Debt is a loaded word. It’s scary, and it’s said a lot in relation to going to university. Is it right to keep referring to student debt?
Speaking to a recent graduate, I was told that he wasn’t bothered by what everyone keeps referring to as his student debt. In fact, he told me that he viewed his repayments (yes, he was making them as he was employed in a managerial role within a year of graduating) as a tax. His view was that the debt that he had built up whilst studying did not have any impact on things like getting a mortgage and that although he thought that tuition fees were too high and that interest rates were harsh, the actual effect on his day-to-day life was minimal in terms of making repayments.
It’s true – there is a discussion to be had about the cost of going to university. Tuition fees are high, accommodation costs are too and anyone thinking of going to university should consider carefully how useful their course will be to them when they graduate – this is just common sense. It’s also true that young people should not be automatically ‘expected’ to go to university because university isn’t right for everyone and that they should be aware of every option available to them. But, is it time we stopped scaring young people out of going to university and encouraging them into not going to university by telling them how they are going to end up in a massive amount of student debt?
There is a danger that if media coverage of university remains focused so heavily on the horrors of student debt then those from less affluent backgrounds may be the ones who are put off university study resulting in narrowing participation and less social mobility.
To find out what you would pay back, in real terms, each month see our article on student loan repayments.