An Ofqual Recognised Awarding Organisation

Maintenance debt weighs heavy on the minds of poorer students

Why should working-class students end up with more debt than others?

This recent article in the Guardian suggests:

“……Until recently, students from homes with an annual income of less than £25,000 were given maintenance grants of £3,387 to help fund their living costs while at university. Students from households above this threshold were also entitled to a grant, but the amount they could be awarded decreased in accordance with their family’s income.

This all changed when they were scrapped last year. Loans replaced the grants, and  poorer students suddenly became a whole lot poorer. We’re now expected to borrow the money we need to live at university. Those who wouldn’t have been eligible for the grant in the first place were not affected by the change and saw no increase in their total debt as a result.

It’s true that my higher-rate maintenance loan helps me by paying my rent and feeding me every day, but in the long term it’s the grants that would have helped me more. The repayment of such a big loan will be a drain on my bank account for decades to come and is something that constantly weighs on my mind.

I’m not alone in these concerns. Sophie Vincent, a politics student at the University of Sussex, says: “I think the maintenance loan problem has been the bigger issue than tuition fees. If MPs really do want to encourage poorer students to go to university they need to address this first. I pay a premium for being poor under the current system.”

Kimball Wynn, an illustration student at the University of the West of England, is also worried about the future. “With some savvy budgeting, my loan allows me to live comfortably right now – which is great. But I know I will bear the full brunt of the loan after graduation. At the end of the day I’ve had the same education as everyone else – why should I have to pay more for it?”

Those people who most benefit from the current system need it the least, while the poorest students will continue to be hit the hardest. Reforming the maintenance loan system and returning to grants and bursaries is not only the best way to help students who need it the most – it’s the only way”.

Qualifi provide an alternative route to three-year full-time degree programmes of study at University, with the same outcome at a much lower cost. Qualifi qualifications are Student Loan Company recognised which enables learners to draw down a loan to study a Qualifi Level 4 and Level 5 qualification prior to progressing on to the final year of our partner university honours degree programmes. The level of loan associated with studying Qualifi level 4 and 5 programmes is much less than the usual £9,250 per year student tuition fee charged by most universities thereby allowing our learners to obtain a honours degree for less money which expressed in another way is “less debt”.