One of the best things in the world is a student loan. It comes in 3 times a year, paying me and my university and means that thousands of students who wouldn't be able to without it, are able to go to University. Better still, it's a low interest loan that I don't pay back until I'm earning £15k (I'm part of the last contingent to be charged three and a half thousand pounds a year) so I don't have to worry about it.
The thought of the thirty thousand pounds I'm going to owe at the end of my degree does occasionally cross my mind. But then I remember how low the interest is, and how it won't really affect me at all, other than taking a few pounds from my wages each month.
I dread to think how people just six months younger than me feel being charged triple what I am and it's about to get worse for all of us. In order to make some money, the Government have announced plans to sell off our debt to private companies.
What does this mean? It means that that low interest rate probably won't be that low anymore. These private companies will (if we look at how privatisation has affected us throughout history) hike up the interest rate, with the government looking to increase or remove the cap, according to a secret report aiming to make the debt look more profitable.
This Government has already made things hard for students. With the scrapping of EMA, something that enabled many students like myself to attend further education institutions; the removal of the tuition fee cap to £9k; and now this. Students have continually been let down by two consecutive Governments, with the New Labour Government promising no tuition fees at the election, before introducing them and the Liberal Democrats promising no fees at all and increasing them while in coalition. I'm concerned what our politicians (many of whom got their degrees for free) are trying to achieve, because it seems to me they don't want students to be attending university at all.
For a better society, I believe access to education is key. I believe education is a right, not a privilege, that is something this government fails to grasp. These policies encourage elitism, where only the richer people in societies can afford to, or feel able to attend universities. Maybe I was exagerrating when I said they don't want anyone attending university at all, because from what they say, they do. But I doubt I'd be be part of their contingent, despite attending a Russell Group university and having achieved A*AAB at A Levels, because I'm not lucky enough to be able to afford it.
When I said that my student loan is one of the best things, I meant it. But it would be the best thing in the world if it didn't exist at all. I was happy to take out this loan, because I hoped and still do, that this loan would enable me greater prospects in life. I'm not sure I'd be so happy about it any more if these plans go ahead.
So on Wednesday 20 November, myself, along with thousands of students nationwide will be protesting about this. If you're a student in Liverpool, please come along to University Square at 12pm and join the Facebook event here. You can also view the national event, which is being organised by the Student Assembly Against Austerity here.
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