Working class students like us won’t go to uni now maintenance grants have been scrapped

‘I don’t want to struggle for three years only to find myself in tonnes of debt’

One in three graduates claiming to regret going to university because of the debt they’re now in. Fees are on the up, already stretching to £9,250 in some places, and maintenance grants, labelled as the last solace for students from poorer backgrounds, have been scrapped by the government and replaced with loans. We spoke to a few applicants who are now considering not going to university and getting a degree due to the additional debt they will be saddled with.

49 per cent of graduates under 35 have also said that they could have got where they are now without their degree, so should sixth formers even bother if they’re going to end up in vast debt?

Lizzy Hill, 22, applying for Midwifery

“I don’t understand how young people like myself are supposed to be able to afford the accommodation costs of university with such little funding. I don’t have £8,000 to spend on accommodation and I don’t know many people my age who do.

“The government are making it nearly impossible for me to become a midwife, and they’re currently crying out for more midwives. All in all I’ll be getting around £3000, this is unacceptable. They’re putting me in a very difficult situation, I’m going to have to take what I’m given and see what happens, but I might not be able to complete my education.”

Thomas, 16, applying for Computer Science

“It means less people are going to go because they think we won’t be able to pay or afford to live in debt. So in a country where we need more skilled workers, who need university degrees to get the skills they need, they now can’t get those university degrees because they don’t have the money.

“It might surprise the government that not everyone can have their daddies pay for everything in their life, and some people actually have to work themselves, but what is the point in going to university if you spend most of the time there working to pay for it rather than studying. I don’t see the point. I don’t think I’ll be able to afford to go now at all.

“If I’m going to have to spend more time working than I do studying just to pay the bills, there isn’t much point. I couldn’t get a job before I got a degree, so I will be stuck with a bad job likely earning minimum wage to pay for uni, spending more time doing that than I am in uni studying because if I don’t then I won’t be able to afford it. It’s hard enough enough for me to find a job doing basics so I don’t know what I’ll do in the future.

“It seems to make the most sense now to go for an apprenticeship. This whole process, not just cutting grants but support for disabled students being so limited and hard to get to seems to make uni sound pointless.

“The whole thing seems like the government is trying to scam money off you for something that isn’t worth that much. Maybe if you’re doing medicine or law then yeah, but other degrees are looking pointless now.

“I don’t want to struggle for three or so years only to find myself in tonnes of debt, further health issues and a degree that isn’t worth much.”

Jade Dagwell Douglas, 19, applying for Fine Art

“The introduction of the maintenance loan instead of grant is a massive set back for my plans for uni. Hearing that I’ll be stuck with even more debt after completing my degree really put me off wanting to have a higher education qualification.

“The fees for uni alone are enough to put someone off uni but with added stress of having to pay back a maintenance loan, it really puts my plans to go to uni at a higher cost. I’m strongly believe that uni should be free for everyone. In the long run it benefits society as a whole to have an educated population.

“I still want to go to uni and probably will as I know the introduction of a loan instead of a grant is there to deter people from poorer backgrounds but I refuse to not be educated just because of the family I was born into.”

Poppy Watt, 18, applying for Law

“Personally, I will not be deterred from attending university with the scrapping of the maintenance grants as I have worked hard to get good grades all of my life and know that I owe it to myself.

“However I am from a poor, working-class family and will end up heavily in debt, and it angers me that the government want to do everything they can to prevent people attending. Social mobility will decrease and the wealth gap will increase.

“I think that sadly the scrapping of the grant is just another hurdle and will probably put a lot of young people with great potential off attending university. It’s such a shame that young people always suffer most at the hands of government policy.”

Simone Simoes, 17, applying for Criminology with Law

“I’m not sure that I’ve been put off going to uni as such, it’s just been so stressful. I received a letter from student finance stating that they were able to fund me the £9,000 for uni and the £3,000 as a grant. I then received another letter saying that they are no longer able to fund my course and that id be getting £0. I got that same letter three times.

“Once I called up they said that I had supposedly applied for last year’s corse, but I know myself and I also got my parents to double check before I applied for the finance that all the information was correct including the year. However, they insisted that I applied for the wrong year and denied any sort of technical malfunction.

“There was nothing I could do, I just had to apply again. Once I did that things went pretty smoothly. I received another letter stating that they will be funding my course. The whole thing nearly stopped me going, though.”