We've just heard that the 30 year limit on repayment of student loans will become 40 years next year, here's a concern about loans from 2011...
It hasn't happened for a while, I gather, but some years back the Government sold off some students' Loan Debts to the private sector.
Whatever your views about the system of Student Loans and Debt,it has to be conceded that repayment terms do a lot to make the debt less of a burden than it would be if fully commercial. For instance, and crucially, if anyone falls below earnings equivalent to £21k pa (under the latest version of the system currently proposed in the White Paper), they aren't pursued for repayments until such time as they climb back above that level.
Put in a form that cuts a lot of ice with prospective students and, particularly, their parents: if you have a Student Debt but fall on hard times, that Student Debt itself will not make the situation any worse. It's a powerful message, and no doubt one of the points the Governement is trying to get across better than has been managed so far.
But there are two worrying questions emerging. The first applies to ex-students who a few years ago weren't earning much, so were able to defer repayments, and whose debt the government has sold on to the private sector. Word reaches UP2UNI's ears that at least some of these people are now being pursued rather forcefully to make repayments they can't easily afford. I might feel awkward if any of their parents had been amongst those I'd told that Student Debt was guaranteed not to make a bad situation worse.
The second question is how sure can we be that current and future students won't fall foul of the same practice? Up2uni's question about this at September's Student Loans Company's IAG Partner Seminar in London brought the response that there are no firm plans, but it is being looked at by government. The new system will not break even (according to the Audit Office) until 2047 - ie for the next 36 years or more, the taxpayer will still be subsidising the cost of supporting students at university - and today's students will be liable for repayments for 30 years after graduation. How sensible is it to assume that no government during that huge period will ever decide to rid themselves of the debt by selling it to the private sector?
Clearly, there needs to be a guarantee - that repayment terms remain unchanged for ex-students whose debt may be sold off: that safeguards against aggressive debt recovery available to those who owe money to the Government are guaranteed go on applying to those who, without so choosing, find themselves indebted to the private sector instead.
UP2UNI is starting a campaign. Let us know if you want to join us, or can give us information that will support our attempts.