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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.

DalmationDots Sun 25-Aug-13 09:14:11

DD is at Bristol and there are very very few student housing contracts less than 12 months. DS is in London and it is totally different, he can find accommodation weeks before needing to move in and only rent for 9 months. His accommodation is, of course, very expensive though although his loan accounts for this.

Both get no assistance from anyone, before they started we felt very guilty and worried if they would be able to survive and not get in too greater debt. They worked all summer though and prior to university had Saturday jobs where they put money towards uni and cope just fine.

The way you pay back Student Finance (if you began uni in 2011 or before) is IMO reasonable and will not impact DC too much compared to their peers whose parents paid for everything... who seem to be a large majority from my DC's experiences but maybe that is not reflective of everyone.

I suspect with the 9k fees (which we luckily just avoided) it is all much tougher though.

yellowballoons Sun 25-Aug-13 09:19:19

London may be different because, they have got all those tourists who can take some short term places. Plus graduates start jobs in London from June onwards.

notallytuts Sun 25-Aug-13 23:14:33

Absolutely not fit for purpose. My friends at uni from low income families had nearly 10k a year and less than half of that was loans! Friends from families with higher income, who for whatever reason couldnt bankroll them, got the minimum loan (less than 4k) and very minimal contributions from parents on top.

Student finance decrease the amount of loan you get by 50p for each pound of grant that you are entitled to - so not only do students from 'richer' families have bigger loans to pay back, they have less money to live off in the mean time too.

The same money should be available to everyone. Student accomodation pricing has gone up stupid amounts in the last 5 years!

SilverApples Sun 25-Aug-13 23:21:33

DD's maintenance loan is apparently £3,300. Which is exactly the 11 months rent she needs to pay from August 2013 to June 2014.
So she has nothing to pay bills, food, transport, clothes...etc.

So as a 22 year old adult, she is left with few options. As are we.

twistyfeet Mon 26-Aug-13 10:49:41

low income families dont get nearly 10K a year! I wish! Un;ess you are counting the fee loan as well which everyone gets. Or a bursery from a rich university like Oxford.

happyinherts Mon 26-Aug-13 11:53:44

Well my son's is £9670.00 maintenance loan and grant

Tuition fee is £8200 paid direct from student finance to uni

He will receive £9670 split into 3 installments, sept jan april

twistyfeet Mon 26-Aug-13 12:02:57

ds is astonished. He gets full grant and loan is its roughly £6500. As is ds2's. We are on benefits.

twistyfeet Mon 26-Aug-13 12:14:21

ah, might be because he started in 2011 and is outside London. But it sucks as his rent (12 month cotract is £5200)

happyinherts Mon 26-Aug-13 12:14:41

We have a far lower income with minimum wage pt income and no benefits or tax credit / child benefit now

That is what was awarded together with national scholarship for disadvantaged student of £2000 to be deducted off loan when repayments eventually come into play

happyinherts Mon 26-Aug-13 12:16:35

My son's accommodation is outside London and is only a few pennies short of £5000

twistyfeet Mon 26-Aug-13 12:19:57

ds2 starts this year and should get the loan of £5500 and grant of £3,354 but despite having all the info from May, exactly the same as his brother we've heard nothing from Student Finance except repeated requests for pay slips we dont have. I've made repeated calls <sob>. He starts in 3 weeks! And needs a Hall deposit we dont have.

twistyfeet Mon 26-Aug-13 12:21:05

What is the Disadvantaged scholarship?

cumfy Mon 26-Aug-13 12:27:13

happyinherts Mon 26-Aug-13 11:53:44

Well my son's is £9670.00 maintenance loan and grant

That sounds very straightforward to survive on; is that the standard loan ?

happyinherts Mon 26-Aug-13 12:28:54

Its called National Scholarship - administrated by university with general criteria for disadvanted students

ie, family income under £25000 First in family to enter higher education etc

Millais Mon 26-Aug-13 12:30:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

twistyfeet Mon 26-Aug-13 12:32:13

Clearly not if you add up the figures for max loan and max grant
Its £8854 which is a lot better than pre 2013 students used to get which was £6500 max. Hence ds1 still getting that while ds2 should get £2k more despite them paying the same amount in rent.
There is now some bitching going on in my house as you can imagine! grin

twistyfeet Mon 26-Aug-13 12:38:42

Millais, ds1 has managed living on £1500 roughly a year. He walks everywhere, lives on rice and beans and doesnt drink. Pretty often he descends on us and eats which stretches our benefits. He doesnt buy clothes. It is do-able but loads are in the same boat. dd was richer but she went to a university that gave burseries. She also walked everywhere but had a textbook heavy course. Her grandparents gave her a nook (?) and eBooks were cheaper than real ones. It does look like my ds2 will be rolling in cash compared to his siblings. The rent will take the entire loan but he can live on that grant easy.

twistyfeet Mon 26-Aug-13 12:49:40

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.

He is not going to be happy. So he will be living on £1900 for the year. I hope Physics books arent expensive.

JustGettingOnWithIt Mon 26-Aug-13 15:39:34

Twisty yes, the more grant/s you get, the less you’re allowed to borrow.

We’re on a very low income, ds (1st to go to uni) will get combined loan and grant s of £6592, to go to a London uni, from home (but not walkable) and in theory will have more annually to live off than me.

But reality is, we think he’ll be paying around £600 in travel and council will have around £4,680 of it for rent, leaving him 1,312 for everything else, and us combining budgets for food etc. (Praying the council don’t hit him for CT too)

The expense of this fresher’s week malarkey worries me as well, but he’s deferred for a year so every penny will be put aside and it looks like 2014 students may get a £540 long courses loan as well, (hopes they don’t knock it off the grant!) but we think his share of expected rent increase £260 (actual increase is double) will leave him at £1602.

He’s happy as he thinks he’ll be set up for good earnings later, I’m a bit worried tbh, but we got this far so…

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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