My eldest child has applied to go to university in the UK next year so I decided, with a sense of dread, to look into student loans. The idea of her leaving university after three years owing 28,000 pounds ($37,000) for the tuition fees alone seemed like a terrible burden for someone beginning their career. However, it’s not as simple as that. The UK student loan is not really a loan at all and there have been calls to rename it a ‘graduate contribution tax’ since very few students will ever have to pay back the full amount back. What’s more, if parents or undergraduates who have saved-up money want to pay the tuition fees ‘up front’ and not take out the loan, they may be giving away money needlessly. Under the current system, many students will never have to pay back the entire ‘loan’; some won’t have to pay back a penny!
I will be posting some blogs over the coming months about my research into student loans both in the UK and the US and looking at what both governments, financial organisations, and assistance bodies are considering as a way to resolve the huge problem of debt among new graduates.