The Government Has Failed Students – Again


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

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30 thoughts on “The Government Has Failed Students – Again

  1. It is so so so sad. I don’t know if my brother and little sister will make it to university. But it’s not a lost cause to protest. Join in national demos – it is the numbers that scare them. In Germany they protested for several years before the government finally listened to them. So don’t give up faith.

    It’s so sad that we’re moving more and more closer to an American structure where debt is considered normal.

    It also effects people who don’t want to take a loan out. They just have no hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes it is. One of the things that has made me loose hope is that yes, the numbers are there yet the government just ignore them. Thousands of students marched against raising tuition fees but what happened? Nothing at all. There is no positive change in sight for students, well there doesn’t seem to be at the moment.
      Yeah, the idea of debt is terrifying for so many, students don’t want to begin life with a mountain of debt hanging over them.

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      • 10000s marched but not everyone. In Germany it was so many many more which got the results. I think in this country, too many student rely on others and then complain when no positive outcome happens. We should all be in the streets – and only then can we get effective change. Look at the train drivers for example, 97% of them are unionised and they have amazing pay and working conditions. Imagine if 97% or even 50% of all college and university students took to the streets – would be amazing – they would be forced to listen to us.

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  2. I was so frustrated when I heard the news, how does the government think this is encouraging young people from low income families to take the leap into an ever increasing pool of debt? It’s also further alienating some groups of people who do not agree with paying interest. There are just too many reasons to explain why this is wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I know! Sadly, it is going to get worse for us. The cost for a higher education will continue to increase. I received my Bachelors Degree and I’m completely my Masters now. In September, I will resume law school for my Juris Doctorate. I guess there are folks out there who have it much worse because they owe more than I do and all they have is a Bachelors Degree.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Yes they are. I plan on going to school forever because unfortunately, I already fell for this country’s scheme and allowed myself to get sucked into this whole college thing. I blame high school for that. In high school I was only presented with two options, college or military. I’m not for fighting personal wars so I went the college route instead. After finishing four years in college my monthly payments were ridiculous so I said screw that and kept going to school. Two years later, in still a student. I think I’d be crazy to stop at this point because as soon as you do, the Feds will be hounding you for their money. Student debt doesn’t ever disappear but yet you can file bankruptcy for defaulting on other things except for student loans and they will be forgiven after a while. What a great country this is…

        Liked by 2 people

      • I owed like $48,000 after getting my Bachelors Degree and was looking at $480 a month for 10 years at a fixed rate. You can pay less a month if you take a variable rate or extend the term from 10 to 25 years. I looked into those options and didn’t like what I saw. The rates were subject to change and after 25 years, you would have paid twice the loan amount due to interest. The system sucks!

        Liked by 2 people

      • It doesn’t work at all. Had I known what I know now, I would have been better off just learning a ton of trades instead. I could have been self-employed but of course, they don’t want that. They want me so deep in the system that it will be nearly impossible for me to ever get out.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you. I’m not sure but they agents everywhere. They’ll probably find me if they really wanted to for my debt. They’ll probably harass the folks I put down as references or my relatives until they find me. Who knows…

        Liked by 2 people

  3. As a student who’ll be starting university in 2016, this sounds absolutely horrible. We work so hard to get the grades to go to university and then face problems due to tuition fees..this is really saddening!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I seem to be the only student who agrees with what the government have done. It’s not even debt that you leave with, it’s a tax that only the higher earning students pay back – it then gets completely wiped. It doesn’t have a single trace on your credit file, no interest and it gets wiped eventually. You’re not obliged to pay a penny back, something like 47% of students will never actually make a repayment of their loan and it’ll get wiped. Also, it comes out of your wages before you even get them and as my teacher has told me – you can’t miss money that you never got given in the first place.

    The reforms to the system have allowed more students from deprived backgrounds (myself included) go to University than ever before. People have the chance to have a free at the point of use higher education. Uni is jsut like the NHS, it is free at the point of use and then you pay back for it through your national insurance number when you’re earning a decent wage.

    I think most students don’t think it through, they hear the word “debt” and instantly are up in arms, when it isn’t even a true debt and their aren’t even any fees for uni. A fee is something you pay up front but we don’t have to pay a single penny up front for uni.

    The problem is the amount of students going to University, doing silly degrees that won’t get them anywhere, who simply should not be there. These are the people who go on to get low paid jobs and they never make a single repayment – it is because of these people that the rest of us have to pay more when it comes to repaying what we’ve been given. It’s the same with benefits, what happens when loads of people take out of the system and commit benefit fraud? The rest get given less because people who shouldn’t have anything have taken it all.

    Also, studies have proven that the standards of our universities has significantly increased since fees were introduced. Studies have proven that students now feel more empowered to complain about lackluster teaching and students now put more effort into University and to succeed – thanks to tuition fees. University used to be an excuse for partying, getting pissed and getting laid and studying was a very low priority on any students list (let’s face it, it’s largely still the same), now that students are paying in the future for the education they’ve recieved they are more likely to commit themselves to their studies.

    Higher education isn’t a right that everyone should be handed out for free, it’s an opportunity to improve your own future – to take your life into your own hands and take it as far as you wish to. A degree, especially in today’s society, is invaluable and you cannot put a price on the opportunities that a degree can open up for you. The problem with Britain is that way too many people believe that they are entitled for everyone else to pay for them, too many people feel that they can blame their own failures and inadequacies on somebody else – that’s wrong and that is not a productive society! We need I start taking responsibility for ourselves and we need to realize that the government aren’t responsible for how far in life we get – WE ARE!

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    • You seem to be talking about tuition fees but this post is about the removal of the maintenance loan.
      However with regards to tuition fees, the loans do have interest on them, they are not simply a tax. When you get a job and they tell you that you will be earning an X amount of money, the reality is that much will not really reach you due to the normal taxes as well as the money you owe.

      The fact that 47% of students will not pay back the loan is not something to be celebrated, it’s something to be laughed at as it means the government is in danger of losing more money.

      Higher education should be a right for everyone especially due to the fact there are very little jobs which do not require a degree as a Base qualification. Pricing out people and saying everybody should make their own way to university means there will be less social mobility, the problems will remain the same and the economy will not improve.

      The fact is tuition fees increases are simply the beginning, they are already talking about increasing them and when they do, do you think the government are still going to have the same easy repayment conditions or will they increase the rate of interest?

      With regards to tuition fees making university students take it morw seriously, that may be the case for some but not really as students still can’t feel the £9,000 coming out of their pocket. So many still feel it is ‘nothing’.

      Sadly the increase in tuition fees has not led to an overall increase in quality. There are many departments that have not benefitted, usually those that are in the Arts and Humanities simply because it doesn’t cost much to fund these degrees as opposed to ones which require more equipment. Despite this, seminar leaders are still underpaid and the contact hours between students remains the same. For many students, they can’t see what their £9,000 is giving them.

      Yes we all have to work hard but aren’t you sick of people constantly describing students as lazy good for nothing? This relaxing and partying culture is actually encouraged by universities themselves which I find ridiculous but that is the way it has always been unfortunately.

      A degree in today’s society is not invaluable, it is simply a necessity. The saturated job market means you can’t get anywhere worthwile (unless you’re immensely lucky) without a degree and often they are not even enough.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fees are already being raised. It was announced that the cap is being removed and universities who can prove that they offer excellent teaching will be allowed to increase the fees in line with inflation. Universities have been asking for this for years because the current fees aren’t enough for them to fund everything they need to.

        I don’t believe that social mobility and a university education is a right, I believe that it’s something you should work hard for in order to improve your own life. It’s not up to the government to hand us an easy life on a plate. It shouldn’t be up to the government to do anything for us. We should be solely responsible for our own lives and if we want to get further then it’s only fair that we should have to work for it. Degrees aren’t necessary in society, most of the people in Britain get by without a degree – the majority of jobs won’t require a degree and a degree can actually hinder you in getting many jobs because you’re over qualified. Degrees are for the people who wish to go into high end jobs such as management etc. And were there profession will actually require the knowledge gained from a degree.

        As for the maintenance grant, I don’t beleive it’s up to the government to pay for us to live during our studies and it’s great that they’re loaning us money with very generous pay back considerations in general. I think that whatever someone takes from the state they should be obliged to pay it back – whether that be benefits, tax credits, student loans etc. Also, I believe the government has also increased the loans so you can borrow more. This isn’t just random money that we’re borrowing or being given, it’s money that is paid for by our friends and family in work and by millions of total strangers and it’s only fair that we should pay them back for the assistance they’re giving us. We’re lucky to have such a system and its helped thousands of students to actually go to uni. Under the old system students from deprived backgrounds couldn’t afford uni at all, now they can.

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      • What type of job can a person do happily without a degree in today’s society?

        So you are not for social mobility. You would like the rich to remain rich and the poor to remain poor.

        ‘Excellent teaching’ equals higher fees? Shouldn’t universities be giving excellent education regardless. This shouldn’t cost more money.

        Often the things universities ‘need to do’ are not beneficial to their own students. Hence the government telling them they need to match their research performance with their actual teaching performance.

        How can a person work hard if there is a financial barrier? Aren’t we working for it already? Many students despite the loans or grants still work part time. In fact many are forced to work more hours than they really should just to get through university. Isn’t that proof of hardwork?

        It seems you need experience the life of university, meet other students and talk to them instead of repeating the words of the government or people who just want you to go to university and crow about all its positives without accepting its negatives.

        Yes the loan system is generous in this country compared to others like America, doesn’t make it right.

        Liked by 1 person

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