Monday, July 03, 2006

Student Loans? Nah Mate, Living Grants...

Monday morning blues. The weather is hot, humid and sticky and my office has no air conditioning and my head is throbbing already (I have left my Neurofen at home). But what is this I see? Student loans service simplified....?
It seems that A-level students in England will be able to apply for a student loan and grants at the same place as applying for a place at university. This is planned for 2009-10. So while you are deciding which uni you want to go to you can also decide how much debt you want to be in. Magic!

The review, which was published in January of this year, states: the need for "greater efficiency, meeting taxpayers' expectations that value for money was being achieved".

Ahh yes! taxpayers and "value for money". Rather than "Education, education..." ad nauseam. It is "Debt, debt and debt"!

I mean, they couldn't just say, "oh sod it, let's give them a living grant and better access". Instead it is, "lets create lots of misery by forcing people into debt.."

Once students graduate and are earning above £15,000, employers should start making repayment deductions immediately and from this September annual tuition fees in English universities - presently a flat rate of £1,175- will be varied from nothing up to a maximum of £3,000.

NUS is leading a campaign with the teaching unions, Coalition 2010. The Coalition is arguing that any removal of the cap would deter poorer students from attending universities.
UCAS figures released in early 2006 shows a decline by 3.7% in university applications. A decline for the first time in eight years. Rather contradictory, as the government plans to get 50% of 18-30 year olds into Higher Education by 2010. How is that exactly possible...?

Oh and of course Education Minister, Alan Johnson (who he?) thinks this all hunky dory. Well he would, wouldn't he. And here are some trivial facts about this Stepford Wife:

1. He attended the Brit Awards with his missus this year as guests of the Phonographic Performance Ltd

2. My fave this one: Has used three-word alliterative phrases 379 times in debates. He is the 30th out of 646 MPs to do so. Wow....

But ya know Alan, majority of your cabinet colleagues had access to free education and living grants and you are denying this basic right to everyone else. Since the elimination of grants, student debt has increased by a staggering 544% and now totals £5 billion. And now 90% of students are in debt and poorer students owe 15% more on graduation.

Whether any of this sinks into Alan Johnson's skull is debatable as he is probably thinking about his next trip to the Brits and another allietrative phrase to stun parliament with.

I can't be bothered to think alliteratively as the heat as addled my brain. But what does come to mind Alan is stupid servile stooge. Ring any bells...?

National Union of Students