The government backtracked on its promise to raise the repayments threshold from £21,000, according to the petition [Image: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian].

The government backtracked on its promise to raise the repayments threshold from £21,000, according to the petition [Image: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian].

Look at the way the government statement fails to answer the issue raised by the petition.

It focuses on the system remaining “affordable to the taxpayer” while students can still access a university education, regardless of their ability to repay loans.

That’s all very well, but freezing the earnings threshold at which students start to repay their debt means payments will become due earlier in their working career, at times when they are less able to afford them, due to inflation.

It’s a clear message that people should not consider a university career if they don’t have a clear plan to pay back the debts they accrue – or aren’t already independently wealthy.

Otherwise a college degree could become a one-way ticket to a life of debt – exactly the opposite of its original purpose.

A petition opposing a retrospective rise in the cost of student loans that obtained 120,000 signatures in just a few days has been rejected by the government.

Campaigner Alex True, who began the petition while doing his finals at Durham University, said he was “disappointed and disheartened” at the government’s response.

The petition focused on a promise made in 2010 that from April 2017 the student loans repayment threshold of £21,000 would be upped each year with average earnings.

It argued that “the government has now backtracked on this promise, freezing the threshold at £21,000. Graduates will now pay more on their student loans”.

But the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said in a statement posted on the petition site: “Freezing the repayment threshold ensures that the student support system remains affordable to the taxpayer and all students can access a university education, irrespective of their ability to pay.”

Source: Government throws out student loans petition | Money | The Guardian

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