I wrote to my Member of Parliament again last week, just before he voted against the legislation that would allow Universities to charge three times as much as they currently do for their tuition fees, he duly voted against the increases despite being a current serving member of the coalition so big hurrah’s for him.
My main point to him wasn’t just the unfairness of the fees increase but the potential to completely screw up the lives of those who are currently 16 years and under, in the future, maybe even a long time into the future.
You see my main fear for these young people is that the proposed maximum tuition fee is £9000 per year and yes we all understand that that is the absolute maximum proposed – but lets not be naive about this, it will become the norm in no short space of time at all – so thats just £27,000 for your degree then.
Add to that the sums of circa £3000 per annum that you are allowed to borrow from the Student Loan Company (the company that has been told its not fit for purpose by HM Gov) add in the bank overdrafts of circa £1800 that are handed out willy-nilly without question to students (yes really) and we’re creeping up towards a Student Loan debt of £40,000 at just 22 years of age, and it will become reality in just a few short years time.
£40K is the second largest debt that a person will take on in their lifetime, only a house mortgage will be greater, and yet we have Members of Parliament, supposedly sensible intelligent men and women, standing up in the House of Commons and speaking of such debts as “acceptable” and “easily paid back from future income”, this in the wake of three years of monetary strife and more to come.
But my greatest fear for those who are currently still children is the knock-on effect to their future credit rating, a subject that I now understand in far greater clarity then before having been subjected in the last year to a credit rating lower than that of Nigeria.
For those who have no knowledge of their credit rating I would recommend having a look at these people and spending ten minutes reading through the information they hold on you, it could be wrong, it was certainly wrong in my case as Nat West Bank – you know, that bank that says it makes banking easy – were marking my monthly credit line with them as “missed payment” from May to October, five months worth of missed credit payments caused my credit rating to plunge to unknown lows – and I had closed the account with Nat West in May, the reason why I was not making any more payments to them was because I no longer owed them any money and I had a letter from them to confirm that, the fookwits at Nat West, you know, the bank that makes banking easy, did not update the information that they are supposed to manage at Experian for five months – during that time I was turned down for a car loan from The Car People, and when The Car People won’t find a loan for you then you know you are in deep shit.
Thats how easy it is to screw up your credit rating, one fookwit company making a compounded error is all it took to make me a financial pariah this year, eventually Experian attached a note to my file advising all potential lenders to treat the Nat West entry with caution and they got Nat West to correct their error (Nat West never contacted me during that time or since, yes, they really care about their former customers don’t they) and my credit score is now back where it was previously – but its that easy to prevent you from accessing any finance at all, car loans, mobile phone accounts, any form of finance at all.
Currently student loans are not admissible to credit rating agencies, they have an agreement not to include the current level of student loans (circa £12k) in their calculations.
Now, hands up all of those who believe that that situation will continue indefinitely for the next generation of students who are leaving Uni with up to £40k worth of debt…
If my credit rating can get so screwed up over a non-existent debt of £800 just imagine what they can do with £40k, especially when we are speaking of a government sponsored loan company who have been warned for yet another year to get their act together with regards to their administration of student debts (the only job that they are supposed to do).
And supposedly intelligent people stood up in Parliament and voted in favour…