If you wish to broaden your mind and open yourself up to the job market, studying at university is still a worthwhile option that can bag you a career and a high paying salary. However getting to that point is not free!
Student loans are a big topic of controversy in the UK, and thanks to misleading headlines and political rhetoric it can be quite difficult to understand what they are and how they work. Fortunately the idea that you will be saddled with tens of thousands of crippling debt when you leave University level education is not quite true. Student loans do not function like a personal loan you would take out at the bank, so there is no need to worry about financial hardship, bailiffs and all of the other scary things we often associate with large amounts of debt. It’s a fact that education is not free, but that doesn’t mean you will go broke either. The days of only the rich having access to such opportunities is long gone.
Here are 10 comforting facts about student loans that should put your mind at ease if you choose this method of financing your education.
It is more like an income tax than a loan
It is true that the cost of a University education is steep, with figures as high as £50,000 being floated around when you consider every year of a degree and the associated living expenses. However the repayment terms are set up in such a way that paying it back should not have a major impact on your life. You are only required to begin repayment once you graduate or leave the course and then only if you earn over a certain amount. This currently works out at 9% of any income you earn over £21,000. So if you earned £22,000, you would only need to pay 9% of £1,000 – which is just £90. This can therefore be looked at more like a small income tax than a crippling debt.
If you earn below that figure you won’t have to pay back the loan at all until you begin to do so. The majority of people over their working lifetime will not have paid back the full amount, and this is perfectly ok. It’s not really designed to be paid back in full.
The Debt Is Wiped After 30 Years
On top of the fact that you only begin paying back the loan when you are earning, the entire debt is wiped clean after 30 years. So if you enter University at 18 years old, you are no longer required to make repayments as you enter your 50s.
Your Credit Score Isn’t Affected
A young person (or anyone for that matter) taking out thousands in loans could quite quickly end up with a wrecked credit score, especially if they don’t have the means to pay it back. However student loans are much different. They are not even recorded on your credit report and the only way other lenders can learn whether you have students loans is if they ask you in their applications. In reality this is usually only sought when applying for a mortgage. In other words your credit rating will not be affected by taking out a student loan.
You Can Repay Early, But There’s No Point
A lot of loan products require you to see through the full term as a way to ensure you pay the most amount of interest. This is not true of student loans, which you are free to repay in full at any time. However there is no practical reason to do so, unless you earn a considerable amount. Furthermore if you choose to forgo the loan completely and pay the fees upfront, you may actually be £10,000s worse off in the long run, depending on your income.
Loans are for Tuition and Living Expenses
Loans with the same repayment terms are now available for living expenses, not just tuition fees – meaning if you move away from home to pursue a degree you can borrow enough to cover your rent, necessities and course related materials, without having to eat in to important study time by working a job. These loans are means tested, so if your parents don’t earn a lot or you live alone, you will be able to get up to £8,430 (if you reside outside of London, where you can get even more).
Most People are in the same Boat
It’s easy to slip in to the victim’s mind-set, but unless you are one of the few privileged that pay for their education upfront, you are in the same boat as everyone else. So when you think of future earning potential you are also comparatively no worse off than anyone else either.