Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Would you like to be a student?

So, would you like to be a student?

Yesterday it was announced that University applications have fallen by a reported 9%. This is pretty unsurprising. Applications from mature students has fallen more dramatically. In the age group that I was when I applied last year (25-29), it has fallen by 21%. This figure rises to nearly 28% for applicants who are over 40.

The reason I applied last year is simple. I couldn't afford to apply this year.

When I finish University, I will have student debt of nearly £12,000. This is a lot of money. If I applied to start in 2012, when I finished University, I would have debt of nearly £40,000. So by going this year, I save myself £28,000.

Is it just me, or is that ridiculous?

I fully appreciate that you do not have to pay it back until you reach a certain salary level, and even then, it is at a percentage of what you earn, not a lump sum. But still. When I graduate I will be 32. I will have ten years on most graduates. That means ten years less than them to pay it back. I also have financial commitments. Mortgage, children, husband, car etc. Lumping a huge student debt into this would just be too much.

I am lucky to attend a top ten University. Students starting this September won't be so lucky. They are paying the highest fees. £9000 where I attend. I even feel slightly guilty that students starting this year will be paying £9000 for exactly the same education as me, but I pay £3500 a year, all because I started the year before them.

If I hadn't had the opportunity to apply last year I know that I would not have gone to University. I most certainly would have been priced out of the market. I don't know why mature students would apply now. If it were me, I would be sticking with the Open University.

As for my children, I have already begun saving just in case they decide to go to University too!

Statistics from the UCAS website http://www.ucas.com/about_us/media_enquiries/media_releases/2012/20120130


  1. Great article.

    When I went to Uni as a mature student at the age of 26, the LA paid my lofty fees of £1200 per year, plus gave me £4000 a year on a low interest loan, which I pay back when I'm working.

    I know that the loans don't have to be paid back until you are in a good job but the figures are too daunting to most people, and the ins and outs are not fully understood. It's no wonder some people are put off. I just hope it's because they are considering uni more seriously rather than it just being poorer people deterred by the prospective costs.

    I am not surprised that mature students have been disproportionately deterred, as a lot of mature students study for the love of it, not because they want to get a better paid job, so it's not worth doing just to get a massive debt. Also, grants and loans have an age cut-off (around 55 I think), that mean mature students just can't afford to go anymore, which is a shame, because they add so much to the diversity of a university population.

    We have four children and are saving like crazy too!

    1. Thanks for your comment. From my point of view, I'm going to Uni to try and get a better job. I'm so glad that I am but I honestly couldn't have afforded it if I started this September.

      I dread to think how much it is going to cost our children!

  2. Thanks for joining in with the Love Politics Blogs Showcase. I started uni in the first year of fees so they were only just over £1k per year but I'm still paying it off my loan at the age of 33.

    What the politicians don't highlight is that interest keeps accruing even when you're not paying it off. This means the 12k I owed on my loan when I finished was more like 15k when I started paying it off 2 years later and for the next two years my repayments only just about matched the interest. So four years in I still owed much more than I borrowed. As I've got promoted I've been paying it off faster but two years worth of maternity leave means another two years of interest with no repayments so now I think I still owe about 9k. My salary is significantly above average but I'll be well into my forties by the time its gone.

    I think most people taking loans now will literally never pay them off so instead it has basically become a tax on your income that you pay until the cut off. How depressing!

    1. That's really interesting. I hadn't even thought of that. Also, the figures I mention are just the tuition fee loans, they don't include the normal loans.


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