Fact. There can be no disputing it. The fickle system that has been set up to make our lives at university ‘easier’ inevitably fucks us over, both in the short term and long term. Whether you receive the maximum or minimum allowance, you’ll still eventually fall victim to the government’s money making schemes. Just last week I read a Save the Student article which claimed that the government expect parents/guardians to contribute up to £5, 372 a year for our life at university…
Well that’s just a tiny bit rude.
To be quite honest, I don’t know how much my parents spent on me every year whilst I was under their roof (considering the amount of food I eat, probably a small fortune). Having moved out and been (mostly) independent for just over two years now, I don’t expect my parents to give me money to fund my lavish lifestyle. I don’t mind living on beans on toast when money gets a bit short. Its all part of the student experience. Having said that, if they read that article and decided to give me £5k a year, I probably wouldn’t argue! But that is besides the point. University is supposed to prepare us for life. At what point when we are in our 30-somethings do we expect our parents to dish out money for us to live. They have spent enough in the first 18 years of our lives, I’m pretty sure they have earned a break.
What is ridiculously shocking about this figure is the blatant disregard for the income that students get from student finance initially. Should those who already receive in excess of £5,000 year also expect another £5,000 from their parents? Hell no. They are on such high income because it is highly unlikely that their parents would be able to afford to contribute to their living costs. Yet that makes the government think that anyone receiving in the range of £3,000 is more likely to get money from their parents. This leads me to the biggest fuckery of the finance system – ‘means testing’.
I greatly disagree with their ‘means testing’. What does it even mean?! Although the government probably mean well and see this as the fairest way to give out money, they clearly have not thought this through. Household income does not dictate whether parents are willing to top up our bank accounts. Sure, it might work on paper or on a computer. More money = more likely to give money to needy offspring. But it doesn’t work in real life. It’s like trying to work out how likely I am to punch a charity collector in the face when they ask me for money based on the price of the gloves I am wearing. In reality, we’ve moved out and are living, for the most part, independently. Parents don’t want to give us money when we have thrown all our money at Primark and New Look as soon as the loans came in.
The result of the government’s ‘means-testing’ leaves a majority of students underfunded, having to work and juggle university study and feeling inferior or worse off compared to those on a higher loan income. How do we combat this unfairness? Give everyone a flat a rate of student loan. If we all had £5,500 a year, the system would be a lot fairer and it would be to parents’ discretion whether they fund our extracurricular activities and delights.
To put it simply, the government’s expectations are far too high. They expect parents to fund us, they expect us to graduate and get a good job and expect us to pay our student loans back within 30 years. All I expect is the government to take a fairer approach to student finance and means testings. Is that really too much to ask?
*Save the Student article here: