The death of the student grant and the move towards student jobs
It’s not always doom and gloom for students, however sometimes it can look that way, especially now we’re about to see the end of the student grant.
Student grants were brought in to help the less fortunate go to university. The aim was to rebalance access to education so that it isn’t just the teens from wealthier families who can afford to go to uni.
The concept of grants has always been widely debated. The bottom line is that grants mean a certain percentage of students get given a lump sum of money each year (funded by the taxpayer) that they never have to pay back. Meanwhile, students who aren’t eligible for these grants (those with a household income of less than £50,000) receive only a basic student loan. Due to rising rents across the UK this barely covers their accommodation fees.
The idea behind this system is that the parents/guardians who can afford to help their children out while at University, inevitably will (even though I’m sure everyone knows a few students where this isn’t the case). However, while arguments can be made for extending higher loans and grants out to the full student population, most people agree that students from poorer backgrounds shouldn’t be held back from getting an education and widening their prospects just because of their background.
Unfortunately, it looks like grants are to be abolished completely by the government and replaced by a loans only system. The government defends their decision, insisting that everyone will still have equal access to education as they can take out a loan if necessary. They also argue that by raising the wage you have to be on before you need to start paying your loan back, it’s actually a better and fairer system altogether.
However, a three year trip to uni already costs in excess of £20,000 and with this new change alongside the rise in tuition fees, students who go for the full loan are looking at debts in excess of £50,000. If you’re from a low income family, I’m sure that prospect is very uninviting. And I think you’ll find it very hard to argue that people from lower income families won’t be worse off, as those families with the money and inclination to pay for their child’s university outright will, leaving the lower income students already £50,000 down compared to their richer peers at the end of university.
Student grant or no student grant, most students don’t have a lot of money while they’re at university anyway. Speaking from a personal experience, I didn’t meet the criteria for a student grant and I didn’t get a lot of money from my parents either – maybe £30/40 a week to help with food and bills but I certainly wasn’t living like a king! Like an increasing number of students, I decided to find a job and earn a bit of cash to keep me afloat. I worked part time through term at a bar at uni and picked up some extra cash from waiter work over the summer. The only problem, is the jobs were time consuming and it did tend to eat into my study (and social) time.
One option that more and more students are taking to get around this downside, is working as a Brand Ambassador for a bit of extra cash. In this kind of role, students work flexibly around their studies to help market brands to their peers. We offer a variety of brand ambassador roles at Campus Industries, and are currently recruiting for the Virgin Media BA role. This is a great opportunity to learn about the Virgin brand, get marketing and sales experience – and even potentially get to meet Richard Branson! I’d definitely recommend Brand Ambassador roles, not only to drastically increase your weekly food budget, but also earn you skills that will look great on your CV.
For more information on SBA roles have look around our website, or get in touch. To find out more about the scrapping of the maintenance grants check out https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/109649 where you can see parliamentary debates, petitions and government responses.