Are student loans fit for purpose ?

(94 Posts)
cumfy Thu 22-Aug-13 14:31:53

I just wondered since there seems to be quite a few bursary/fee waiver offers dependent on proof of low income of the parents.

Surely this shouldn't be an issue any more ?

I would have hoped that if student loans were working properly, access would be equal and adequate for all.

Chunderella Fri 06-Sep-13 08:29:16

Katkins I'm sorry but it's very naive to say that students can just get a part time job if they don't have enough to live on. Those are like gold dust now. It simply isn't a realistic option for many, which means it isn't a viable solution to the problem of loans and grants not covering living costs. Which they don't always, even if they do for you.

Best of luck with your studies.

TheAlphaandtheOmega Wed 28-Aug-13 19:47:57

The thing is its not just this years halls rent that has to be paid, when the student sorts out the shared house for next year there's stuff like deposits, agency fees and part of the rent to pay and all to come out of this years loan/grant/bank of parent.

Fuzzymum1 Tue 27-Aug-13 11:15:01

DS will get part grant and part loan with a total just below £7k - His (partially catered) halls accommodation is just below £4700. He could live on the rest but my parents have offered to top his income up by £200 a month - he's planning to save as much of that as he can to make next year a little easier as he will have to find a room to rent somewhere. He's also only 15 miles from home and plans to come home at weekends to continue with his part time job. He will be able to walk to uni this year as the halls are about 1/2 a mile away but who knows where he will be next year.

Two of his friends who are at the same uni haven't be able to afford to pay the deposit on halls so are having to live at home and commute - something only possible because they're going to a local uni. Student finance needs to make a small part of the finance available to low income students so they can at least book their accommodation - or the accommodation need to be a bit more flexible. Thankfully we could play his deposit and have set him up with a basic kit of stuff but I know one of his friends parents would struggle to to do either.

Katkins1 Mon 26-Aug-13 23:54:01

Justgettingonwithit, I was in in the same sort of situation. I am also deaf; so it was quite hard for me and I don't work in term-time, I couldn't find a job this holiday either. But I'm still Ok (slightly, but not massively overdrawn, with three weeks until I get SF). Like II said, I have PTSD and I work so hard and so long for my grades, especially as I've not done GCSE or A-Level in my subject area (mature student).

Disabled Students can get housing benefit, I've heard, so he might qualify. He could also try access to learning funds. I agree with you- there is a lot to be gained from degree level. I want to teach in HE now, I've loved my degree.

It can be done, you just need to be careful. It can be very, very tempting when friends are going out, on holiday and everything, not to mention disheartening. But I always think of the long term gain. In the long run, graduates end up on better salaries. Not me though, I'm going on to an MA (I hope!).

Silverapples, I was on benefits before uni (long story, quite a horrible time). I started with nothing, I have nothing more. But I'm a lot more intelligent than when I began. So, you don't need all that much money. Just coffee, lots and lots of coffee, to study.

SilverApples Mon 26-Aug-13 22:59:21

Money management is a life skill, but you need the money in the first place.

JustGettingOnWithIt Mon 26-Aug-13 22:53:39

Totally agree that money management is part of growing up but ds’s uni has actively specified they don’t want him working during term because of the difficulties sn’s are going to cause anyway with study. I'm hoping he’ll be able to get work in the holidays, if not then we’ll get by somehow.

He’s done very well to get in (and to find a decent uni that can see past his difficulties and are prepared to support his ambitions) but experience says he'll probably have to work twice as long and hard as most to get himself through a degree, (with the potential of him buggering it up quite high) but it’s a great opportunity.

I already know some question if someone like him should go, but while he may not be as good an all-rounder as many others, as in able to study, live independently and work simultaneously, he is intelligent and potentially has a lot to offer back through receiving degree level education, and while we’d be massively better off financially, it would actually cost everyone else considerably more to keep him on the low expectations SN path expected of him as well as wasting his potential.

I don’t think anyone should be penalised well off or not and think if we don’t invest in educating people at whatever level they’re capable of and interested in, we’re storing up a lot of problems for later.

alreadytaken Mon 26-Aug-13 22:20:31

sorry I think I'm ging to have to stop posting from this machine as it double posts and then freezes on me.

alreadytaken Mon 26-Aug-13 22:18:57

the government is trying to up the grade requirements by allowing universities as many students above a certain level as they can take.

The rational behind loans for those at home is that they may still be paying rent, some families can't afford to go on housing an adult child.

Drop outs have to pay back their loans.

As interest rates are well above inflation only a fool takes the loan and puts in in an ISA now.

Science degrees are subsidised by the government, I dont think universites get anything from the government now for arts courses.

alreadytaken Mon 26-Aug-13 22:16:18

the government is trying to up the grade requirements by allowing universities as many students above a certain level as they can take.

The rational behind loans for those at home is that they may still be paying rent, some families can't afford to go on housing an adult child.

Drop outs have to pay back their loans.

As interest rates are well above inflation only a fool takes the loan and puts in in an ISA now.

Science degrees are subsidised by the government, I dont think universites get anything from the government now for arts courses.

twistyfeet Mon 26-Aug-13 22:01:58

the grade requirements should be high. Degrees arent smarties. They should be HARD!

SilverApples Mon 26-Aug-13 22:00:56

I think that is what unis should be, academic centres of excellence. Combined with a massive apprenticeship programme for skills-based careers.
Equal but different.

yellowballoons Mon 26-Aug-13 21:49:13

But if the grade requirements are high, we are back to only 5 or 10% going to uni.
Though not such a bad thing imo.

SilverApples Mon 26-Aug-13 21:27:06

'I don't see, however, how the country could afford grants for all.'

By ensuring that the grade requirements were high, and by making anyone who dropped out revert to paying back the grant once their income hit £21,000 or whatever the threshold is now. In the same way they would have done a loan.

OttilieKnackered Mon 26-Aug-13 21:24:16

SFE are a sick joke. The three years I was at university, (2006-2009) not once did they pay the first instalment on time, leading to major rent problems.

To address a few other issues brought up:

I see the point of those saying that it should be equal loans for all, but that can end up just as unfair, because the majority of comfortably off parents DO help their kids out. I knew a lot of people who claimed the loan then stuck the whole lot in an ISA as mummy and daddy were paying their rent.

The maintenance loan is only slightly different for those living at home/away. It's ludicrous. Clearly rent is going to be the biggest outlay. How is that accounted for with a £1000 per year difference?

Why do all degrees cost the same? The only resources needed for my English degree were the books already in the library and the four hours contact time per week. How can that possibly cost the same as a science degree with full time hours and lots of equipment?

This is a subject that enrages me.

twistyfeet Mon 26-Aug-13 20:17:22

that would be £5k
blush
Clearly I didnt do Maths...

twistyfeet Mon 26-Aug-13 20:16:44

it could if we went back to not needing degrees to shelf stack at Tesco's like it used to be.
There must be a balance between the ridiculous elitism where only the rich went (I was the only person off my estate to go and I refuse to believe I was the only person capable back then in the 80's) and now when it seems everyone and her dog goes and does 'Leisure studies'.
But then I also think education pays the country back and is worth investing in or we wouldnt bother educating to 18 would we? So perhaps we should invest £5 a year for our young people, if able, to do free degrees.
Mixed and rambling thoughts there.

mumblechum1 Mon 26-Aug-13 20:03:18

I don't have any objection to loans for all, being the same for everyone except for a London weighting. So my DS, coming from a relatively comfortable background, should be able to borrow as much as someone whose parents don't work. Level playing field for all, that way.

I don't see, however, how the country could afford grants for all.

twistyfeet Mon 26-Aug-13 18:21:33

I agree, grants for all. These students are adults and its ridiculous that parental income should be relied upon. So far the loan has always arrived in time and when dd and ds1 were in Halls they waited for the deposit as no way could we stump up before hand. I have no idea what we will do if ds2's is late as the SF is dicking about. You'd think given as they have all our financial details stretching back 4 years this wouldnt be an issue but noooooooo......

Katkins1 Mon 26-Aug-13 18:13:24

I agree grants for all. And the student finance will not be paid on the date stated, it never is, so make sure she has enough to last her a bit longer. Sometimes, it takes a week because of enrolment and admin. Sorry to tell you that, but I've been there and its a real pain.

SilverApples Mon 26-Aug-13 18:04:55

I think DD is getting hers on 21st.
We've already stumped up for rent in August, September and the deposit. She'll need to have cash from 14th to live on.
Katkins, it is very hard to find jobs that fit around the course and don't require late nights and no transport. I'm delighted that you are managing, DD will struggle without us as the MG exactly matches her rent.
I want grants for everyone, and the only barrier being academic ability to do the course.

mumblechum1 Mon 26-Aug-13 17:48:54

What date to they get the first instalment of the loan btw? DS starts on 7th September and I suspect he won't get any loan till late September?

mumblechum1 Mon 26-Aug-13 17:47:36

*WTF. I just did the Student finance calculator and according to it, because ds2 qualifies for the full grant of £3354, he will only get a loan of £3823. I didnt know they reduced the loan if you got the grant.
So £7177*

Minus the rent of £5200

It seems that whatever your circumstances (we're at the other end of the scale, the max DS can get is £3,300 and no bursaries/grants), they're going to struggle.

As it happens, I am able to pay the £5k DS needs for accommodation, but what he would do if he were estranged I don't know.

Just not go, I guess.

twistyfeet Mon 26-Aug-13 17:32:30

I agree Katkins. Budgeting is a life lesson. DS1 is fed up when part of his study group fail to show up because they cant be arsed. ffs, they are taking out loans most of them that have to be paid back and they cant be bothered to get out of bed. The richer ones whose parents bankroll them piss about and dont appreciate the chance they are getting and stop the others learning when they are lab groups or partners. DS has aspergers so is very serious about this and has a real go at them.

Katkins1 Mon 26-Aug-13 17:23:06

I'm a single Mum and in my third year of undergrad, on the old loans system. Student loans ARE liveable off, you just have to live very cheaply, I don't drive, don't go abroad (some friends from uni have been 3 times this year!), festivals, shop at topshop, have take- away or blow a huge amount in the student bar (in fact, I don't drink at all). Lots of my friends live with , or get help, from their parents. and/or work. If I didn't have a little one, I'd be working my way through University too.

It's harder for me than other students, at the minute, I've struggled for school uniform and everything, I don't know how I will cope until my next instalment comes from SFE. It's paid way too late.

I leave my house at 6.50am to get my dd to child-minders and me on the bus in time. I have to watch every penny, and never get the holidays that they do- or the rest. I run a house and do everything on my own, as I have no family to help. I also have PTSD.

I get around 4k of student loan, some grant and 80% of childcare paid, I pay the rest myself. I buy books, my laptop, everything... out of my loan. So, the point I'm trying to make is that it is a struggle (hugely!), but do-able. Great, if parents support their kids at uni, but remind them its a privilege, not a right.

And because its my money that I will be paying back, I work hard, and get a first (not boasting there, but that's part of my motivation. I can't stand it when I see other students not turning up, and wasting SFE grants and all that wonderful family support.). So, they need to learn to make their loans last. 20% of mine goes straight on childcare. There's no fall back plan for me, so I try and save where I can. It's really, really hard though.

If, as a parent, you can't afford to support them through uni, they can get a part-time job. Sorry to sound harsh, but this is a learning curve for any student. Money management is part of growing up.

SilverApples Mon 26-Aug-13 17:03:42

Library, and a lot of the stuff/powerpoints from lectures will be posted on the uni intranet.

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