makh88
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I was hoping someone on here could help me with a bit of conundrum. I'm a mature student (at the grand, old age of 32) and I've got an offer to study at King's College London. I'm delighted with it, but the problem is, I've been to uni before (but didn't graduate for health reasons), and so have 40 grand's worth of debt already. I also have offers from abroad (University of Amsterdam, University of Utrecht, University of Freiburg) at unis which are dirt cheap in comparison. Is the prestige of a KCL degree so much so that it's worth taking on more debt, or would a degree from Amsterdam/Freiburg (which I could pay for without any loans) be more or less just as valuable in the UK job market? (I'm hoping to work in editorial or in the translation sector, by the way).

Thanks in advance!
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Wired_1800
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(Original post by makh88)
I was hoping someone on here could help me with a bit of conundrum. I'm a mature student (at the grand, old age of 32) and I've got an offer to study at King's College London. I'm delighted with it, but the problem is, I've been to uni before (but didn't graduate for health reasons), and so have 40 grand's worth of debt already. I also have offers from abroad (University of Amsterdam, University of Freiburg) at unis which are dirt cheap in comparison. Is the prestige of a KCL degree so much so that it's worth taking on more debt, or would a degree from Amsterdam/Freiburg (which I could pay for without any loans) be more or less just as valuable in the UK job market? (I'm hoping work in editorial or in the translation sector, by the way).

Thanks in advance!
I think it depends on your future interests and plans. If you intend to stay in the UK, then it would make more sense to have a UK degree and integrate into the system. If not, then probably best to go for the cheapest with the most value imho.
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McGinger
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Amsterdam is certainly a credible University and on a par with KCL - I have no idea about Frieburg.

This comes down to personal choice - course content, teaching styles, Uni environment, 'living in a different country' (pros and cons) - and ££.
Only you can make this decision - but if you are a linguist, then studying in the Netherlands surely is a major plus.
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ajj2000
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How are you planning on funding this? Savings? How much is your budget. Also - what course?
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The yung bean
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First of all congrats on your offers. Secondly I'm not super knowledgeable about the prestige but remember that in the UK all your student debt disappears in 30 years so it's not like any normal £40k debt.
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artful_lounger
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The debt is I think a non-issue; as you probably know, you only make repayments to your student loan debt while you are earning above the threshold, and if you're a PAYE worker this just automatically comes out of your paycheque like any other tax/NI contribution. Additionally student loan debt does not affect your credit rating, and unless you move abroad without telling SFE or you misrepresent your income as a self-employed worker filing your own taxes, you aren't going to ever have bailiffs banging on your door for repayments. Additionally after a certain length of time after your took out the loan (depends on when you took it out, but generally before or when you retire) any leftover loan you owe is written off. So it's really "invisible" debt and isn't going to materially make much difference in your life.

The bigger potential issue with studying in the UK is, if you have prior study (whether or not you earned a qualification or were funded by SFE) in a full-time higher education course (i.e. uni level course), it will limit the amount of tuition fee loan funding you are eligible for from SFE. So you may not be eligible for a tuition fee loan for all years of your course (or potentially any years of your course) and would need to self fund the tuition fees for those years. You should still be eligible for a maintenance loan though. Therefore I think this is going to be the major determining factor in whether it's feasible to study in the UK? I'd definitely recommend getting in touch with SFE and discussing your potential entitlement with them.

Anyway unless you want to go into investment banking I don't think it will make a difference which you study at as far as graduate prospects go.
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makh88
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(Original post by Wired_1800)
I think it depends on your future interests and plans. If you intend to stay in the UK, then it would make more sense to have a UK degree and integrate into the system. If not, then probably best to go for the cheapest with the most value imho.
I would like to work in Spain at some point, but whether that's realistic is another matter. Not just because of changeable Covid rules, but the job market isn't exactly booming over there. So, I suppose KCL is the safe option, but if I were to work abroad, do you think foreign employers care that much that KCL has a higher international ranking than Amsterdam, Utrecht (forgot to mention that one too), or Freiburg?
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Wired_1800
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(Original post by makh88)
I would like to work in Spain at some point, but whether that's realistic is another matter. Not just because of changeable Covid rules, but the job market isn't exactly booming over there. So, I suppose KCL is the safe option, but if I were to work abroad, do you think foreign employers care that much that KCL has a higher international ranking than Amsterdam, Utrecht (forgot to mention that one too), or Freiburg?
If you are working abroad, I don't think many employers would be particularly minded on the university’s rep if it is not local to the country. As you are in the UK, I would suggest that you go to Kings and start from there.
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makh88
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(Original post by McGinger)
Amsterdam is certainly a credible University and on a par with KCL - I have no idea about Frieburg.

This comes down to personal choice - course content, teaching styles, Uni environment, 'living in a different country' (pros and cons) - and ££.
Only you can make this decision - but if you are a linguist, then studying in the Netherlands surely is a major plus.
I've heard Dutch unis are a lot harder to graduate from than UK unis - no idea if that's true or not. Either way, I've lived in different countries before, so adapt fairly quickly to new environments (there's a preview of what I say in cover letters for jobs). Regardless, it's mainly the cost issue that's making me have second thoughts about KCL. I know you only pay back a certain amount each month (I'm assuming I'll be earning more than £25k at some point), but at the moment, the prospect of having £80k's worth of debt feels like a huge weight around my neck for years to come. I think I just need a bit more reassurance that the student debt is more like a tax and the benefits outweigh the negatives.
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makh88
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(Original post by ajj2000)
How are you planning on funding this? Savings? How much is your budget. Also - what course?
My family are hopefully helping me pay for the first year and I'm also hoping to secure a job to help with that and living costs - if not, student loan. Years 2 and 3, I'd be looking to get a student loan for sure (assuming they'll give me one). I'll need a job and/or a maintenance loan for living costs, cos my budget is a meagre 600 quid a month and I want to be within walking distance of KCL. For the foreign unis, I would fund it myself and with some help from family, but I definitely wouldn't take a loan.
Courses:
KCL - Liberal Arts
University of Amsterdam - European Studies
University of Utrecht - Linguistics (will add to original post)
University of Freiburg - Liberal Arts and Sciences
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makh88
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(Original post by The yung bean)
First of all congrats on your offers. Secondly I'm not super knowledgeable about the prestige but remember that in the UK all your student debt disappears in 30 years so it's not like any normal £40k debt.
Thanks. True, but like I mentioned in another post, I'm just struggling to see the woods for the trees at the moment. I just see £80k glaring in front of me when I should be focussed on how valuable a KCL degree would be.
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ajj2000
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(Original post by makh88)
My family are hopefully helping me pay for the first year and I'm also hoping to secure a job to help with that and living costs - if not, student loan. Years 2 and 3, I'd be looking to get a student loan for sure (assuming they'll give me one). I'll need a job and/or a maintenance loan for living costs, cos my budget is a meagre 600 quid a month and I want to be within walking distance of KCL. For the foreign unis, I would fund it myself and with some help from family, but I definitely wouldn't take a loan.
Courses:
KCL - Liberal Arts
University of Amsterdam - European Studies
University of Utrecht - Linguistics (will add to original post)
University of Freiburg - Liberal Arts and Sciences
Isn't the first thing to check out whether you would get UK student loan? Given the amount of student debt you have already I'd be nervous that you would be entitled to one.
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ajj2000
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(Original post by makh88)
Thanks. True, but like I mentioned in another post, I'm just struggling to see the woods for the trees at the moment. I just see £80k glaring in front of me when I should be focussed on how valuable a KCL degree would be.
If you can get student loans (which I doubt but it may be possible) it will probably make no difference to your life whether you owe £40k or £120k. The amount you repay will not vary unless you hit a high income very fast. Your targeted careers are not particularly well paid so no issue at all.
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makh88
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
The debt is I think a non-issue; as you probably know, you only make repayments to your student loan debt while you are earning above the threshold, and if you're a PAYE worker this just automatically comes out of your paycheque like any other tax/NI contribution. Additionally student loan debt does not affect your credit rating, and unless you move abroad without telling SFE or you misrepresent your income as a self-employed worker filing your own taxes, you aren't going to ever have bailiffs banging on your door for repayments. Additionally after a certain length of time after your took out the loan (depends on when you took it out, but generally before or when you retire) any leftover loan you owe is written off. So it's really "invisible" debt and isn't going to materially make much difference in your life.

The bigger potential issue with studying in the UK is, if you have prior study (whether or not you earned a qualification or were funded by SFE) in a full-time higher education course (i.e. uni level course), it will limit the amount of tuition fee loan funding you are eligible for from SFE. So you may not be eligible for a tuition fee loan for all years of your course (or potentially any years of your course) and would need to self fund the tuition fees for those years. You should still be eligible for a maintenance loan though. Therefore I think this is going to be the major determining factor in whether it's feasible to study in the UK? I'd definitely recommend getting in touch with SFE and discussing your potential entitlement with them.

Anyway unless you want to go into investment banking I don't think it will make a difference which you study at as far as graduate prospects go.
Regarding your first point, as previously mentioned, I just need to get over the idea of being burdened by a huge figure which in reality isn't the debt it seems to be.

You make a good second point - I will have to give SLC a ring. If I can't get any funding then the decision is made for me - I'll have to study abroad. I really do want a degree and it was so disappointing to have to drop out the first time around. So, one way or another, I'll get one.
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makh88
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(Original post by Wired_1800)
If you are working abroad, I don't think many employers would be particularly minded on the university’s rep if it is not local to the country. As you are in the UK, I would suggest that you go to Kings and start from there.
Thanks for your advice
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makh88
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(Original post by ajj2000)
Isn't the first thing to check out whether you would get UK student loan? Given the amount of student debt you have already I'd be nervous that you would be entitled to one.
From the conversation I had with SLC about my previous debt, the adviser didn't say I wouldn't be entitled to another loan, but obviously I'll check this on Monday.
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Interea
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(Original post by makh88)
Regarding your first point, as previously mentioned, I just need to get over the idea of being burdened by a huge figure which in reality isn't the debt it seems to be.

You make a good second point - I will have to give SLC a ring. If I can't get any funding then the decision is made for me - I'll have to study abroad. I really do want a degree and it was so disappointing to have to drop out the first time around. So, one way or another, I'll get one.
The funding calculation is usually "length of course + 1 - years of previous study", although if you can prove the health issues you may be able to get some funding back for Compelling Personal Reasons
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makh88
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(Original post by ajj2000)
If you can get student loans (which I doubt but it may be possible) it will probably make no difference to your life whether you owe £40k or £120k. The amount you repay will not vary unless you hit a high income very fast. Your targeted careers are not particularly well paid so no issue at all.
True - that does help me put it in perspective.
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makh88
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(Original post by Interea)
The funding calculation is usually "length of course + 1 - years of previous study", although if you can prove the health issues you may be able to get some funding back for Compelling Personal Reasons
Yes, I've asked my doctor to write a letter supporting me in this, in fact. But if it's unsuccessful, I can't see myself studying in the UK cos I've already done 3 months at Bath, 2 years part-time plus 1 year full-time at Warwick, then 2 years part-time doing an DipHE (equal to 2 years of degree study) with the OU.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by makh88)
Regarding your first point, as previously mentioned, I just need to get over the idea of being burdened by a huge figure which in reality isn't the debt it seems to be.

You make a good second point - I will have to give SLC a ring. If I can't get any funding then the decision is made for me - I'll have to study abroad. I really do want a degree and it was so disappointing to have to drop out the first time around. So, one way or another, I'll get one.
One thing to note is that part-time funding is separate from full-time funding, so you may be able to be funded for a part-time study even with prior full-time study. I don't think KCL has any part time courses so that might necessitate taking a year out to apply to part-time courses elsewhere.
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