NUS Responds to Student Loans Overhaul Plan

After a series of revelations regarding the Government’s current student loans plan, The National Union of Students responds to talks of a new policy that could completely overhaul the existing system.

The National Union of Students (NUS) yesterday responded to news that significant changes could be made to England’s student loans system.

A report published last week from the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee described a record of “inaccurate debt forecasting” and a “failure to collect student loans” as threatening the existing student loans model.

The current student loans system – which was recently described as being ‘at tipping point’ – is struggling to maintain funding amounts, it has been revealed. For every pound the Government lends to university students, it has been losing 45 pence, due to a ‘persistent error’ in its calculations. The new plans could see increasing tuition fee charges and changes in both loan terms and the way that the higher education system works.

The report has embarrassed the Government, who claimed that the increased tuition fees of £9,000 per year would be effective in saving billions each year as part of new austerity measures.

Megan Dunn, the NUS Vice President for Higher Education, said: “This is a dangerous idea, not just for students, but also for the future of education.”

It would force universities to significantly narrow the type of course they could afford to run, and even more concerning, the pool of students they would want to admit.”

However, Chairman of the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Select Committee, Adrian Bailey, stated: “The Government’s estimates indicate the size of outstanding student debt will be £330 billion by 2044.”

“With the prospect of a large potential black hole in the Government’s budget figures, the Government needs to get its act together and properly calculate how much of these student debts are ever likely to be paid back.”

The ballooning student debt estimate has been caused by officials’ failure to keep track of many thousands of graduates who are working both in Britain and overseas, some of whom have been deliberately avoiding making repayments.

The NUS has warned the Government previously that forcing debt onto students as a way to fund universities was a ‘failed experiment’. It also said that the public trust relating to higher education funding urgently needed to be rebuilt.

Megan Dunn concluded by saying: “Politicians need to recognise that we will only achieve a sustainable higher education funding system if we abandon the discredited regime of sky-high fees and debts altogether.”

“If higher education funding is to be fair and sustainable, we need a new deal for the next generation of students.”


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