'Universities must educate students about the new 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.

Please click 'post reply' to discuss below.
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  • I disagree with "Who better than these institutions of education to educate about institutions finances."
    Is the suggestion that once the students are in University they are educated? Or bring potential student in and educate them?
    In my opinion it is too late by then. You need to educate much earlier, probably during the time that options of HE are being considered. Some more information to the secondary schools would be a good idea. With information for parents as well. Certainly not "When they apply, when they get accepted".
  • MSE_MartinMSE_Martin MoneySaving Expert
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    websurfing wrote: »
    I disagree with "Who better than these institutions of education to educate about institutions finances."
    Is the suggestion that once the students are in University they are educated? Or bring potential student in and educate them?
    In my opinion it is too late by then. You need to educate much earlier, probably during the time that options of HE are being considered. Some more information to the secondary schools would be a good idea. With information for parents as well. Certainly not "When they apply, when they get accepted".


    Hi

    As you'll see from the blog -financial education in schools is my main priority - yet I don't see that means we shouldn't continue it on the specific issues within uni too.

    Teach em before
    Teach em during
    Teach em after

    Seems the best way to go for me

    Martin :)
    Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
    Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
    Don't miss out on urgent MoneySaving, get my weekly e-mail at www.moneysavingexpert.com/tips.
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  • edited 6 December 2010 at 6:20PM
    Premier_2Premier_2 Forumite
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    edited 6 December 2010 at 6:20PM
    I suggest we start by going back to the basics that all other skills can be built upon.

    i.e. Basic numeracy (and literacy) ... and I don't mean which order to press buttons in on an electronic gizmo ;)

    I was never given specific financial education at school, and neither were my parents or grandparents, but we were all taught the basic skills.

    You can't hope for people to master how they can have less money than none at all, unless they have a proper understanding of basic numeracy ... and with that knowledge the basics of personal finance will naturally follow, if through no other reason than natural inquisitiveness (i.e what does it mean if I have less than no money?, what happens then?) ... as it did with myself, my parents and their parents.

    Afterall, these people you hope to educate are hopefully those with above average ability and willingness to learn; not by being spoon fed the information, but via their own questioning and research.

    I'm not convinced that necessarily applies to 40+% of the population, but that's another debate. :)
    "Now to trolling as a concept. .... Personally, I've always found it a little sad that people choose to spend such a large proportion of their lives in this way but they do, and we have to deal with it." - MSE Forum Manager 6th July 2010
  • I am a current uni student studying economics. Education of the youth is imperitive if we are to have a financially literate people. However it seems that one piece of the modern financial world has not been properly investigated in relation to financing and debt (and i was hoping for Martin's opinion on this). This is the use of credit and debit cards. No doubt these have bought a world of benefits and safety to us. However i can't help but believe that since almost everything is done electronically nowadays we have lost sense of the value of money. Our wages are given to us electronically and we spend it using these same methods. At no point do we handle real money and so the value of this money is less than before.

    I could take myself as an example. If i saw a pair of trainers i like and they were say £50 i would be much more willing to buy it using my card than if i had to make the decision solely if i had £50 in my back pocket and i know its much the same with other mates of mine.

    This kind of mentality does effect us in terms of our attitudes towards debt and finances and i believe that it requires greater investigation.
  • If someone needs to be spoon fed information like that, they shouldn't be at university.
    "Never underestimate the mindless force of a government bureaucracy
    seeking to expand its power, dominion and budget"
    Jay Stanley, American Civil Liberties Union.
  • ErrataErrata Forumite
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    With fees now likely to be £9,000 it’s time higher education institutions are mandated to take responsibility for their students (or maybe now we should call them customers?) knowledge about how their funding and loans work.

    I agree with you, and the only thing a uni has to do is stick the information on their website. They don't have to be responsible for students understanding it, that's the students responsibility.
    .................:)....I'm smiling because I have no idea what's going on ...:)
  • Eco_MiserEco_Miser Forumite
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    Jigsaw220 wrote: »
    At no point do we handle real money and so the value of this money is less than before.

    I could take myself as an example. If i saw a pair of trainers i like and they were say £50 i would be much more willing to buy it using my card than if i had to make the decision solely if i had £50 in my back pocket and i know its much the same with other mates of mine.
    What is real money? Pieces of paper with a promise on them? Pieces of metal with a scrap value a tiny fraction of their face value?
    I used cash, or cheques for large sums, for many years, still do for small things, but these days I pay by card for most things over a tenner. The only change in my decision process since getting a card is that I never see something I want and can afford, but have to go looking for a bank or cash machine before I can buy it.

    Perhaps it's different brought up with cards.
    Eco Miser
    Saving money for well over half a century

  • JimmyTheWigJimmyTheWig Forumite
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    Who better than these institutions of education to educate about institutions finances.
    Not totally convinced that I agree with you on this one. The universities are the ones to benefit from the borrowed money. Can they be trusted to give the right advice? Even if so (on the basis that a university is whiter than white), is this not at odds with the whole adversarial consumer society concept?
    Would you trust a car salesman who told you that a personal loan was a good thing?
    Would you trust an estate agent who said that a mortgage was a good thing?
    Whether they are right or not, I wouldn't trust them as they stand to gain from the advice given. And I think to teach students that it is right to take advice from those with a vested interest is wrong.

    I think that by the age of 18 we need to be taking responsibility for ourselves. Therefore I think it is the job of the Student Unions to teach the students about these new debts. [As has been mentioned already, this is too late a time to _start_, but an ideal time to continue this financial education.]
  • Premier_2Premier_2 Forumite
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    For years we’ve educated our youth into debt when they go to Uni, but never about debt. ...


    Debt is nothing new in our society.

    Last night I was watching the first ever Coronation Street episode first broadcast 50 years ago. In that, one of the characters went into the local shop and bought something that they asked to be 'put on the slate'.

    People were borrowing 50 years ago in order to get things they didn't have the money to pay for at the time. They understood then that what wasn't paid for upfront would have to be paid for later. Where have we gone wrong if we now have to educate people 'about debt' that was once considered basic common sense?

    The only difference nowadays is that loans are backed up with full terms and conditions before the amount is lent. I agree with Errata, it is for these people who want to demonstrate their thirst for knowledge and understanding to start by reading and understanding these terms, not to be paying £9000 per year to have it explained to them by mandate.
    I'm sure if, after reading such terms, a few individuals still cannot fully understand them, there will be many opportunities for them to seek further advice before they just take the money.
    By the time individuals are 18, they should be taking responsibility for their own actions.

    If education needs improving, perhaps it's educating our children that at some time they need to start taking reponsibility for their own actions. But wasn't this something that parents used to teach their children rather than relying on a formal educational establishment to do?
    "Now to trolling as a concept. .... Personally, I've always found it a little sad that people choose to spend such a large proportion of their lives in this way but they do, and we have to deal with it." - MSE Forum Manager 6th July 2010
  • JimmyTheWigJimmyTheWig Forumite
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    Premier wrote: »
    Where have we gone wrong if we now have to educate people 'about debt' that was once considered basic common sense?
    I think that the difference is that in their quest for profits, companies have become more "savvy". To combat this, customers need to become more savvy. Hence the need for more financial education.
    Great if this can come from parents. But it won't always do, so we need other ways (schools, children's centres, community groups, etc) to get the message out there.
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