A News of a little student loan, why not? The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) recently noted that some UK students and graduates will pay up to 12% interest on their loans from September, before the rate cuts in March 2023, which will raise interest rates (for now, however). This huge, short-term spike in cap costs comes just days after announcing changes to the entire system, with graduates increasing their loan repayment time to 30 to 40 years and lowering the repayment threshold. Forty years of debt in exchange for “learning English, but a little more” seems to me fairly inconsistent, though that is probably the point now.
Whenever something like this happens – a huge student finance mechanic who inevitably decides whether to go to university or not fill up more than before, and it happens every few years like clockwork – I wonder what the end game is all about. Do we want smart people to pay the price for being smart forever? Do we want everyone to be indebted forever? Do we want to be in this society? Well, apparently, yes.
One of the problems here is that everyone in their 30’s or older has their own deep-seated and old opinions about students, so no one really cares what they’re doing right now. This opinion falls into three categories. First, you didn’t go to university yourself and still get fined, in which case you think students are functional isolated people who need a humiliating day to graft them hard to sort them out (that’s fine, you’re allowed to think that). Another strand of thought is not exactly anti-education, but anti-student, stuck in the late 80s Ben-Elton-and-Viz concept, where they always wear very embarrassing hats and stay right. We do not like sympathetic politics in this country, so it has a large constituency. Third and I think the most important way to think about students is this huge, soul-styling self-deprecation: you remember how unbearable you were personally as a student – you wore that charity-shop suit jacket everywhere! You ass! – And you want to keep modern students from making the same personality mistakes that you made, and the only way you can justify this is to get them into decades of debt. Actually, I don’t return this one. I don’t want to financially support my 20 year old version. He lay down after jeans and ate pot noodles for breakfast. A helpless little boy.
But without these three years of university, the long-paragraph you enjoy reading today, I simply could not have flourished in that long-paragraph genius, and confuses the fact in this student loan that a university education often says a good thing in itself. I think so. “It’s just graduation tax” and “How else would you pay for it?” Some people become the best version of themselves through university, others develop best when they go straight to a business, and some people find their feet in the dirty water of the workplace. There are many people who fall short of these broad options but for the most part, the university works for those who go. And yet we in England seem to be actively committed to making it as cost-effective and off-putting experience as possible.
In just three years now, he has been making bolognese walks, making brief and intimate friendships with a French girl, writing essays in pound-a-pint nights, and the cool dark fog of night. Now at the age of 17 you can decide about the university Matter, One ounce per; The whole thing has become a lifelong mortgage account where your future self is in balance. Nice two A’s and A’s B’s you got there. It would be a shame if the only effective way to deal with them was to take on a constantly growing loan of thousands of pounds, which we change the terms whenever we want.
It won’t be the last student loan disaster and it’s not the most significant yet, but it will be a footnote on the Wikipedia page on how the entire higher education system in England collapsed when Nick Clegg saw goggles on VR from California over the past few years. The war has turned, among those who have been fined and among the youth who will never really, and this kind of unimaginable generational punishment is now equal for the course. A reminder if you haven’t been to the job market hell lately: you need a degree to qualify for an entry-level job by filing in a dimly lit office in any major UK city. How do we change that? If that doesn’t happen, it’s time to dump her and move on.
Joel Galby is a writer for The Guardian and Vice and the author of Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant.