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What's happening to student loans?

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In the past couple of weeks we have witnessed several announcements relating to the student loans system in England.

With mounting evidence that the Coaliton's unholy trinity of huge fees, unpayable loans and increasing public debt is falling apart, the government are in a panic about what to do.

The problem is simple: many graduates are not going pay back all of their student loan because they owe much more after government tripled fees and because the jobs market simply isn't providing the opportunities to earn enough. This is causing government to take on a mountain of debt, estimated to reach £330bn in 2044.

The solution is more complex, and its up for debate.

There is some good news in all of this. Thanks to the strength of campaigning from students, we have pressured government into scrapping plans to sell of the student loan book, a move that could have seen students and taxpayers propping up the profits of banks and hedge funds.

But with government needing to find a solution and also to find money to pay for uncapping student numbers, they are looking at a number of bizarre and dangerous possibilites. One of these, announced last week, was to sell student loan debt to universities, a move that could  lead to the uncapping of tuition fees at the most selective universities, not to mention increasing financial pressures and inequalities within the higher education sector.

It's important for students and their unions to understand what is going on in order to challenge ideas that threaten students and to argue for a progressive alternative. To this end, we have put together a briefing on the current student loans debate.

You can download our short briefing on student loans here.

You can also read our Vice President (Higher Education) Megan Dunn's blog on how the student movement has won on its recent campaigns to stop the student loan sell off and to protect and increase financial support for students.



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