Students and Universities - Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee Contents

Memorandum 88

Submission from Dr Frederick G Page


    — the effectiveness of initiatives to support student engagement in the formulation of HE policy, and how the success or otherwise of these initiatives is being assessed — how the student experience differs in public and private universities — examples of reasons for, and potential strategies to reduce, the non-completion of higher education programmes by students

    — the adequacy of UK higher education (HE) funding and student support packages, and implications for current and future levels of student debt

    — any further action required by the Government and/or HEFCE to ensure that UK HEIs offer students a world class educational experience

  I have taken the above headings from your website and wish to express a personal opinion regarding interest charges made against student loans currently operated by the Student Loans Company of Glasgow on behalf of the DIUS. I believe such an opinion is relevant to your considerations of these headings.

  I am of the strong opinion that it is unfair, indeed immoral (if we are to accept the recent remarks of the Archbishop of Canterbury) to levy interest against student loans whilst any student is currently studying (or indeed unemployed).

  I will not enlarge on this opinion; either one is for or against adding to the now alarming amounts of debt incurred by most University students. Suffice it to say that I regard such interest as entirely misplaced and should cease.

  I find that most parents of potential university entrants are completely unaware of this tax and merely assume a student accrues repayable fees only. To quote my own daughter's situation currently in her third and final university year, I estimate her debt will approach £20,000 and, have in mind that interest is being applied at 3.0%. Can any compassionate parent or student believe this to be fair?

  May I respectfully ask you and your committee to consider this aspect of Student support and engagement?

January 2009

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