About Me

Gemma Benefer. Radio Enthusiast. Feminist. Hard-worker and Perfectionist. Lover of Music, Camping, Musical Theatre and Films. Bookworm.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Student Loans and Counting the Pennies

For every student, Student Loans are heavily relied upon to get us through those 9 or so months where we actually have to live by ourselves. We need to feed ourselves - a bigger expense than what we'd originally thought! We need to cover transport - if we have a car, use a train or need those taxi's to get us from A to B! We need to cover those extra expenses for our course. But above all, regardless of how much student loans permit you to loan, it comes down to budgeting and making it last. And some of us are finding it really difficult. 

I've spoken to so many people who all have the the same issue with the loans - there just isn't enough! After your rent, which in some cases can be up to £2000 for a term (about £120 a week) there's barely enough to feed yourself with, let alone afford to "go out out". So why are we having to struggle through on surviving off £20 a week for all those other expenses asides from rent? 

Personally, I'm about £100 off the full access to the loan. Now, I wouldn't normally complain except that it seems that that £100 is actually costing me considerably more. A bursary of £500 is granted to those who get the full amount... I'm not saying they don't need it, but what about those who aren't entitled to the full amount? What do we get? Nothing. It feels like we have to struggle even more so. And if feels like that we are assumed to be coping well because we aren't entitled to the full lot. Well that extra £500 could do so so much but we aren't allowed it. And I just don't get why. I wouldn't mind if the majority of those students getting it worked as hard as others I see or they spent it on things other than booze, but they seem to waste away money which I, and many others, would be grateful for! Let's face it, well all work hard and surely should be entitled to a little help if needed. I know of someone who knows someone who bought a brand new ipad with their bursary. I could do with buying software to help me on my course but can't afford it, however the bursary, which I'm not entitled to, would cover it (damn that £100 over!). Now I know this isn't applicable to every student, it's just my own personal observations and opinions but it just seems a little bit unfair. As I'm reading it, those who get the full amount are entitled to even more but anyone who doesn't get it, literally doesn't get anything else. Is it just me that's confused by the logic?

As I've said before, I'm a bit of a boring student. I don't go out nearly as much as I'd like, and it sometimes gets me down seeing groups of students having a great time at the clubs and stuff. But I genuinely can't afford to go out. I can't even afford a takeaway. Some would say get a part-time job, but fitting it around my voluntary work experience (for hopeful future employment) and my course is just not possible. It sucks being poor and I do my best to budget and find the right bargains but ultimately I'll end up in that over draft again - like so many others. It's only been in my final year that I've really had to watch the pennies, and when I spoke to a bank adviser they actually encouraged me to use my overdraft saying "that's what it's there for" but surely that is what the student loan is meant to be for, to help us to live? We shouldn't need to be relying on overdrafts, some people aren't even entitled to them! I don't know how they manage!

I think that, seen as it's our loan, we should be able to select how much loan we want to take out. Afterall, we pay it all back right? Basing it on family household incomes is ridiculous, especially for those living away from home. My family can't afford to run their home as well as sub me in my student house. It's just not possible. And I know it's the same for many other students out there. If we could have the option to opt for more of a loan then I think it would solve a whole lot of problems. 

**Just a little note, if I have offended anyone, I apologise. As stated above, this is just my personal observations and opinions of which I've discussed with many other students. It is a general statement and not aimed / talking about anyone in particular. **

1 comment:

  1. Even though I get the £500 I completely agree with what you have said (as we discussed earlier) and the fact I have had to take a part time job in the long run sacrifices by work experience chances! Tbh, if I could have more student loan I don't think my job would be needed and I could actually focus more on getting experience. In the long run it is more to pay back but pretty much living on £20 a week (not even that when I have to give money to my group for set and props) it's just hard. Let's just hope all the stress of money problems will be worth it in the long run!