Is the student loan system unfair?Posted: 2nd of April 2015 by
We are all familiar with the argument about whether tuition fees are too high but what about the costs of living at uni...is the student loan system unfair?
Student loans are calculated based on your household income. Tuition fees are the same for everybody but the amount that a student receives as a maintenance grant or loan is income assessed and for many students the most immediate issue with studying for a university degree is the cost of accommodation and living, which is literally pricing them out of university.
Students receive their funding in three ‘packages’ over the course of the year – the loan amount that you receive is based on your household income and at the moment the amounts available are shown below.
Maintenance grants and the costs of living
There are maintenance grants available also, which do not have to be repaid, but if your family household income is above £42,600 you get mothing.
The problem is this – even if you get the maximum for outside London, which is £5,750 a year – your rent will often be around £100 a week – often much more. A crude calculation then would be this – you get apx £1916 each term and your rent is at best going to cost you £1200 a term, leaving you £716 for the term for everything else – that’s £179 for each month approximately…and this is if you get the maximum loan!
The sad truth is that many students find themselves receiving loans that do not actually cover their rent at all let alone other costs like travel, books and food. They either have to work whilst being a full time student or they have to rely on parents to supplement their loan.
Is the student loan system unfair?
Because loans and grants are means tested – this means that what you get depends on your household income, so, if your parents are incredibly wealthy (wealth is not the same as income, which is how much money comes in through earnings etc.) then you could get the maximum amount.
Others like Samuel Diserens from Durham University, speaking to the Guardian have said that: “My mum had recently moved in with a new partner, now her husband. Even though he wasn’t paying a penny towards my education, his income was taken into consideration and affected how much loan I received.” – So, is it time for an overhaul of the student loan system?
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