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Uni Minister Jo Johnson says NO to my letter asking 'please be honest & ...

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Uni Minister Jo Johnson says NO to my letter asking 'please be honest & ...

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MSE_EeshaMSE_Eesha MSE Staff
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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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  • Paul_HerringPaul_Herring Forumite
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    Once again (http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5531030#4) the point is missed about transparency about how much those of us without children are contributing to these students, most of whom won't actually be repaying loans. (Grants, by their nature, won't be repaid at all.)

    Perhaps if the apparent target of getting 50% of post-secondary students into university to study such esoteric subjects such as Women's Studies, Underwater Basket Weaving and The Politics of Harry Potter Through the Medium of Interpretive Dance was lowered, them more money would be available for the students of more worthwhile subjects (sciences e.g.) that result in real jobs based on the resultant degrees, and stuff like means-testing parent's income for the purposes of determining grants and loans wouldn't actually be necessary, since the 'pot' wouldn't be being spread so thinly.
  • MSE_MartinMSE_Martin MoneySaving Expert
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    I understand your point. And indeed I agree in tax transparency, I think we need people to understand that nothing is "free" its just a question of who pays the individual or the taxpayer.

    Yet I think that is a very differnet point to the direct transparency of telling people how much they need to give their children. Mine is an issue of communication of policy, yours is one of policy itself.
    Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
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  • edited 11 November 2016 at 8:47PM
    Paul_HerringPaul_Herring Forumite
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    edited 11 November 2016 at 8:47PM
    MSE_Martin wrote: »
    I understand your point.

    And I yours.

    You're attempting to fix the symptoms inherent in the problem that's been created.

    I'm proposing to fix the underlying problem so the symptoms aren't there to begin with.

    I do, however, appreciate the fact that you directly replied to my post. Thank you.
  • LinguaLingua Forumite
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    Once again (http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5531030#4) the point is missed about transparency about how much those of us without children are contributing to these students, most of whom won't actually be repaying loans. (Grants, by their nature, won't be repaid at all.)

    Perhaps if the apparent target of getting 50% of post-secondary students into university to study such esoteric subjects such as Women's Studies, Underwater Basket Weaving and The Politics of Harry Potter Through the Medium of Interpretive Dance was lowered, them more money would be available for the students of more worthwhile subjects (sciences e.g.) that result in real jobs based on the resultant degrees, and stuff like means-testing parent's income for the purposes of determining grants and loans wouldn't actually be necessary, since the 'pot' wouldn't be being spread so thinly.

    Or how much healthy folk contribute to the NHS, or how much childless people contribute to a state education system, etc. etc. ad nauseam.

    University-educated graduates should contribute more to the state and the overall economy than non-graduates due to the extra income they should, theoretically, gain over their working life. Of course, an increasing number of graduates means this 'graduate premium' is possibly being eroded.

    Nonetheless, student loans (and, for those who were lucky enough, grants) are/were a vital means for intelligent and able students from poorer backgrounds to better themselves and break out of what could well be a socio-economic cycle of family poverty / low income.

    My family is generous enough to contribute towards my university education but not every family wants to or can afford to. At least providing this information would create the chance for discussion and to promote awareness amongst parents who may not understand how much their children are losing because of their income.

    Lingua
    Long-Term Goal: £23'000 / £40'000 mortgage downpayment (2020)
  • VT82VT82 Forumite
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    Disappointing how rubbish the response is. Deliberately talking 'around' the subject at hand instead of actually addressing it on lots of occasions.

    Your suggestion makes sense and doesn't disadvantage anyone - why don't they just implement it instead of fighting it for no apparent gain? I guess they're hoping the pile of paperwork needed to constantly rebuff your argument will be slightly smaller than the pile of paperwork needed to just get on and do it?
  • Completely agree with everything you raised in your open letter. I am a 23yo student, with my own house and job and totally independent from my parents. Yet I am still entitled to minimum loan and assessed on my parents' income, as I can't be classed as an independent student unless I am married or have a baby?!
  • SenseicadsSenseicads Forumite
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    Surely you aren't going to let it go at that are you Martin? What are your next steps?
  • My wife died suddenly not long before our daughter started Uni. So, I am now a single parent on a single income. What saddens me is when I hear of divorced parents playing the system. The parent on the lesser income (say £15k pa) does the 'Means Test' whilst the partner on stacks of cash (say £50k pa) is deliberately kept out of the equation - although more than able to finance the student.


    On a completely different tack, the other irritating fact surrounds the number of lectures cancelled by the lecturer - often with little notice. My daughter also reported that no one in the class could understand the foreign lecturer's strong accent! In what other service area would the consumer/customer go without the goods and not complain? It seems that the parent is not able to do anything about this - as the Student is the customer? In an ideal world, the Student would possess the nous, assertiveness and wherewithal to take on the Faculty Head in a bid to do something about it. Of course - the reality is that many don't.


    Compared with Local Govt or the NHS, the Universities are awash with cash. The snaffling up of city centre real estate reflects that. I just want the service provided to match the price paid for it.
  • LinguaLingua Forumite
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    The quality of teaching can be hit and miss too. Not only that, but the number of contact hours can be tiny. A friend of mine doing English Literature only has 4/5 hours a week, and some of those hours are seminars led by postgrad students who don't know what they're talking about!

    It's crazy.


    Lingua
    Long-Term Goal: £23'000 / £40'000 mortgage downpayment (2020)
  • edited 17 November 2016 at 10:12AM
    Chris649Chris649 Forumite
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    edited 17 November 2016 at 10:12AM
    Such a poor response from Jo Johnson.

    University is anything but cheap and the funding gap that parents are expected to make up is substantial.

    The reality is that just because someone earns £x it does not mean they can or will fund such a substantial expense. There's zero regard for major expenses like mortgages, commuting, pensions, child care, parents in care homes. Even already having a child at university is not considered! How on earth can you test someone's means by only considering income?

    For a policy that's supposed to enable equal opportunity it's incredibly damaging. Students will pay the price for decades.
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