A petition set up by Durham student Alex True to oppose the rise in the cost of a student loan is to be debated in parliament on 18 July at 4.30pm.
Having reached over 120,000 signatures in just a few days, the petition has argued that the government has backtracked on its promise made in 2010 that from April 2017 the student loan repayment threshold of £21,000 would be upped each year to fall in line with average earnings. However, the proposal to freeze the threshold at £21,000 would mean students will pay more on a student loan. To give an example: if you earn £23,000 and the threshold increased to £23,000 as under the governments original plan, you would pay nothing back on your student loan. However, with the plan to freeze the repayment threshold at £21,000, an annual salary of £23,000 would mean you repay £180 per year.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) insisted that freezing the repayment threshold ensures the student support system “remains affordable for the tax payer” and that all students can “access a university education, irrespective of their ability to pay”.
Although the likelihood of the government making a U-turn on its proposal to freeze the student loan threshold is low, it still provides an optimistic opportunity for students to express their concerns at the rising costs of a university education; a problem that became prominent after the hike in university tuition fees to £9,000 back in 2012. In a recent Financial Times article, it is estimated that graduate debt has risen from £16,200, to £44,000. Naturally this has led to a serious concern that two-thirds of UK students will never pay off their university debt.