Retrospectively changing our student loan agreements is an insult to all students

No loan company would be allowed to do this


George Osborne has snuck through legislation to retrospectively change student loan agreements making more students pay back their loans sooner.

Originally, no graduates earning under £21,000 would be expected to start paying back their student loan. As part of the loan agreement, this income level was set to rise with inflation, however, Osborne’s underhand tactics have meant this is no longer the case.

A petition has been started to prevent the government from enacting these changes and if it reaches over 100,000 signatories, it will be debated in Parliament, the very place Osborne failed to mention this legislation in the first place.

I think he's laughing at us

I think he’s laughing at us

Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com said:

“It’s an absolute disgrace and a breach of trust to do retrospective changes to a loan agreement. A commercial company would not have been allowed to do this so, for the chancellor to do it, knowing that there is no regulator who can come and slap him, is a disgrace. And the people who are going to pay for this are the current and future students.”

As Lewis suggests, it would be highly illegal for a loan company to retrospectively alter a loan agreement, however, as its the government, if it passes a bill, that becomes UK law and overturns anything that’s happened previously.

This news comes a week after the government’s Higher Education White Paper suggested tuition fees could be set to rise above £9,000 at some universities. Many students feel their degrees aren’t worth their current price tag as the ‘myth’ of university as an ‘investment’ becomes less and less appealing. When we graduate we will have, on average, £44,000 worth of debt all so we can put on our LinkedIn profile that we have a 2:1 from a Russell Group university. University degrees are worth less but cost more.

This government firstly scrapped maintenance grants in favour of larger maintenance loans, a policy which will affect a number of poorer students’ ability to access higher education. Altering our student loan agreement shows even more reptilian antics from George Osborne and points towards a complete apathy for the student population.

With 58.8 per cent of UK graduates in non-graduate jobs, and UK graduates being burdened with the most debt in the English speaking world, the future of this country is being lumped with crippling amounts of debt. Osborne retrospectively altering student loan agreements may not have a huge impact on the amount each individual student pays back, but it’s more emblematic of a government completely out of touch with the struggles of current students.

How can we support a government that continues to shaft us?