As a student, the one thing that I find most unfair is how the amount of student finance you receive depends on your household income.
Because of this, students from varying backgrounds arrive at University to find that some are in a better financial place than others based on something out of their control.
It doesn’t take into account that parents may earn a lot of money to cover the costs of many things. They may have many more children to look after, they would have a car to insure and fill with petrol, a mortgage to pay and things to buy for themselves.
I know a few people who get the minimum loan with no grant and the money they receive does not cover the cost of their accommodation. In most cases I’ve seen, their parents aren’t in the best position to help with the costs and ended up relying on their overdraft.
After accommodation costs you need to actually feed, clean and clothe yourself but if you can’t even pay for the roof over your head, how can you pay for these basic necessities?
The government should know that the cost of accommodation at University is more often than not at least £3,500. You then need money on top of this to pay for food, toiletries, and other necessary basics.
The minimum student maintenance loan that students can potentially receive could be as low as £3,575. Such students receive no grant.
The maximum student maintenance loan and grant could be £8,854.
A difference of over £5,000.
Why do the government think that these low household income students need so much?
Are parents expected to provide the extra £5,000 to those who cannot receive this amount?
I believe that there are two possible solutions, either:
- Raise the minimum maintenance loan available. That way, the basics are covered. The government should research accommodation and food costs to find a reasonable amount which gives students enough to not find themselves struggling. Fair enough, sacrifices must be made – those en suit halls may have to be given a miss but when the cheapest of places is unaffordable, something has to be done.
- Give all students the same amount of money. Everyone will owe the same amount, everyone is in the same boat. People won’t find themselves struggling to buy a tin of beans with the minimum loan while others could be strutting around the campus with new clothes and gadgets courtesy of their hefty loan. Any other money which students receive will either be from working hard in the holidays or a treat from the parents.