[Brad Johnson | Vice President Communications & Media]
In the light of the National Union of Students’ report, Debt in the first degree, Trident Media is looking at the impact that debt has on the perception of university and the standard of living many students have to endure. We are now three years since the rise in student tuition fees to the £9,000 threshold, which means we have the first 9k graduates.
Sorana Vieru, NUS Vice-President (Higher Education) stated that “this report is a critical piece of evidence to help students fight back against a tide of marketisation that is harming students and their universities.”
In their report, the NUS stated that “the majority of new graduates had a good experience of university and valued many aspects of their degree”, showing that even though there are fee rises, graduates still value the quality of education they receive for the price.
However, a key figure from the report states that 56% of graduates believed that their degree was not worth the cost of their tuition fees, with 17% believing it was worth considerably less, with a reported 1 in twenty graduates saying that they wouldn’t go back to university if they had the opportunity, mainly linking it to cost of study and level of debt.
It is reported that 77% of graduates were worried or very worried about their student debt, a staggering figure considering that there over 1.75 million full or part time undergraduates in the UK (HESA).
Vieru adds that “graduates are rightfully worried about their future”.
Although, many students will have over £40,000 in debt after their undergraduate degree, it is reported that only 45% of graduates will pay back the loan.
The NUS, have launched a campaign called Cut The Costs which will provide a response to the government’s intention to scrap maintenance grants for full-time Higher Education students in England and replace them with a loans-based system.
When asked what the NUS’ position on the funding model, it was voted at National Conference that the NUS would fight for free education because the “current model in place is unsustainable” due the low amount of graduates paying the loan back.
The budget is messing with students life’s we need to #cutthecost. — Chloe Alana Smith (@chloe_flower) July 10, 2015
Currently, NUS understands that approximately 500,000 students rely on maintenance grants and the cut to them could push more students from BME and poorer backgrounds into debt.
It was stated at the NUS Press Conference that many BME graduates believe that student debt is just as bad as commercial debt from credit cards.
The cost of living crisis has an impact on choices of university for students with 45% saying that the cost of study would be a factor on their choice.
What do you think about the budget cuts to Higher Education. Let us know!
Tweet us at @TridentMediaUK or @HertsSUBrad and tell us your story.
Could you have attended university without maintenance grants or do you agree that they should be cut?
There were a total of 664 valid responses to the survey. All of these students identified as final year students graduating in summer 2015. The sample size of the survey is smaller than usual for similar NUS research. You can read the full report here.