Student loans: Bad news for English people starting university in the autumn

Graduates: how many of these people will ever fully pay back their student loans? How many new students, entering university in autumn 2023, will be even worse-off?

Anyone English who starts a university course in the autumn will pay more for their student loan, and over a longer period of time.

Here’s Martin Lewis, explaining it on ITV’s Good Morning Britain:

So for anybody who lives in England and has not gone to university yet (but will in the autumn or at any time afterwards), from the April after you leave university, you will not pay back the £243 per year that current ex-students do or will; you will pay back £450 per year.

The period of time over which you will make those payments will not be a maximum of 30 years, as it is now, but 40 years. This means you won’t pay a minimum of £7,290 but a minimum of £13,500.

Some might think that’s still a good deal on loans of more than £25,000.

And of course there is interest to be paid. Some ex-students known to This Writer have recently discovered that, after paying back their student loans for more than 20 years, they owe more now than when they started.

In terms of the public purse, where the state is currently paying 44p for every pound spent on education, from September – for new university students – it will pay just 19p for every pound spent on education.

Instead of paying 56p per pound, the individual will pay 81p per pound. Martin Lewis reckons this is a 50 per cent increase. I make it around 45 per cent.

Apparently more people are likely to clear the cost of the loan plus interest. I’d be fascinated to learn just how they’re likely to do that.

To me, it seems like a way of offloading debt from the state and onto individuals. Bear in mind that the level of student debt owed to the Student Loans Company currently stands at £205 billion.

That figure has doubled in the last six years, after the then-Tory/Liberal Democrat Coalition government increased tuition fees from £3,600 per year to £9,000. The decision was made in 2012 but the change happened in 2016.

We can all see what this is, I hope. The Tory government is saddling poorer students with a debt they will have to repay for their entire working lives, making them more vulnerable to exploitation by employers – wage slaves.

All this in the middle of a huge – and worsening, remember – cost of living crisis.

Meanwhile, privileged students whose parents have more cash to splash on them will be able to pay off their loans faster and go on to earn more.

The whole situation puts the lie to Tory claims that they are the party of opportunity, of equality, and facilitators of upward social mobility. Doesn’t it?

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