Monday, 26 June 2017 15:51

Interest rate rises could put even more students off attending university

The current cost of studying at university is already at an all time high - so much so that it is having an impact on the numbers of people wishing to study further.

Many potential students have already walked away and looked to go straight into a job and train in the workplace as opposed to spending £9,000 per year on education that may or may not get them their dream job at the end of the arduous study programme.

And the number of people deciding against university may rise even further once news of an increase in student loan interest reaches the masses.

According to news this week, students are set to see an increase of 33 per cent in the interest rates they pay on their student loans. This includes maintenance and student loan fees.

Students commencing study this September will be the ones hit with the new increase. Many people working in admissions believe they will start to see applications drop with immediate effect as this latest attack on finances will distance people even more. There were already thousands of potential students already on the fence about going to university because of the high cost of tuition fees and this could be the last straw.

It could see students, with the potential to be excellent in their chosen field of study, be lost to the workplace and, even worse, not go into work at all. It would be a travesty.

So, let's crunch the numbers and put into simple terms what this increase could mean for poor students wishing to better themselves.

It is worth bearing in mind that interest accumulates during study time, but the fees and the interest are only paid back when the student in question enters work and earns more than the threshold, which currently stands at over £21,000 per year.

Many students, quite rightly so, will question why there is to be an increase. Basically, interest is based on the Retail Prices Index which is a measure of inflation every March, three per cent is also added to this.

It emerged last week that the Retail Prices Index for this time of year was just over three per cent - this equates to some poor students now facing paying interest of over six per cent on the aforementioned loans.

The amount of money that it costs to go to university lately is scary and the UK risks losing some of its best talents to other countries.

Think about it. Students are being priced out of the best universities in this country. We risk losing them to apprenticeships or to other European or foreign countries where not only are tuition fees cheaper, but the cost of living is far cheaper too.

The new hike could also see students from poorer backgrounds being alienated from universities. Universities, for generations, have strived to shake the image of 'universities only being for the rich'. Students from poorer backgrounds have been encouraged to follow their education and employment dreams in the form of bursaries and grants. But this latest hike in interest charges may now mean that students from less privileged backgrounds may have to turn their back on universities.

It may mean that we take a massive step back as a society whereby only the elite, those where mum and dad pay for the entire course, can afford to attend university.

We knew that something like this would happen when tuition fees rose to £9,000 per year, but this could put the cherry on the top for a lot of people.

It's a crying shame, we have some great talent in this country that we risk losing.

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