Trapped in Debt

The understandable anger felt by students over the rise in tuition fees will now have been aroused again with yesterdays news that many graduates will be paying over double the amount they borrowed back throughout their life. Shamefully Nick Clegg has tried to present these reforms as being ‘fair’ for students, however no one is in doubt that there cannot be anything fair in the tripling of fees. The news yesterday concerned research that had been carried which revealed the true extent of what students can be expecting to pay back during their life. It appears from this research that a whole generation of young people will be submerged and trapped in a lifetime of debt and repayment.

The research has been carried out by leading accountants and their findings are truly shocking. With the £9,000 a year tuition fee a student who graduates and finds a job earning the average first salary of £25,000 will pay back in their lifetime over £80,000 in loan repayments. This is a worrying find in that it appears, through the interest rates, that a graduate will be paying back double than what they borrowed to study at university. Clearly this indicates that any young person who wishes to go to university to pursue and develop their skills and to continue their learning will be expected to carry with them a debt for life, this could be seen as a punishment for young people who wish to study further. Surely the idea that young people should pursue a degree at university to enhance their skills and to better their lives is now a false prophecy as instead all they will be doing is leaving themselves a mountain of debt to climb later in their life.

Young people from richer backgrounds will have the ability for their fees to paid of for them by the financial backing at home. Similarly some students will have no need for a maintenance loan due to the fact they have the money at home to use to cover all the daily costs from studying at university. However a student from a poor background who wishes to go to university will have no option but to take out a loan and spend a life-time paying this debt back. This is incredibly unfair as the deterrence to go to university will be immense for a poorer student who will clearly not wish to submerge their heads in such high levels of debt. Clearly it can be argued the choice to go university is being slowly eroded away for young people from working-class backgrounds, this cannot be right in any democratic country as the right to education should be based on your ability to learn and not your ability to pay.

Yesterday on the BBC Breakfast show David Willets, the Minister for Universities, defended his policy claiming it was still fair for students. His argument rested on the fact that students will be paying less a month in their repayments and so the burden will of course be lower each payment; this for him is fair despite the fact he acknowledged that students will paying back the debt over a longer period of time. Although it may sound well that payments each month will be lower it has to be remembered that students will be paying back more overall due to the fact fees are higher. Similarly if payment each month is lower thus extending the length of time in which the debt has to be paid of the interest paid on this debt will of course be high as graduates will be taking longer to pay it off. There again appears to be nothing fair about this at all.

David Willets - Minister for Universities and Science

It is also worrying that students are facing this debt with not much prospect of finding a job when finishing their degree. There is a real struggle for graduates in trying to find work after completing their studies which will obviously hinder any chance of beginning to pay of any student debt as early as possible. Not only this but graduates who do find a job will also have the struggle of trying to gain a loan to pay for a house or a car. Along with the debt to pay from studying at university it is clear to see this generation will spend the majority of their wages in debt and loans.

In the documentary ‘Sicko’ by Michael Moore, Tony Benn said that one way in which a government can control it’s people is through the use of debt. This is because in debt people become miserable and down-trodden and through this they will not, for example, go out to vote or voice their opinion because of the fact there are demoralised and disinterested. It appears with this recent research that a whole generation of young people will be gripped with the chains of debt throughout their life, paying back almost double than what they borrowed in their student loan. Along with insurance and mortgages a whole generation will now spend the majority of their lives living in debt. What kind of society do we have in which this is now the prospect for so many young people?

A Mountain of Debt



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