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  • FIRST POST
    • Former MSE Helen
    • By Former MSE Helen 21st Nov 11, 12:56 PM
    • 2,324Posts
    • 971Thanks
    Former MSE Helen
    ''You can afford to go to uni' the message is getting through' blog discussion
    • #1
    • 21st Nov 11, 12:56 PM
    ''You can afford to go to uni' the message is getting through' blog discussion 21st Nov 11 at 12:56 PM
    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.
Page 1
  • tagq2
    • #2
    • 21st Nov 11, 1:44 PM
    • #2
    • 21st Nov 11, 1:44 PM
    Let me just check: if I were 18 again and my parents earnt, say, 60k/year between them but didn't want to fund my education, I would be eligible for full financial support via the student loans scheme?
  • jjblondie
    • #3
    • 21st Nov 11, 4:39 PM
    • #3
    • 21st Nov 11, 4:39 PM
    Let me just check: if I were 18 again and my parents earnt, say, 60k/year between them but didn't want to fund my education, I would be eligible for full financial support via the student loans scheme?
    Originally posted by tagq2
    From what I have received and understand, you would only get the basic 3/4 maintenance loan (usually almost enough to pay for housing!) and no grant etc. Luckily I have part time jobs and my parents can give me a little money.
    • wozearly
    • By wozearly 21st Nov 11, 5:54 PM
    • 202 Posts
    • 210 Thanks
    wozearly
    • #4
    • 21st Nov 11, 5:54 PM
    • #4
    • 21st Nov 11, 5:54 PM
    Let me just check: if I were 18 again and my parents earnt, say, 60k/year between them but didn't want to fund my education, I would be eligible for full financial support via the student loans scheme?
    Originally posted by tagq2
    Its a bit messy - that depends what you're getting at by full financial support.

    My understanding is that the tuition fees part and a sizeable chunk of the maintenance loan (72% of maximum IIRC) is not income assessed in any way.

    Eligibility for the remainder of the maintenance loan and any maintenance grant is assessed based on household income (and other factors are taken into account, e.g. other dependent children).

    For dependent students, parents' income is assessed (likely to be the case for an 18 year old), irrespective of whether they plan to support their child or not. For independent students, their own income and the income of any partner is assessed.

    Just to make life more complicated, the maintenance loan amount itself also varies depending on whether you are living at home, living away from home and studying inside, or outside, of London.

    Plus, other grants are available if you have dependent children of your own or are disabled.


    Back to your example. Income assessment begins once household income goes over 50,778 (IIRC), so for every 5 you go over that threshold, 1 gets knocked off the loan eligibility until you reach 72%.

    60,000 is enough to remove eligibility for the income assessed part for all except students away from home and studying in London, where it falls about 500 short of removing all of it.

    For reference, once we hit 2012/2013 starters, only 65% of the maintenance loan will not be income assessed.


    So in answer to your question, you are eligible for the majority of financial support available, but you lose 28% from the maximum maintenance loan because of your parents / your income (the assumption is that they / you will make up the shortfall of about 1,500 - 2,000 per year).

    Depending on your personal circumstances, there may then be other grants available.

    There is no way to say "My parents don't want to pay, so assess me as if their income was 0". If there was, every parent would conveniently say they didn't want to pay. As far as the student loan system is concerned, a household income of 60,000 wipes out eligibility for income-assessed support in almost all situations.


    In terms of what that means in reality, about 9 years ago I had 90%+ of the maintenance loan. I received some financial support from parents (on the condition I didn't take up any part-time jobs during term-time) and came in with a few thousand built up from working for 5 months before starting uni, used the full 3k overdraft on my account, kept my spending down tightly (but kept some free to have fun outside of studying) and came out after three years with about 5 to spare before crossing the overdraft limit.

    Had I tried that as an 18 year old going straight into uni on a 72% maintenance loan with no money built up and no parental support, that would have been painful. It might have been possible, technically, but realistically I think that would have involved taking part-time work during term-time and pushing spending down to the absolute minimum. I imagine that it would have made for quite an unpleasant three years...
    Last edited by wozearly; 21-11-2011 at 6:06 PM.
    • poppy10
    • By poppy10 21st Nov 11, 11:01 PM
    • 6,176 Posts
    • 7,489 Thanks
    poppy10
    • #5
    • 21st Nov 11, 11:01 PM
    • #5
    • 21st Nov 11, 11:01 PM
    I was astonished, he doesn’t normally say much about school, but he came home last night and told me that I needn’t worry about the cost of him going to university because he won’t have to pay anything to start with
    Great attitude to promote amongst our youth. Presumably there will also be campaigns to encourage more people to take out agreements to purchase plasma screen tellies from Brighthouse and take out payday loans from Wonga, because you don't need to pay anything up front.

    This new system is going to saddle the average student with 27k of debt, no matter how much you try to dress it up.
    Last edited by poppy10; 21-11-2011 at 11:03 PM.
  • robtee
    • #6
    • 21st Nov 11, 11:01 PM
    • #6
    • 21st Nov 11, 11:01 PM
    Thanks for the advice and the guides. The campaign to help young people make the right decision in a well-informed way is admirable.

    However.... I'm going to go on an off topic rant here, so apologies in advance and I hope you think it's worth it.

    Understanding what you are entitled to is one thing, but receiving it without undergoing considerable stress can be another thing altogether. In extreme cases, receiving it at all proves impossible.

    I am talking about the performance of the Student Loans Company.

    Nothing, but nothing, can prepare you for the ineptitude, intransigence, and immunity to complaint of the SLC.

    I know that you've now got me marked down as one disaffected customer using a forum to sound off.... and you're right. But my own not-very-scientific survey (i.e. friends, colleagues and web searches) suggests that the customer experience of SLC is neutral at best, and absolutely abysmal at worst. So I do think that there is a real issue here. In fact it's such an issue that it's difficult to understand why it's not already front page news, and top of David Willetts' to-do list.

    I fully support MSE's advice to help young people make a good decision about higher education. However, some of the horror stories about SLC do raise questions about the advisability of going to Uni if you don't have resources to fall back on (e.g. parents with sufficient income to help) if the worst happens. And that is a completely unacceptable situation.

    I would welcome it if MSE, with its considerable reach and influence, would subject SLC's performance to some scrutiny. The potential social benefits are considerable. How about it, Martin?
  • 2sides2everystory
    • #7
    • 21st Nov 11, 11:47 PM
    • #7
    • 21st Nov 11, 11:47 PM
    I would welcome it if MSE, with its considerable reach and influence, would subject SLC's performance to some scrutiny. The potential social benefits are considerable. How about it, Martin?
    Originally posted by robtee
    I would welcome it if MSE subjected the whole House Of Cards to robust scrutiny, but MSE has no experience as a ratings agency capable of rating the UK's ability to stabilise such a loan scheme over the short, medium or long term. Maybe then it ought to just butt out from facilitating the government's mis-selling of the scheme to anyone, but especially to impressionable young minds.

    But hell, there must be worse things than our young people being shackled to SLC right? They might not get letters after their names which are the meal tickets to the bigger bucks needed to demonstrate success in this crazy world. Everyone should strive for bigger bucks and if it means signing up for something, and hey they let you in, then hell - that must be the way to go.

    Soon I guess we needn't be surprised if we read that it has been re-established that nicotine in cigarettes really does calm exam nerves and the chances of dying over the next 30 years from smoking related illness are pretty slight. If you conduct your smoking sensibly during your studies and if you stay below 10 a day after your graduate, then you might concentrate better at work. You'll earn more than average as a result, and you'll not die noticeably any faster than your non-smoking exam wreck peers. The great unknown is of course the addiction you'll have signed up for for the promise of good times ahead, and how that might be varied or even sunk by what successive governments might do with tobacco tax.

    That's what you really might consider as the problem, the tax, not the disease, or the debt, and the decision you need to take is whether it is currently worth it. The Government so far has not promised to keep the price of a pack of twenty cigarettes below 7 but they have no intentions of increasing the price for the forseeable future. The choice is yours. You are all old enough to make up your own minds. Hell some of you may even be comfortable with this stuff already and be a stage beyond Pro-plus and functioning perfectly AND paying for the stuff on revolving credit card balance transfers and avoiding the pitfalls of buying a pack or two extra each month using your new 10 overdraft buffer with Cameron's promise of a new limit on charges.

    What do we parents really know?

    However if you are planning on being both a graduate and a smoker over the next few years then God help you in your bid to outrun tax, debt and disease!
    Last edited by 2sides2everystory; 22-11-2011 at 12:25 AM.
  • antonia1
    • #8
    • 22nd Nov 11, 10:41 AM
    • #8
    • 22nd Nov 11, 10:41 AM
    Hi Martin, congratulations that the message is getting through! Please don't stop your good work though, I had to spend around an hour explaining it all to my step-mother this weekend. She thought my youngest sister (aged 15 at the moment) might have to reconsider her plans to study at university because my parents can't afford to help her out very much. So now all my sister has to do is get good grades and choose a course with real job prospects!

    Also, robtee, SLC are useless - I have written to my MP quite a few times about it. Perhaps putting them within the remit the FSA or similar would help.
    Last edited by antonia1; 22-11-2011 at 10:49 AM.
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    • poppy10
    • By poppy10 22nd Nov 11, 8:32 PM
    • 6,176 Posts
    • 7,489 Thanks
    poppy10
    • #9
    • 22nd Nov 11, 8:32 PM
    • #9
    • 22nd Nov 11, 8:32 PM
    The Daily Mail is not happy with the University Minister David Willetts' "flippancy" in how he is spinning the tuition fees rise - even though he is spouting essentially the same line as MSE Martin.

    'Don't be frightened by your 70,000 student debt... it's just a lifetime of payments': Outrage at flippancy of universities minister
    David Willetts said youngsters put off going to university by fees of up to 9,000 a year were wrong to think of student loans as being like credit-card debt because they would not have to repay any money until they earned above 21,000.

    Instead, he urged them to think of the 70,000 they could end up owing, taking in living expenses and interest on their loans, as a flow of payments over a lifetime.

    Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, said: 'From next year England will be the most expensive place in world in which to study at a public university.
    'Mr Willetts' comments are a blatant attempt to try and find an acceptable name for fleecing students and the state abdicating its responsibilities for our young people.
    If the minister is insistent on calling this a tax then he should call it a tax on learning and ambition.'
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