The Vice-Chancellors of seven of the UK’s biggest universities have written to the government campaigning for interest on student loans to be scrapped.
The leaders of some of the country’s top institutions have written to the UK government with the aim of wiping interest on student loans for 15 months.
This, they argue, will alleviate the pressure felt by students and graduates in the current crisis.
The letter from the Vice Chancellors says: “Students are studying in the context of a deadly global pandemic.
“The opportunity and wealth gap between the young and old is already unacceptably large – and existing challenges are being amplified by the impact of the pandemic on students and their life chances.
“For a second year in a row, all of our students will be entering into a desperately challenging job market.
“The pandemic has placed unprecedented pressures on our students.”
The Vice Chancellors from the University of Essex, Goldsmiths, University of Kent, Royal Holloway, University of East Anglia, University of Sussex and University of Reading have all signed the letter petitioning for the change.
VC’s Open Letter https://t.co/GEzEnvDylV The intergenerational contract requires a broad response: supporting current students & recognising the pandemic’s impact will not end when our students graduate. These proposals would help ensure students are not forgotten or left behind. pic.twitter.com/i6fRaGuVFL
— Prof Anthony Forster (@Forster_Anthony) February 2, 2021
They believe the interest rate on student loans should be wiped from all outstanding balances from the start of the first coronavirus lockdown (March 2020) to the end of this academic year.
This will wipe an estimated £33 million of student debt per academic year cohort, according to London Economics.
Edward Peck, the Vice Chancellor of Nottingham Trent University, believes that although it could be effective, the government’s priority should be focusing on short-term solutions first.
He said: “Whilst this may be something for Government to consider in the long-term, the priority now must be to ensure that any students experiencing financial difficulties today are getting support.
“I welcome the additional Government support for Hardship Funds, into which NTU had already put more money locally.
“We have also waived accommodation rents for students in NTU and UPP halls and encourage the Government to look at what more they could do to make more landlords do the same.”
By Faith Pring
Feature image credit: Pixabay