The current student loan system is untenable and will not be sustainable in the long term, as over 60% of students are unlikely to pay off the loan, leaving a deficit in the funding.
Everyone benefits from a society where people are educated, not just the individual, therefore the cost should be born in general taxation via income tax, if need be coupled with significant subsidies / contributions from the industries, businesses and corporations who benefit from having university educated employees, surely a more equitable and sustainable solution.
Apart from the basic dysfunctionality of the current system, the fact that the existing loans’ terms can be changed retrospectively and sold on to private companies is an absolute scandal: not all graduates go on to earn high salaries but the threshold for paying back is now being frozen so that those on low salaries will pay back sooner than first advertised; the loan interest rates are being raised to 6.1%, way above inflation; what other loan allows for retrospective changes in the way the student loan is structured? Although those from poorer families are taking up degrees, the numbers who drop out have significantly increased now that the maintenance grant has been scrapped and those from lower middle income families are either subsidised to such an extent by their parents that their parents are unable to save adequately for retirement. Students are also choosing to opt for degrees which will lead onto more financially lucrative professions, which, further down line will lead and is leading to shortages in certain areas eg teaching where the turnover of Maths teachers, among many other subjects, leaving the profession is of great concern.
We have the most expensive university education in Europe. Moreover, young people of 18 years generally do not have the financial experience to be properly aware of the consequences in later life of the debt they will be taking on.
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By Cheryl Johnson
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