Why everyone deserves the chance to go to university
It’s an often-debated topic: Should everyone be given the right to go to university, or should it be the preserve of the so-called talented elite? We passionately believe it's something everyone should be able to experience. That’s not to say it’s the best option for everyone. It might not be. An apprenticeship could be a better direction. Or a direct move into the job market. We’re not questioning that. We’re saying everyone deserves the opportunity. Let me explain in a bit more detail…
By enabling ‘the opportunity’ that means that things like class, background and money are not boundaries to people going to university. Such things should never stop ambitious people from reaching their true potential and becoming expert in the field they are most passionate about. It’s precisely why Future Finance exists – to help bridge the funding gap that many students face and help people achieve their career goals and life dreams.
Breaking down the barricades
A proposed new education Bill from the government looks set to break new ground for UK universities and open up higher education to millions more people. The measures, if passed, will enable new high-performing and specialist universities to be set up quickly and easily. This will bring greater competition to the marketplace on the supply side, if we were to look at the education system in those terms, thereby giving the consumer – the wannabe student – far more choice and greater opportunity to learn, all at a fair and reasonable cost. Bingo!
The big picture
This is potentially great news for British industry and commerce. If it plays out as intended we will see a dramatic rise in skills in the UK in the long term, boosting our businesses and establishing the country as one of the best in the world for research and innovation, an area the government is now investing £6bn a year in.
It is also projected that between now and 2022, half of all job vacancies are expected to be in the occupations most likely to employ uni graduates. And yet, at the same time, those who do study at uni often find the choice of learning is very limited and not in sync with their ideals. Many graduates end up in non-professional roles and, according to government data, 34% say they’d have made a different decision about their chosen uni course if they knew then what they know now, and 60% saying their uni experience didn’t match up to their expectations. The brave new world could change all that.
Degrees of democratisation
However, it’s not all sweetness and light on the horizon. There are some huge challenges ahead. The government has also given the green light to certain universities to increase their tuition fees, so long as they meet particular standards criteria. This is, sadly, at odds with the whole spirit of making great education open to all. It only serves to widen the funding gap for many students who find that government student loans aren’t enough and who can’t solely rely on wealthy parents to support them. As our own research shows, many students are worrying about money so much that its now affecting their mental health.
The students of tomorrow may need even greater financial support. And we intend to help many of them over the coming years by offering smart, fair and flexible student loans that fit with their lifestyle and the student lifecycle. That means lower, capped repayments while in study, three-month repayment holidays and no early repayment fees.
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