Over the past few days I have been doing some preparatory reading for my 2nd year at university; but today I didn’t feel like reading. In fact I didn’t feel like even thinking about university and I certainly avoided the news sites I frequently visit.
This was after I awoke to discover that the government has decided to abolish student maintenance grants from 2016. In reality this should not have come as a shock as it is just what we students have come to expect from those in charge. However, it hurt. For someone who’s budgeted tightly to ensure university remains a possibility, it was difficult to be faced with a sudden £3300 hole.
The maintenance grant was cut simply because the Department of Business were told they needed to make over 2bn pounds worth of cuts so they saw the grants as an easy target. No consultation, no analysing the impact of their decision. Instead they spewed out the rhetoric that was used to justify tuition fee increases: “students don’t care about debt, they just need enough money to get through university.”
Who told you that! What they don’t realise is that this grant which was reserved for the poorer students was a lifeline. Many used it to pay for their rent, bills, books and technology whilst others used it to pay their fees. As you are aware, I am amongst that group hence my devastation.
The government answer is to replace it with a loan which means that should a normal student choose to make use of it, they would leave university with over £60,000 debt! (Tuition fees, maintenence loan, additional maintenance loan.) Yes you read that right. There is already a maintenance loan available so transforming the grant into a loan makes no sense. Except of course for the government’s pockets.
The fact is I could hardly bring myself to write this post because I am sick of how students and young adults are being treated. We are constantly being told that cuts have to be made for the greater good yet it is always us who seem to have it worst. Wednesday’s budget announced tax cuts for the richest whilst restricting the new living wage to only over 25s. Is it any wonder that up and down the country young adults view the government in only disgust?
Later in the day I received an email urging me to sign a petition to persuade the government to change their decision. I signed it knowing that it is a lost cause. The powers that be make these decisions without taking into consideration their impact. As long as it makes sense financially then they are happy but the human aspect is lost on them. They are cold, ruthless and it seems they want to join the United States in becoming the worldbtarget for jokes about ridiculous student debt.
The UK government like it has been doing throughout my teenage years, has failed its students and failed its future.
Until Next Time
A Worried Student