By Kaytie McFadden
Today marked a momentous day for students all over Britain; a day which laces all of our future with uncertainty. Today, our lovely coalition government sold off £900M worth of unpaid student debt to private debt collection agencies for just £160m.
The debt sold today is from pre-1998 loans, so will not affect students here at UWE today. However, the future implications are mind-boggling. The government are looking into the possibility of selling off the students’ debts post-1998. This will include all of us. Having sold off the debt, the government will have no control over interest rates – there are great little clauses of small-print written into all of our loans stating that the terms and conditions of our loans (including their repayment) can be changed at any time. Rather than rising with inflation as they do at the moment, the private debt owners will be able to charge whatever they would like. Already resigned yourself to not paying your student loan off until you’re 50? Think again. We’ll be lucky to pay it off before we die.
As an individual who was lucky enough to join UWE in the final year of £3,000 tuition fees, I am scared by this prospect. I can’t even imagine how I would feel to have £9,000 per annum fees. My estimate is that at the end of my undergrad I will owe a total of £25,000 after a three year course. Someone who started in the following year will owe approximately £32,500.
Student loans are starting to feel more and more like this country’s debt. If we’re lucky, we may pay off the deficit. But we’ve got no chance in hell of being in the black.
WesternEye will be bringing you the latest on this as it develops so keep an eye out.