'Unlimited tuition fees – does that mean unlimited student loans?' blog discussion

This is the discussion to link on the back of Martin's blog. Please read the blog first, as this discussion follows it.


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  • From what I gather, the Student Loans used to be managed by the separate councils, and then they all sold the whole thing off as a business (with the massive problems in the first year).

    Businesses exist to make money, so it was only a matter of time before they tried to charge real interest on loans.

    And the problem with increasing the fees, is that every university immediately ups their fees to the top limit, with no regulation. I wouldn't mind paying more for a better degree, but how do you know what you are going to get? The fee limits should be set based on how many students get decent jobs once they graduate!
  • I wonder what will happen with my own loans? I'm 56, just finished the 2nd year of a degree in counselling and am to begin the final 'top-up' year in January. I have taken full advantage of the student tuition and maintenance loans but have not yet been able to find out what will happen when I reach pensionable age....
  • Whatever it means, all this will do is force people to make life choices based on cash at a time when this should be a secondary concern or not one at all. It will introduce as system whereby the rich go to good universities (and a few 'lucky' poor people who are well under the income thresholds) and everyone else will be left to go wherever, regardless of their academic merit.

    This government is a joke, it is obssessed with business and money. It forces markets in where they aren't needed, won't work and will cause massive problems to anyone in society who wasn't born with a silver spoon in their mouth.

    The only people who will agree with this move by the Government will be the wealthy, people who are generally against University education ('University of life me mate, 20 years and counting...'), and people who went through the system, got their degrees for free (or very little) and now see fit to pull up the ladder.
  • shooter
    shooter Posts: 153 Forumite
    I am a mature student (40 Yrs old) in the process of applying to University at present.

    I have an extremely low income and will need to take full advantage of any and all loans, grants and bursaries available to me.

    I am already aware of the fact that my student loan at the end of my degree could be as much as £30,000 and now if the interest rates or course fees are to change it has the potential to much, much higher, especially as I will be applying to some of the top universities.
    :rotfl: Surely life can't get any worse it has to only get better from hear on out :j
    January NSD aim 15days
  • Renya
    Renya Posts: 704 Forumite
    I can imagine that unlimited student loans won't be available, mainly because, as Martin said, if universities are allowed to charge whatever they like many will want to charge over the odds and I don't think Student Finance can afford to give out unlimited loans.

    Does anyone know if people who are already at university will be affected by this if it's brought in when they're there?

    It'd be a real shame if they did allow universities to charge whatever they like, it'd mean a lot of talented people from poorer backgrounds will be excluded, my brother is doing his GCSEs and has already been predicted top grades in a lot of his subjects, he loves maths and science and said he wants to go to university to do a degree in one of them, but we're not from a very privileged background (I'm actually the first in my family to go to uni) and if the university fees are allowed to go up without funding to support people it might deter him from going.
    [STRIKE]Seventeen[/STRIKE] [STRIKE]Eighteen[/STRIKE] Nineteen(!) year old student - dim at the best of times
  • Can anyone clarify for me please - not from UK so am a bit confused.

    Are tuition fees and student loans intertwined? If the student pays off the tuition fee each year without taking out a student loan, there's no interest levied, as each year the fees are zeroed. Nothing else to pay, right?
  • gmang
    gmang Posts: 171 Forumite
    edited 11 October 2010 at 1:17PM
    Nine_Tails wrote: »
    Can anyone clarify for me please - not from UK so am a bit confused.

    Are tuition fees and student loans intertwined? If the student pays off the tuition fee each year without taking out a student loan, there's no interest levied, as each year the fees are zeroed. Nothing else to pay, right?

    Right. If you (or usually your parents) are wealthy and willing enough then you can pay your fees up front and don't bother taking out a loan. Then there is no interest. However even at the current fee levels, once you include living costs that's probably going to be £8k-10k per year, so ~£30k in total for a standard degree.

    Back in the late 90s when fees were not so high, some fellow students did this and took out maximum loans to feed into ISAs. It's the MSE thing to do, but it didn't half annoy the other people who were struggling by on what little they had!
  • I'm one of those lucky enough to have received a student grant, in the old days, so my parents just had to top up my grant, which being in a middle-income bracket they did without too much difficulty. But I have three children who are going to university in the next few years, and the last thing I want is for them to have huge debts. We don't earn enough to help them out, but I imagine unless you're in a higher tax rate at least most people can't afford to support their children at uni anymore.

    By bringing in loans it's true that many more people are now going to uni than in my days, which is a good thing, it's not down to a small section of society anymore. But it now also means that many people go to university who in the old days would have usually left school at 18 and gone into a decent paying job and worked at a career. So they wouldn't be saddled with debt, or have to drop out of uni because of it with nothing to show for it.

    Not everyone is academic, and studying doesn't suit everyone, nor is it always necessary. My sister-in-law works at a company that used to give certain jobs to people leaving school with A-levels, an ideal 'first job'. The people who now do these jobs have university degrees and are in their 30s. Leaving only unskilled and badly paid jobs for those who don't go to university.

    I don't know what the answer is, but it seems that there should be some reining back of expectations that 50% of people should go to university, without it going back to the elitist thing it was in the past.

    In the meantime, I have since my children were born put aside the child benefit I received for them specifically to fund their university places. But I am lucky that I can do that, although we don't earn that much, I've just been very disciplined about it. And it won't go very far, perhaps one year at most. And we live in London, so the chances of my children being able to live in the area where I do when they leave home are small enough, never mind them being saddled with debt.

    I'm all in favour of those suited to study to study to a higher level, which is why I would want to have some grants still for students. But I do recognise that is unaffordable these days, a great shame.
  • jeanmd
    jeanmd Posts: 2,360
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    Worried, worried, worried.
    Dd has just sent of her application for next year with predicted grades of A.A.A* She's wanting to study up to Ph.D level. The thought of her tuition costs at the end of this is frightening.

    Just wondering who it will affect as her BF has just started this year i.e. would students already at Uni have the increase or is it just new students?
    £2021 in 2021 no.17 £1,093.20/£2021
  • glider3560
    glider3560 Posts: 4,115
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    Martin wrote:
    To keep this principle, if we are going to increase tuition fees for some institutions, we need a binding promise that every student who wants one will get a loan that will cover ALL their fees and maintenance (living allowance) alongside.
    Although I completely agree with Martin's comment, I can't help but feel that if tutition fees rise to a certain level, people will be put off going to university. There comes a stage when it simply becomes uneconomically viable.

    For example, if fees were £10,000 per year, then I'd pay £30,000. But is it worth it? What if I didn't go to university? Yes, I'd be earning a lower salary at the start, but then I could work my way up through the ranks. Although I would probably still be earning less, I can't imagine it would be anywhere near £30,000 less across a long period (e.g. 25 years).

    The whole decision on fees needs to be looked at on a subject-by-subject basis, not across the board. Certain courses will provide much more benefit to society than others, and I believe these courses should be the ones which receive the highest government funding and therefore the lowest tuition fees.

    The bit where Martin talks about means testing the interest rate scaring him, I agree as this scares me too. Why should those who have made good use of their degree and get better jobs ultimately be punished for doing this?
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