Edulinks – 12 August 2011

The latest Push student debt survey is out today. Future students will see a big rise in headline figures, given higher fees from 2012.

Under the new system, repayments will come from money out of graduate pay packets when they’re earning over £21,000.

But this part of the debt isn’t scary. It’s more annoying than dangerous. If you’re earning less than £21k, you don’t repay. And the debt eventually clears after a few decades.

The bigger problem is immediate living costs. Debts have been rising every year (other than one small dip in 2004) since Push started compiling their survey.

Johnny Rich, Editor of Push, explains that “students will need to find a quarter of that money from outside the support of the official loans system”.

Nearly 7% of debt will arise from bank accounts and credit cards. I hated these debts the most, but I had to live with them as a student. I know many of you have to do that too. The Push survey suggests these debts are continuing to rise.

Credit card and overdraft debts are in your face. Right now. How can that be helpful when you’re trying to concentrate on other things? I felt the pressure as a student, living on a financial knife edge as soon as I started university.

And a recent journal article reports that these financial difficulties impact upon academic achievement.

One academic suggests that you should be able to pay off tuition fee debt by donating a kidney. Perhaps more students would be interested if it covered living costs too…

Alternatively, you could sell some of your possessions that aren’t part of your body. Research by NUS and Ensleigh suggest that students take £2,652 worth of stuff to uni. There must be something worth selling amongst all that, eh? ;)

Here’s a great TED Talk by Julian Treasure on 5 ways to listen better:

And I’ll leave you with these wise words by Cal Newport:

“Start things earlier than you think you need to, aim to finish them well before they’re due.”

Amen.