Why the £9,000 Fees Shouldn't Scare You Away*

By Issy Goode - 19:40

I remember when I first went for an open day at a university and took a tour around one of Keele's Hawthorns Halls with a large group of parents and potential students. We poked our heads in and out of people's student rooms and commented on the ugly carpet, but as I chatted with my parents about how habitable this place could potentially be, though no 5* hotel..or even 3* for that matter, I overheard a concerned couple talking about the £9,000 hike in tuition fees and how they weren't sure sending their child away would be worth the crippling debt he would face after university.
Our open day visit to Keele in 2013
Personally, it had barely entered my mind. Of course when I first heard about the change I was disgusted that such an increase could take place and concerned that it would make an elitist society where only the very rich could go into higher education (like it still is in many countries and has been many times before). But I didn't let my concerns fester and looked into what it really meant...other than yes, a massive debt.

So for all those people out there, parents in particular, who worry about the affect the current tuitions fees will have on either your personal lives or the lives of your children, here's a little information about student debt for you - I hope it helps! 

The first thing to take note of is that you don't start paying your loan back until you're earning over £21,000 and they should, stop taking payments from you if your income ever drops below this. So for an example of what your repayments could look like, based on the information I recently received from the Student Loans Company, see below:

You'll receive a letter from the Student Loans Company a few months after graduation which will explain the repayments briefly to you that may or may not take affect come April, dependent entirely on your income. In my case, there's no sign of repayment quite yet. 

Basically, as you can see above, you'll only be paying back 9% of your income once you're earning above the threshold so really, the fees and loans shouldn't scare you away. 

Personally I've come out of university in around £36,000+ of debt, and am I worried about it? No, not in the slightest. I don't think the debt that you land yourself in by attending university is anything like the debt you can get in with pay-day loans or even credit cards if you're not careful and I definitely don't think it should stop people from attending university if they can find ways to support themselves during the university years if loan payments (loans & grants) aren't enough. 

And yes you're student loan will gather up interest at the rate it does dust whilst you can't repay it and even when you can, but you know what the absolute best thing is about a student loan? Any remaining debt accrued by your time at university and paid to you by the SLC is written off after 30 years.  

If you want a bit more reading material I would advise checking out this article, by The Guardian and of course, the Student Loan Company's 'Student Loan Repayment' website which answers lots of questions. The information on gov.uk also breaks it down nicely, click here to have a read. 

If you want some less light reading, I would recommend Student Finance for Dummies by Phil Davis. The 'For Dummies' series is quite an infamous one now, and personally I've never owned one of their books because nothing published really related to me, but this book definitely would have come in handy in the run up to university. More importantly, had I owned a copy then I could have marched up to that couple who were thinking about stopping their son from going to university because of the debt it would land him in, as though it were their choice, not his.

The book is 344 pages of thorough detail looking at so many aspects of your financial wellbeing at university, not just your student loan. It covers who needs a loan and goes into the detail of various ways to apply i.e the normal and most used route of government funding, other government funding options depending on your course such as NHS-related courses, social work and teaching and also goes into detail about getting grants from your university and educational trusts and charities.

The book contains a 'Contents at a Glance' page to give you an idea of what's ahead but then goes into some serious detail, breaking down each section of the book to help you find exactly the answers you're looking for.

Some of my favourite parts are Speaking the Lingo - which breaks down the meaning of certain student finance terms such as 'income-assessed' and 'bursary' (it really goes all out on that For Dummies thing covering all possible bases) - and the chapter dedicated to Myths About Student Finance. This chapter covers many of the things I have personally heard people say about student finance so they've definitely done their homework. The book answers both the myths you thought sounded pretty great, such as 'If you go abroad after graduation, you don't have to pay back the student loan', and the ones you were probably a bit worried about like a student loan making it harder to get a mortgage and the biggest of all, 'interest on my student loan means I'll have a huge debt to repay'. Other than the fact that yes, you will still be expected to pay your student loan if you move abroad, and no it doesn't usually get in the way of getting a mortgage, and finally of course it won't mean you'll have a huge (as if it's not big enough already) debt to pay because of interest on top, I wouldn't be able to put all the details that bust those myths into better words than Davis has, so you'll have to give the book a good read!

One last little thing I also like is how the book isn't just about how to get student finance and how to pay it back. As I said above, it's about helping you be and keep financially fit during your university years and Chapter 20 is dedicated to some Top Tips to Making Your Money Last - which don't vary much on the advice I've given in previous years which you can check out here and here - and Davis does also provide a lot of detail on how to learn about being careful with your money that can really help set you up for the future.

The book is retailed at £12.99 and is kind of an investment that you can pass around friends and family...until the government decides to change things I'm sure!
 *I was sent a copy of Student Finance for Dummies for the purpose of this post

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  1. I have to be honest, the huge fees are enough to be scaring me off getting back into Education, it just seems an awful lot of money :(

    Rosy | Sparkles of Light Blog

    1. You really shouldn't let it put you off if it's something that you want to do! It's not like any other loan and the money you pay back is completely dependent on your earnings. Plus, like I said it's also written off after 30 years, and that's not even dependent on how much you pay back either!

      If you ever have any questions, just drop me an email:

      Thanks for reading and it's a shame this post didn't convince you that the fees aren't really worth the worry, maybe I'll have to work a little harder at explaining it all aha!

  2. Issy, your blog makes me so excited to hopefully go to Uni - it'll be my bible when I go ahah! I'd be lying if I said I'm not a little worried about the debt, more so living costs, but I would definitely not stop me going. This is a fab post!

    Helena xoxo

    1. Thanks so much Helena, that really does mean the world to me! Aha well I'll make sure I make everything easy to find :) I think it's hard not to think about the debt, I just feel that the financial aspects of going to university shouldn't put you off attending. I'm really happy to hear it's not going to stop you!

      I'm glad you liked it!


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