on the assessment, which is very little, and you lose child benefit when the university child goes off.'

The Evanses have used spare capital over the years to reduce their mortgage to pounds 25,000. This worked against them on the grant assessment as mortgage interest is taken into account. 'We were quite surprised that Tom didn't get a grant,' says his mother. 'We intend to use our savings to get him through university.'

Jo Crouch is going to Cambridge, where he has won a choral scholarship to study music. This brings him pounds 100 a year and in return he will be singing in King's College Chapel every day and twice on Sundays. This should also give him the opportunity to earn up to pounds 2,000 a year from recordings and concerts.

It is a musical family - his brother aged 11 is at King's Choir School in Cambridge and his sisters, eight and 14, are at Chetham's music school in Manchester. His mother is a violin teacher and his stepfather a probation officer.

Mrs Jane Crouch said: 'They only look at my income, unlike assisted places where they look at household income. I only earn about pounds 5,000 a year. I would have to be earning pounds 15,000 before we would have to pay anything.'

So Jo expects a full grant of pounds 2,040. The two girls have assisted places and the family struggles to pay the reduced fees for Jo's brother at the choir school.

The Hallum family face two years when they will have both a son and daughter at college.

Jocelyn is going to the University of Kent to study maths and statistics. Her brother still has two years to finish his BEd course.

Jocelyn has been cleaning a local comprehensive school for pounds 2.85 an hour and has saved pounds 100 in her Barclays Bank account. She will be opening a student account.

Her parents - David, a printing estimator on about pounds 19,000, and Maureen, earning about pounds 14,000 as a school administrator - hope their children will get grants of about pounds 450 a term each.

They plan to give Jocelyn pounds 500 when she sets off for college and then pounds 80 a month.

(Photographs omitted)

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