From education to employment

Debt levels for poorest students is hugely worrying

The level of debt for the poorest students is hugely worrying and should concern us all – something must be done immediately
IFS PRIMARYA new report issued by the Institute For Fiscal Studies has offered some worrying analysis around social mobility in the UK and within universities. A survey conducted by Educating All, a programme focused on the barriers faced by working class young people in higher education, showed that 86.7% of state school educated students faced financial difficulty at university. .
Replacing grants with loans means that students from low-income families are graduating with the highest debt levels, in excess of £57,000. The report also shows that the scrapping of the grant under David Cameron in 2015 disproportionately affects the poorest, while students from the richest 30% of households leave with lower average borrowings of £43,000.
Terry Manyeh, Researcher at Educating All, said “When conducting our research for the Educating All report, we spoke to working class students from universities across the country. The students interviewed overwhelmingly felt that university was not a place for them.”
“Combined with the findings of the report today, the scrapping of maintenance grants and the fact that working class students who are often the first of their families to go to university are leaving with the highest ever levels of debt, higher than their wealthier peers which will burden them for most of their lives. Back up those feelings and show that universities are less accessible to those with already significant barriers. The pressures of increased debt is also having negative consequences on the mental health of working class students.”
“Once I got the letter saying that we got into university, that’s when I thought that educational inequality ended. When I got into university, it became apparent within the first three weeks that this wasn’t the case.” – Research participant
“Personally I had a lot of mental health issues whilst at university, as well as . The support is just not fit for purpose. Our counselling service always have a couple of months waiting list. That is a huge issue.” – Research participant
About Educating All: A groundbreaking working class student led programme commissioned by youth leadership charity RECLAIM.  Educating All addresses the barriers faced by working class students within higher education by working with universities to create tailored, student-centred solutions to improve the recruitment, retention, attainment and well-being of working class students. The Educating All report was launched in February and is available here.
About RECLAIM: A Manchester-based charity, supporting working class young people to end leadership inequality.  RECLAIM works with young people from working class communities to become leaders and social change pioneers through a range of projects and campaigns.

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