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Church News

Student Christian Movement: ‘I think it will put people off’ students having to pay back university loans over 40 years

by Alex Collett

The government has announced students in England will have to pay back university loans over 40 years instead of 30, under swingeing reforms designed to save the Treasury tens of billions of pounds.

The number of students expected to pay back their loan in full, is expected to double, from under a quarter (23 per cent) to more than half (52 per cent) as a result of the changes,

This will see many graduates paying for their degree until retirement in what was described as a "lifelong graduate tax".

Trustee and LGBTQ+ Rep for the Student Christian Movement Louise Dover thinks it will put future students off applying to go to University.

Dover said: “I definitely think it will put people off. One of the sort of saving graces of this, at least for current and former students, is that it's only applying to students who are starting in September 2023.

“Whilst it only affects those wanting to go to uni, that's still a really significant change.

“Because people might be paying their student loans off until well into their 60s and depending on when around 18.

“So it's highly unlikely that a lot of people will even reach retirement age before they're able to pay off their loans.”

Dover also believes it’s important to be praying for future students: “I think it's really important that we pray for students that they'll be given kind of good guidance, information, or the kind of knowledge that they need.

“As well as the sort of comfort in knowing that what they want to do is a good thing, that going to university is still worth it.

“But also providing spaces for students to feel at home and going to university is not only expensive, it's also a massive change.

“So adding financial pressure on top of that can be really hard.

“So I think it's really important that we prefer students to have good information, knowledge, but also support as well.”

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