Student loans are "a graduate tax not a debt"

Issue date: 07 November 2011

National Student Finance Day at UWE Bristol

Monday 14 November 2011, UWE Bristol Frenchay Campus

UWE Bristol is holding a special event, to help clarify the funding arrangements for students planning to enter Higher Education from 2012, for National Student Finance Day on Monday 14 November 2011.

National Student Finance Day is being led by consumer champion, Martin Lewis, founder of who is heading up the Independent Taskforce on Student Finance Information, organisers of the Day. The day aims to help future students and parents in England to tackle the myths and misunderstandings surrounding the recent changes to student finance.

National Student Finance Day at UWE Bristol will include unbiased expert student funding advice; a Student Finance Day hotline (0117 32 81111) from 10:00 - 16:00 and evening information talks at 18:00 and 19:15.

There will also be one-to-one sessions with advisers to provide clear and informed guidance on finance, disability services and careers.

Kate White, Head of Student Advice and Welfare at UWE Bristol said, “We want to help potential students, parents and teachers understand the financial implications of studying at University. We know that fear of debt might be off-putting, but the reality is that for some a degree will cost nothing.

“Repayment is entirely dependent on earnings. No one has to find the fees up front as they are completely covered by a Government loan which is not paid back until you are earning. You only pay back at a rate of 9% of your earnings above £21,000 regardless of the amount owing. After 30 years, any outstanding balance is cancelled and if you stop work or drop below the threshold you don't pay. So it is a graduate tax rather than a debt.

“For example, a graduate earning £26k for 30 years would end up paying £13,500 out of total earnings of £780,000 before tax over that period. A graduate earning £31k would repay £27,000 out of total earnings of £930,000 before tax over the 30 years. If we were all presented with our future 30 years tax bill in this way most of us would be horrified but student loans are not quite as scary as they initially appear to be.

“The worst situation for anyone is repaying student loans for the wrong choice of course or institution - this would be a bad debt. It is essential that people prepare themselves well by attending University Open Days and researching their course options thoroughly.

“The financial considerations need to be placed into this context. Education is an investment in your future. The student experience is invaluable and currently graduates are faring much better in employment statistics than non graduates.”

Professor Steve West, UWE Vice-Chancellor, concurs, “A University education has sadly become a commodity but it is absolutely the best investment anyone can possibly make. It is a long term investment in your future. The evidence is that there are more prospects for graduates and higher earning potential.

“Higher Education opens up a world of opportunities by developing talent and broadening horizons, through giving students a time and space to focus energy and intellect, and paves the way to a productive and successful future on graduation.

“The world needs graduates and a graduate workforce is essential for the prosperity of the UK. I want to see everyone who can benefit from and wants to attend University to be able to. People should not be put off by the change in the fee regime.”

Refreshments will be available at the evening sessions.

Register to attend

Telephone: 0117 32 82822


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