Should Welsh students' grants switch to loans?

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    A government review of university finance has recommended that Welsh students' tuition fee grants should be replaced with "support for living costs".

    So what does this mean...?

    The current grants system would be replaced with a means tested loans system. If it goes ahead, the changes could be rolled out 2018/19. If you are worried about how it will affect you, you can read the full article to learn about the suggested loan boundaries.

    And why...?

    1. There are concerns that the current system isn't affordable
    2. The new system could improve access to uni, as students will be able to pay off debt once they're working, rather than worry about living costs while at uni

    The fear of not being able to meet the cost of living on a daily basis puts many off, not the prospect of paying back loans after they are in work.
    Do you agree? Should Welsh students' grants be replaced with loans?
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    claireestelle what do you think about this?
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    I think the middle class will probably be hardest hit, the less well off will get more money as it's means tested. The rich can afford to go to the best unis, so won't really affect them.

    This is typical Tory policies, look after the rich and look after your chums in the banking sector who would love to earn the interest from these loans. Of course there is the flip-side, where tax revenue is saved.
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    (Original post by Alisaurus Cats)
    Do you agree? Should Welsh students' grants be replaced with loans?
    To an extent. I don't see why they want to replace a universal system (the current tuition fee grant is available to all, regardless of family income) with a means-tested one. Student Finance doesn't have a great reputation for means-testing properly, since they don't, as far as I know, take into account any other children that there are in a family when determining whether/how much a student is eligible to borrow as a maintenance loan (which the living costs grant would replace). Unless they plan on making it universal, I don't see how this is supposed to be an improvement on the current system from a student's point of view.

    Apart from that, I'm tentatively in agreement with this. :holmes:
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    (Original post by suky321)
    This is typical Tory policies
    This plan would be enacted by the devolved government of Wales, which is currently controlled by Labour (in an informal coalition with a Liberal Democrat AM though). No Tories involved.

    look after the rich and look after your chums in the banking sector who would love to earn the interest from these loans.
    They're government loans; you pay them back as taxes to HMRC. No banks involved.

    Of course there is the flip-side, where tax revenue is saved.
    The proposal itself is expected to be cost-neutral, but some indirect savings to the higher education sector are anticipated.
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    (Original post by She-Ra)
    claireestelle what do you think about this?
    I think it should stay as it is. The living cost grants we currently have has quite a reasonable income threshold to get it. I was always a bit better off from my English fiancé so did experience how much easier it was being Welsh to get through uni without too much debt.
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    Nah M8 I'm all right. That's just the English getting salty because they have a bad deal.
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    (Original post by suky321)
    I think the middle class will probably be hardest hit, the less well off will get more money as it's means tested. The rich can afford to go to the best unis, so won't really affect them.

    This is typical Tory policies, look after the rich and look after your chums in the banking sector who would love to earn the interest from these loans. Of course there is the flip-side, where tax revenue is saved.
    All students will get £9113 per year maintenance – it's just the balance of grant and loan that is means-tested (anywhere from £1000 grant to £9113 grant).

    Whilst something similar was proposed in the Welsh Tory manifesto (as well as the Welsh Lib Dem one), this is the result of a review commissioned by a Welsh Labour government (in 2014) and potentially implemented by a Welsh Liberal Democrat Education Secretary. The recommendations have also been endorsed by Llŷr Gruffydd, the Plaid Cymru Shadow Education Secretary.
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    Sorry if I'm being stupid here, but why are people talking about living costs when what's being discussed is the tuition fee grant?
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    (Original post by Twinpeaks)
    Sorry if I'm being stupid here, but why are people talking about living costs when what's being discussed is the tuition fee grant?
    There are reforms to maintenance loans and grants included within the Diamond Review as well as the scrapping of tuition fee grants – it's a rebalancing of the student finance system.
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    (Original post by suky321)
    I think the middle class will probably be hardest hit, the less well off will get more money as it's means tested. The rich can afford to go to the best unis, so won't really affect them.

    This is typical Tory policies, look after the rich and look after your chums in the banking sector who would love to earn the interest from these loans. Of course there is the flip-side, where tax revenue is saved.
    Surprisingly the poorer families will get less in the way that they need it the most....disposable income. Under the current system with loans and grants the maximum disposable income (outside London) is just over £11000. Under the new system the maximum disposable income (outside London) is just over £9000.

    With having to pay all of the tuition fees under the new scheme, the actual loan will be about £1000 less per annum, assuming that the full maintenance loan would have been taken under the current scheme.

    For poorer families greater disposable income has to be preferable to lower loans.
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    I'm no longer in uni but had loans (and a small grant) to cover everything (fees, living etc). I feel that repaying the debt doesn't actually impact on my life too much on a day-to-day basis.

    Having said all of that I have some comparisons:
    - My sister is older and was eligible for full grants when she went to uni. She left with about £3,000 debt which is now paid off.
    - When I went to uni the loans system had just been put into action. My student loan came to around £30,000 in total which I expect to pay off the rest of my life.
    - Now my boyfriend wasn't eligible for full grants or loans as his family income was in the higher bracket. He is one of 6 and his family couldn't afford to cover his living costs or fees so he was forced to drop out of uni in his 2nd year. He is still paying back his student loan.

    So although I said above that on a day-to-day basis I don't feel the impact, over my lifetime I definitely will have. And, what's more, I feel the system that is in place is, or at least was, flawed.

    I personally believe that university should be free in all cases (unless there is a special exception ie the course is highly specialised and is guaranteed to open up a particular pathway). In the very least I think reform of the current process is essential and I'm not sure that reform in this direction is the right answer.
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    I've always believed that our Welsh system was unsustainable but was always curious as to whether anything would ever be done due to the politics. However i do believe they have made the right decisions and have managed to avoid a complete upheaval, making the Welsh system still advantageous over the English.

    I come from a low earning family and currently get the following:

    Tuition Fees: £3900 loan / £5100 grant
    Maintenance Support: £3603 loan / £5161 grant

    Therefore currently my total loan is approximately £7500 per year. Under the new proposed system i'd most likely end up with a loan of £9000 (or £9250 / £9500) per year from the tuition fees, but my maintenance would be entirely covered by the proposed grants system.

    I personally have never understood the whole "increased loans will affect students from poor backgrounds" argument. If they understand the system as well as I do, then they would find that they are far better position than many other students.

    Ultimately it will boil down to how the new maintenance system will impact other students (especially the middle class), however i can only gather that more grants will be made available which can only be good.

    To me though, the biggest news was regards to postgraduates:

    "Wales would also be the first UK nation to offer maintenance and tuition fee support for students right though into post graduate study." - BBC

    "Postgraduate students should receive the same level of maintenance and tuition fee support as undergraduate students." - ITV

    This is only a review though, the question now is whether the Assembly will actually act upon the review.
 
 
 
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