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EDITIONS
Thursday, 11 July, 2002, 16:48 GMT 17:48 UK
Students fearful of more debt
NUS demo
Students are concerned about their growing debts
As an influential group of MPs says students from wealthier homes should pay higher charges, so poorer students can be given financial help.

But many students are worried about the prospect of further debt.

More "realistic" student loans, higher interest rates for the better off and higher tuition fees are all recommendations by the Commons education committee

But for Nick Heydon, who has just graduated from Nottingham Trent University, the thought of accruing debts any bigger than the 10,000 he owes would be off-putting.

What the report says.

"It's daunting, especially as I haven't even started earning yet," said Nick.

"There is quite a big worry about," he said.

Nick Hutchins
Nick Hutchins: Worried about clearing his student debts
Nick was sceptical of putting more burden on students from wealthier backgrounds, saying such a move could see future students running up debts of 20,000.

"I can't see many people would be very happy with it.

"I don't think we would pay any more because it's quite hard at the moment.

"But there is a question of where does the money come from?

"Then there are limits because there's only so much help parents can give and there's only so much help parents want to give," said Nick.

Nick's father, Jeremy, said putting further burden on parents would put many people under huge financial pressure at a time when they were approaching retirement and trying to save money into their pensions.

Working class students

But Lessa Heydon, also graduating from Nottingham Trent University, it seems fair to make the rich pay more.

Lessa Heydon
Lessa Heydon has debts of 10,000
"I think that's a great idea, because there aren't many working class students and you definitely need to encourage it," said Lessa.

But her mother, Kathy - who herself has just graduated as a mature student and has debts of 13,000 - expressed concern about overloading parents.

"It'll just put more pressure on parents at the upper level because it does tend to boil down to the parents," said Kathy.

Just starting out

Amy Radford, 19, starts a business information systems management degree at Bournemouth University in September.

She is well aware that "people come out of university with huge debts as it is" and does not like the idea of having to pay higher interest rates for a loan.

"If it gets even more expensive it would definitely make me think twice about carrying on my education," she said.


Tuition fees are expensive anyway, any increase will definitely stop people going

Amy Radford, 19
"I haven't decided how much of a loan I will need because I'm working full-time to save for university at the moment, and I'm going to try to carry on working part-time, but I'm sure it'll put a lot of people off.

"Lots of students rely on student loans so it'll just make things even harder."

Likewise the prospect of higher tuition fees has little appeal.

"Tuition fees are expensive anyway, any increase will definitely stop people going.

"If tuition fees went up - it would depend how much of course - but it would make me think twice and I would have to weigh up whether I could still afford to go."


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11 Jul 02 | UK Education
11 Jul 02 | UK Education
10 Jul 02 | UK Education
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