'Prospective students no longer so scared of £9,000 fees' blog discussion

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Martin's Blogs & Appearances & MoneySavingExpert in the News
23 replies 3.7K views
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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  • jamesdjamesd Forumite
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    What'll be really interesting to watch is whether there's a demographic shift in the new intake of students based on income levels. If the Taskforce is looking for a single performance measure that's a strong candidate for the one I'd pick.
  • edited 16 January 2012 at 5:28PM
    2sides2everystory2sides2everystory
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    edited 16 January 2012 at 5:28PM
    You are in cloud cuckoo land if you think the masses that need to know really understand it Martin.

    I know parents (who have never been to university) who think that it would be sensible all round if their dear offspring went to the local uni ("They're all pretty much the same standard aren't they?") and lived at home to keep the costs down, after all, they'll be paying a sizeable chunk of the 4 x £9,000 themselves they've already decided so the debt burden on Dear Jimmy isn't too great.

    You surely must realise that every set of parents and students that arrive at this point in their lives are arriving for the first time? So views like that will not be uncommon.

    They are in completely uncharted territory. Many parents never had to make any such decisions themselves. I went to university and I certainly didn't. When I went it was pretty straightforward to work out which were the best universities. They were worth the money too. Not my money but the state's/taxpayers' money. Now large parts of HE look like the the grotty old high street first floor "colleges" with fancy names, plenty of hype and backroom certificate mills. Is all the real 2012 money being funnelled from student's "accounts" going to be properly accounted for or is UK HE at the highest levels just a state sponsored privatisation bandwagon from now on?

    All parents are totally at sea with the current economic situation and what it might mean. Even the students studying economics or something similar at A level are not being taught the truth behind disaster capitalism. They don't know who they can trust Martin except those they feel familiar with. And we all know what happens to masses who follow leaders like that into dodgy waters - they risk become astounded by the sudden about turns of the leaders they trusted, but by then they are just oblivious to the pain and confusion and just give up resisting. It is by then too late or just pointless to complain.

    You do no-one any favours by saying you feel good about kids telling you they are no longer thinking about it because they have reconciled it in their minds.

    That reconciliation is a subconscious resignation that they can do nothing to change it and besides is not everyone in their position heading in the same direction? They are sleepwalking Martin, and will follow the motions which are pointed out to them, that's all.

    Are you truly caring for them ? - because you are certainly do your bit to steer them in their sleep.

    With your LSE background, and more recently rubbed shoulders, you must surely know something about global economics and its likely effects on the UK. Look at the mess of student debt in the US bigger than credit card debt. The UK follows US patterns so often. You and I both know that the UK blundered headlong into an uncontrolled credit card market splurged along very similar patterns to the US model practised 5 years or 10 years earlier. Are you completely confident that our 2012 Student Loans will not easily be privatised when the sh^t hits the fan if our UK national economy collapses in a heap ? If Student Loans become privatised debt as in the US then never mind the suggestion that it was only ever a tax, with safety thresholds and debt forgiveness after 30 years. Those safeguards might just evaporate, but the horrible interest rates behind it all won't will they? They will ensure the debt explodes beautifully for the corporates who buy the debt knock down off the UK government in a real crisis.

    You cannot be confident of that not happening can you?

    I have been criticised heavily for banging on about the overall state of the economy being the single biggest reason why the Student Loan scheme 2012 is particularly dangerous. "The two are not linked" is the continual cry. "This is about higher education not the economy", they say.

    Are you really content to ignore the obvious links too ?
  • The_One_WhoThe_One_Who Forumite
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    I know parents (who have never been to university) who think that it would be sensible all round if their dear offspring went to the local uni ("They're all pretty much the same standard aren't they?")

    There is nothing inherently wrong with going to the local university, the Scots have been doing it for years. The university could be very good. I don't understand why the "local university" is always said with such disgust by some people.
    I have been criticised heavily for banging on about the overall state of the economy being the single biggest reason why the Student Loan scheme 2012 is particularly dangerous. "The two are not linked" is the continual cry. "This is about higher education not the economy", they say.

    No, that is not what is said at all. I don't believe that the entire future of the UK economy is hinged on the 2012 student loans, like you seem to portray. Yes, the loans system and the economy are linked, but not to the extreme you think they are or want them to be.
  • edited 16 January 2012 at 8:53PM
    2sides2everystory2sides2everystory
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    edited 16 January 2012 at 8:53PM
    I don't believe that the entire future of the UK economy is hinged on the 2012 student loans, like you seem to portray. Yes, the loans system and the economy are linked, but not to the extreme you think they are or want them to be.
    Ah yes TOW, beautiful piece of disinformation based on a deliberately crass reverse interpretation of my posts. Of course the 2012 student loans are not going to tip the economy. They will just be grist to the mill of vultures circling for forced privatisation opportunities if the government loses control of the economy.

    I believe the future of those who commit to 2012 student loans will be so horribly bound up to the state of the future UK economy that they may very quickly come to regret ever signing on the bottom line if the economy goes pear-shaped (and surely you agree there is a not insignificant chance of pear-shaped being where the UK is heading alongwith many other western economies?).

    If that happens, our government will not have the power to protect "special" debtors (like 2012-on SLC sign ups) or special creditors (like pensionists).

    And what on earth are you suggesting about me "wanting" student debt to be so perilously linked to the fortunes of the national economy?

    That is a very twisted thing to say to someone whose offspring will almost certainly have to sign up with SLC if they are not to be deflected from their main ambition.
  • I don't believe that the entire future of the UK economy is hinged on the 2012 student loans, like you seem to portray. Yes, the loans system and the economy are linked, but not to the extreme you think they are or want them to be.

    Whilst I don't necessarily agree with 2sides, I think his point was the reverse - not that the economy hinges on the loans, but that the loans hinge on the economy and that a current (or future) government could privatise one (or more) of the SLC cohorts, tear up the rulebook and let the students have to deal with non-subsidised rates.

    I agree that it would be better for tuition fees to be kept at lower levels rather than linking such large sums to individuals, but unless people are happy as a society to pay additional taxes to continue funding the level of students we have, we're looking at options like lowering the number of student places available or forcing people to adopt cheaper methods of education (e.g. remote study, much larger class sizes, etc.) which risk reducing the quality of the degree.

    Or we go further down towards the US system, where the expectation is that parents stump up the money, which is showing signs of happening and, in my opinion, is not a good sign at all.

    Not entirely convinced that avoiding getting a degree is necessarily a better alternative, however - depends on your attitude to risk. Of course, its the situation we have - at least until the next election, or a successful protest changes the government's mind (unlikely, given the other competing protests and priorities going on).
  • edited 18 January 2012 at 11:19AM
    setmefree2setmefree2 Forumite
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    edited 18 January 2012 at 11:19AM
    I hope this isn't Martin Lewis' "Yours for Scotland" Alex Salmond moment.

    Imho MSE have completely failed to convey to students and their parents that none of the details in the student contracts they will be signing are binding on the government (this government or any future government) and therefore could be changed at any point.

    This is a piece by Alvin Hall. Watch from about 7 minutes - there is an interview with William Cullerne Bown also (like ML) a financial expert/ journalist. What he says is this.
    The deal is actually not a deal. None of the parameters (meaning interest rates, threshold levels, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY PROMISED WRITE OFFS,etc) are in the contact the student signs up to, and in fact the government can change those numbers when they want to, so students could end up paying a lot more - students could pay back far more than people have predicted.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00lcx0m

    The people doing the predicting, for the most part, are MSE towers/ The Independent Task Force on Student Finance.

    Where has MSE mentioned this in it's informaton for students and parents? Nowhere as far as I can gleam.

  • I have read through the fees structure and well understand how it will work. Yes I accept that students, if they still want to go to uni, can do so as the costs won't be upfront, instead they will be effectively paying a 9% tax surcharge on any income over 21,000 (that is of course if they earn that much, though this shouldnt' be too difficult I would have thought). That said, the fact remains that students will now be in debt to the tune of 10s of thousands (eg 40, 50K or more when maintenance costs and interest payments are thrown in as well). What this means, to me at least, is that students, though they can afford to go to uni, will have to think very hard as to whether the course in question will provide value for money - ie will their career earnings post graduation be worth it in view of the now considerable long-term backloaded cost? Students will therefore have to be much more customer focused when selecting courses (and the uni) for study...this marketisation of further education will I suspect lead to the closure of the less popular courses / less popular universities, well I suppose that is what our 'free marketeers' in government want. What is also means is that students from now on will not solely focus on the course they would like to take, that they are most interested in, that they would enjoy studying the most, but instead will have to focus on the 'financial payback' of that course, something which I find very sad...we have effectively forced students to consider financial considerations when selecting courses and those from ordinary backgrounds (which is most of us) will now have to do this...
  • edited 19 January 2012 at 12:49PM
    2sides2everystory2sides2everystory
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    edited 19 January 2012 at 12:49PM
    I could almost cry with frustration about this, vordrubval. And even your astute conclusion that this will force students to be much more selective about courses is no guarantee that they will come out of it with an ability to build a meaningful career and life for themselves.

    As you will now see from my now extended signature statement I had a blinding realisation this morning about whose debt it really is which is being shovelled mercilessly to panniers on the backs of you young people.

    It never was your debt. What the government has done is force students to buy junk bonds with no guarantee of a return but sure as hell they will have spent real money in the process and it is a total myth that the government will pay it back - worst scenario - if the government has no money in the future then it will stop paying pensions as in Greece and it will not pay student debt because it physically will not be able to do so - it will sell them down the river to banks who will then start knocking on doors.
  • FATBALLZFATBALLZ Forumite
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    I don't see how students not being worried about £9000/year worth of fees (or £12k+ a year worth of debt) is a good thing. They should be extremely concerned. The best thing anyone could do is make more of them see studying abroad as an option, where you can do a course for a few hundred pounds a year, not tens of thousands. Unless a student can get on a very good course at a very good university with a high probability of very high earnings there is little that is attractive about studying in the UK.

    I can only pray that by the time my kids think of going to uni (thankfully not for well over a decade) these changes brought about by the greed of those who had a free education have been rolled back. If not then I'll certainly be encouraging my kids to study elsewhere.
  • poppy10_2poppy10_2 Forumite
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    FATBALLZ wrote: »
    I don't see how students not being worried about £9000/year worth of fees (or £12k+ a year worth of debt) is a good thing. They should be extremely concerned.
    Exactly. I really can't understand why MSE Martin has taken such pride in his campaign to convince kids that leaving Uni with £27-36k of debt is nothing to worry about. Quite aside from the burden this causes, if you give people such a cavalier attitude to debt at the beginning of their working career, it's inevitably going to lead to huge problems down the line. Really disappointed with this site's attitude to this issue, they seem to be cheerleading the government line for some reason.
    poppy10
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