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Student bloody loan!

(17 Posts)
littlelamb Thu 28-Jul-05 10:23:51

HI I really hope someone can help me because this is driving me absolutely insane. I am a 21 year old university student, and I've just finished my second year. I had my daughter at the end of the first year, so she's now just a year old. Now it is the summer vacation I am entitled to income support and more housing benefit, but can someone PLEASE tell me why my paltry student loan counts as an income in these people's eyes!? The clue is surely in the name- LOAN!!!!!!!!! Why does it seem that I am being penalised for being in education? I would be financially better off just sat on my backside, which is surely hte kind of attitude they are trying to discourage. Is there any way I can get around declaring it? It just doesn't seem fair that I have to pay the loan back and yet in the governments eyes it is a straight income. Sorry for rant, but I am very angry and confused! All the people who have dealt with my claim have been equally hazy on the rules, this needs sorting out!

expatinscotland Thu 28-Jul-05 10:30:56

'Why does it seem that I am being penalised for being in education? I would be financially better off just sat on my backside, which is surely hte kind of attitude they are trying to discourage.'

That's the EXACT kind of attitude I think they have.

I'm a working poor mum who gets nothing but child benefit. Yet I also get to pay full whack for my tuition.

My SIL, on the other hand, who's never worked a day in her adult life and has two school-aged kids, is getting her training for free. Courtesy of the taxes I pay on a pitiful wage.

littlelamb Thu 28-Jul-05 10:36:43

It does seem that they look down at me for being at uni. No offense meant, but I don't think half the people who work in the job centre even know what a degree is. The lone parent advisor was very condescending (sp?) to me when I explained I was at uni, telling me 'We can set you up to do a couple of courses at college, maybe learn to use a computer' WTF!? She also very kindly suggested that, along with my full time studies and one year old child, I might think about getting a job. How hard is it for them to iunderstand that for me being on benefits is a temporary thing, while I've got no other choice. As soon as I graduate, I WILL get a job, thats the whole point! I resent being tarred with the same brush as all the teenage mothers who seem to hang around there. Again, no offense meant, but I am very wound up about this. I am standing as student parent rep next year, and am determined to lead a crusade to get this changed!

expatinscotland Thu 28-Jul-05 10:47:37

I sometimes wonder why I am struggling so hard to better myself. In fact, these days, I wonder about that a lot, when I see people kicking back doing nothing with the same income as I've got every month and getting a free degree course as well. And no worries about how they're gonna pay both rent and council tax and still eat, either.

SIL will sometimes moan to us about how 'nice' it must be to have a car. Does she realise who f*king expensive DH's lessons were? What it REALLY costs to get a driving license? Or how much we pay to insure, tax and maintain the thing? Not to mention petrol. So DH can use it to get to work - he works out in an area w/no local bus service. And this is a person who spends £35/week on fags - together w/her worthless partner, who's in his 30s and has never had a job.

Yet I'm the one paying £1800/pa for tuition to law school whilst paying for her to become a hairdresser.

Must be 'nice'.

Kelly1978 Thu 28-Jul-05 10:55:27

It is awfult eh way the system works. I would have loved to go baclk to uni rather than jsut sit on beneifts but I couldn't afford to do it. I started an ou degree instead, as that wouldn't affect income support. Prob won't be worth as much as a degree from a normal uni at the end of the day tho.

littlelamb Thu 28-Jul-05 11:04:25

In my eyes, and I know this is very idealistic, education is a right, not a priveledge for the few who can afford it. Surely the fact that I'm trying to better myself should count for something? How can they not see thart by making it financially possible for us to get degrees, we will be less depentant on benefit in the long run?! Oooo just wait, when I'm prime minister things will be different I may go and make a scene today and ask them to explain the definition of income to me again! What pees me off even more is that I got a hardship grant from the uni as I literally couldn't afford to eat, and the b*stards count that too! Can't win

Kelly1978 Thu 28-Jul-05 17:08:19

a mate of mine wanted to do a degree in psychology or counselling or soemthing, and wrote to her MP about the oack of funding for parents who want to do further education. The MP replied that they have to allocate funding for study on the basis that the majority of single parents that cannot read or write. Hence the courses offered by the jobcentre are How To Switch On A Computer etc.

littlelamb Thu 28-Jul-05 18:31:00

My MP couldn't give a sh*t either I wrote to him when the uni wouldn't help me with accomodation and landlords were turning me down flat. I got a reply two months later saying that he hoped my situation was sorted. Thanks for your help mate. This is what frustrates me the most, that the people with the power to cahnge things don't actually care themselves

littlelamb Tue 02-Aug-05 12:19:20

Ok I am getting angrier by the minute. As it's the holiday, my housing benefit has too be reassessed. Its just come back to me saying I'll get 34 pounds a week. My weekly rent is £150. What is going on? Why have they taken my grant into account? That goes straight to nursery, I don't see a penny of it. I'm sat here in tearsnow because I literally don't know what to do I'm already a month behind on rent. Have they miscalculated or am I totally in trouble?

expatinscotland Tue 02-Aug-05 12:21:28

I wish I could offer you something besides empathy, lamb, but our tax credits were cut off due to clerical errors and although we're appealing, they're cut until the appeal results, so we're in pretty dire straights financially ourselves.

littlelamb Tue 02-Aug-05 12:32:56

Sorry to hear that I just feel like I can't be bothered with this anymore. If they want me to be on the dole maybe I should I don't see how I can keep studying and it makes me so angry that they can't see that.

expatinscotland Tue 02-Aug-05 12:33:34

Can you increase your loan amount for this term/semester?

I know how you feel, though, I sometimes wonder why I bother.

littlelamb Tue 02-Aug-05 12:40:14

I am on maximum loan and grant which is why I'm so annoyed - they know that only the poorest students, who get no help from their family, get the maximum, so why do they still count it? I have no idea what to do. Looks like I'll have to get on the council list sharpish, there's no way my landlord's going to put up with this. I haven't paid dd's nursery bill from last term either. I just want to know how they honestly expect me to live on that much. I wish this didn't get to me so much, but it's really getting me down, it's like banging my head against a bloody brick wall

expatinscotland Tue 02-Aug-05 14:34:19

Make an appointment with a housing officer NOW and bring all the paperwork explaining your situation - loan award notes, grant award notes, bills from nursery, tenancy agreement, etc.

Lay it on thick, b/c this is what they're there for: you will be HOMELESS and in debt and should be considered a priority.

Catsmother Tue 02-Aug-05 15:32:13

I'm so sorry to read your troubles. The whole thing sounds like a farce and I can completely understand why you're so angry when you're trying to make things better for yourself and your child rather than rely on loans.

I also put myself through Uni when a single mum - and frankly, you have to be dedicated to do that .... essays into the early hours are no fun, and with a child, it's almost impossible to work during holidays. Basically, I came out of Uni (with a 1st) owing approx. £12k, before student loans ! Little by little, I paid the £12k back and after a few years, was earning enough to start to have to pay back the SL too (I went to Uni 94-97, when salary thresholds for payback were set higher than they are now I believe) until 2 years ago when I had my second child and have been a SAHM since (though working p/t). Though I am now exempt from payback - for the moment - be warned that if you're p*ssed off now, you're gonna be even more p*ssed when you discover (if you don't know already) what the Loans Co. count as income once you've graduated ...

.... basically, practically any sort of benefit is counted as income and added to your salaried income, with the exception if memory serves of various disability related ones. This means for example, that if on graduating, you can only get a relatively low paid job (which is reality for many graduates, as I think the market is effectively flooded these days) and are therefore entitled to, say, Housing Benefit, this could well push you over the threshold for payback, and in doing so, end up even worse off. Unless you can secure a very well paid job therefore, you may actually be better off getting a crap paid one and relying on benefits even more, rather than ending up financially penalised for accepting a "middling" salary.

The most awful thing though .... is ..... get this ..... that effing Child Benefit is counted as income ! I think this is absolutely outrageous as this is intended to benefit the child, yet feasibly, CB of about £60 pm (for one child) could push you over the threshold and force the borrower to have to start paying back far more than that in repayments. There is no sliding scale ....

How on earth can a benefit which was introduced specifically for children be counted as income in these circumstances ??!!! It makes my blood boil to even think about it as I'm typing ....

Littlelamb, sorry, I've gone off on one a bit there and don't really know what to suggest re: your current predicament. It seems insane and you must feel you've fallen down the rabbit-hole so to speak. Have you tried the CAB ? ..... and, like expat suggests, you need to demand to see a Housing Officer on an emergency appointment. You can not be made homeless with a child surely ?

Catsmother Tue 02-Aug-05 15:32:53

Ist line of previous post should read "rely on benefits"

littlelamb Tue 02-Aug-05 16:10:32

Thanks Catsmother. I've calmed down a bit now. I finally got an appointment to apply for income support today, which they said should take a few days to clear. I'm going to leave the seeing the council til after that's awarded because they're so damn useless I know that if I go before it's gone through they will get their knickers into an even bigger twist and probably give me even less. It is just beyond me why they find this stuff so difficult. My landlord has been lovely so far, but I am left wondering whether it's in my interest to actually get evicted, because then they'll have to help me. Thats a very scary thought though. My upstairs neighbour works for the homeless charity here and says that what's really rubbish is that you have to have to actually be homeless before they will help you, not just threatened with it. Bloody lunacy

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