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Debate: How can Student Finance be improved?

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    (Original post by Joe911)
    How so? If poor and middle income students have exactly the same amount to live on (Full loan/grant amounts) How would either be at a disadvantage?

    This was posted from The Student Room's Android App on my U20i

    What would be best really would be if all students had the same money (up to a point, say £7k or so) with all external sources of funding, like money from parents, uni bursaries etc...taken into account. That way, poor students still get plenty of money, but students from middle (or even richer) families who don't receive any financial help from their parents would get the same. Obviously there'd still be some rich students who's parents give them thousands every year, but they wouldn't receive any loans or grants. It would be impossible to do though because nobody can say for sure how much help students get from their parents, and people wont declare it because they want as much money as possible.

    I don't really see how the system could be significantly improved just because of the practical limitations. The case of me and my girlfriend is where it works out really; she doesn't really get any financial help from home but gets the maximum amount of grant/loan, and a big bursary from her uni. I get some financial support from my family which adds up to around a couple of grand a year, but reduced loan/grant, and no bursary from my uni. With all of our income sources though, we get very similar amounts in total.

    One thing I don't really understand is why poorer students should get more grant than richer students. I get very little grant, just under £300 a year, but just under £5000 in loan, so I rack up that £5000 or so in debt every year (plus tuition fees); a student from a poorer family may get a much bigger grant though, and only pick up closer to £2000 or £3000 in debt per year (plus tuition fees of course). At the end of the degree though, we have the same earning potential (in theory, obviously it varies between courses/marks etc..., but the loan doesn't depend on that), so why should I have to pay back more? I understand the idea of encouraging poorer students to go to uni, and to minimize the "I can't afford it" thoughts, but that's an education issue because they don't fully understand the student loan system, how it's paid back etc...By the time it comes to them paying it back, they should be a completely independent person, and separated from their family in a financial sense.

    Also, this year, when reapplying for student finance, they decided that because it had been a week since I'd filled out my bit and my parents hadn't done their bit yet, that they would automatically assess me not based on my household income, even though the deadline was a month and a half away (at least). My parents submitted their details a week or two later at the end of May and it's only just been processed last week. If they'd just left my application without submitting it themselves without my permission, it would've gone straight through. It's all sorted, and I never thought I'd have no money next year, but it was a stressful couple of months, and cost me a fiver in phone calls to call them a few times from my mobile. Speaking of which, why should we have to pay to phone them when they mess things up?
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    I believe that tuition fee loans as they are are fine

    I firmly believe that all students should be allowed a loan of a reasonable amount irrespective of family income and that this should be adequate to cover the average standard room in catered accommodation ... approx 4500

    I then think that the grant system should be means tested ... I think the current max of approx 7000 is reasonable
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    What i say might be detrimental to the process as it can make it a little more bureaucratic, but i feel that it should take into account certain expenditures... maybe? or ATLEAST net income, as then you know what the family has as a budget for that year etc. For instance, in my case, my parents have a combined income of about 38k-ish a year(gross), but they have a few outstanding loans and credit cards (to their regret..) so we just get by each week..
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    If they did everything differently, it couldn't possibly get any worse...
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    I personally would prefer all the money in one go but i can see where that will go wrong with some people
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    Means tested should apply to both parents, irrespective of who you live with (except if you're estranged from them). A student who has been living with one parent on a low income gets a huge grant because it's means tested on household, while the other parent who earns 100k who the student has no lived with pays all tuition fees. How is that right? People cheat the system in so many ways, the student finance system has so many flaws.

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Updated: August 8, 2012
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