Next Thursday is A-level results day when my younger son will find out how he did in his AS exams and whether he can study the subjects he wants next year.

But for thousands of others in Oxfordshire, the stakes will be even higher, as they discover whether they’ve done enough to win a place at university.

According to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), applications are up three per cent this year, even though most degree courses charge £9,000 a year.

Accommodation racks up another £3,000 to £5,000 and there are living costs on top of that. Little wonder, university guide Push, estimates today’s students will graduate with average debts of £53,000.

That’s why we parents should have a chat with them about how to manage their money before they leave home, according to financial education charity Personal Finance Education Group.

PFEG believes we can play a key role in teaching our kids how to make sure their spending doesn’t spiral out of control. Chief executive Tracey Bleakley points out: “It is really important that parents seize this last chance to sit down with their children before they go off to university and help them think ahead to how they are going to manage their student finances.

“For most new students, university is the first time they will have managed their own money and it’s crucial that they know how to make their first student loan last the entire term.”

PFEG offers advice and information via its own helpline, email and on its website One of the best ways of keeping costs down, is to take advantage of grants or bursaries.

One of the biggest is the National Scholarship Programme, a government scheme which has up to £100m to give away for the 2013-2014 academic year and £150m for 2015-2016 The website has more information about what’s available and who qualifies: Another brilliant resource is The Scholarship Hub which includes detailed lists of all grants and scholarships on offer to UK students.

Founder Karen Kennard says many students are unaware of how many grants are on offer, or wrongly think they won’t qualify.

She points out it’s not just those with household income of less than £25,000 or A* grades who are eligible. Incredibly, there have been instances where some scholarships haven’t had any applicants because people either didn’t know about it, or didn’t think they stood a chance.

There are opportunities to claim financial help if going for traditional sectors such as engineering, law or pharmaceuticals.

But others on are so weird and wonderful, you’ll find yourself doing a double take.

For instance, The Worshipful Company of Launderers has a charitable and educational trust which awards scholarships “for the further education of people pursuing studies of benefit to the laundry industry”.

Or, there’s the Vintners Company, which offers trade scholarships worth up to £9,300 through the Wine and Spirits Education Trust and Institute of Masters of Wine and even includes visits to wine-producing regions.