​The government spending review (to be published at the end of October), is set to announce changes to student finance that will seriously disadvantage students and graduates, seeing them start paying an equivalent of almost 50% tax.

Chris Skidmore, Universities Minister is quoted saying:

‘I think this was always the plan. It certainly is the easiest, least complicated and fastest means by which to reduce additional costs on the taxpayer and ensure that the reform can be easily communicated to the public.  I expect the threshold will be set at median national earnings. After all, it would be hard to argue why someone earning that wage should not start to pay back their fees.’

Chris Skidmore, Universities Minister

Reports show the government is considering reducing the point at which graduates repay their student debt. Currently set at 9% of earnings over £27,000 per year, reducing the student loan repayment point to £23,000 leaves students worse off over their lifetime. Graduates will be worse off than previous generations, paying for loan repayments which are the equivalent of a nearly 50% rate of tax.

Tuition fees are rumoured to be lowering, but these changes will not improve the situation for students and graduates.  Lower tuition fees will also risk putting several Universities out of business, closing courses and reducing options for those who want to enter higher education.

The ‘Costing Your Future’ campaign was formed by a group of Students’ Unions based in the South of England* who are campaigning to lobby the government and inform students about the impact of proposed change in student fees and funding.

We are lobbying for:

  1. Any changes to the repayment threshold that would negatively affect graduates should not be applied retroactively.
  2. Any changes to the loan system should be considered in such a manner that they do not disadvantage graduates in their early careers or by extending the repayment period.
  3. The repayment threshold should never sit below median non-graduate earnings.
  4. Where there is a reduction in spend within Higher Education, the government should be responsible for ensuring that the student experience is protected.
  5. Courses such as the Arts and Social Sciences are beneficial and should be appropriately funded.
  6. No graduate, especially those within the lowest salary bands, should have a marginal tax rate of 50%.

‘We’ve named this campaign ‘Costing Your Future’ because we want students and graduates to understand that changes like this will significantly affect our financial futures.  The government is set to disadvantage our generation with lower repayment thresholds on our student loans, and we want to lobby the government so that they stop making our generation pay for their mistakes.’ 

Ajay Ajimobi, Union President – Surrey Students’ Union

To discover how a change in the payment thresholds might affect you, visit our page at https://costingyourfuture.org.uk/ and try our calculator.

We also have a template so you can email your MP and share your concerns.

* The Southern Unions network was established in 2018 to provide a shared voice for Students’ Unions in the South of England. The network campaigns on national issues impacting University students in England.