Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Who'd be a nurse?

My good friend @drleehw pointed me in the direction of this Student Fee Repayment calculator. It's as horrific as it sounds: even given a fair economic wind - which we currently don't have - you'll only every pay back your debt if you start on a massive salary and get huge pay rises all the way through.

And that's not all: the better paid you are, the less you'll have to pay back. So all those low-paying jobs which require degrees (primary teacher, nurse, social worker) or which require further years of qualifications (librarian, researcher etc.) will now be totally unthinkable. Why would anyone not qualified for sainthood deliberately take a fulfilling but frugal post if it means handing more money to the government than a lawyer or hedge fund trader, and without the prospect of ever paying it all back?

1 comment:

matt said...

Not wishing to sound like I support the idea of funding higher education by loans, I don't, but that calculator clearly shows what Martin Lewis has been banging on about ever since the LibDems failed miserably to get across any kind of message about the implications of the changes other than the headline fees. After 30 years the debt is wiped, so the less you earn, the less you pay back, since most will not repay the whole debt within that time. Unless your salary is pretty high, it makes no difference how much you have to borrow because of this. The repayments also depend only on your salary and not on your debt. In effect you get taxed extra for 30 years regardless of the cost of your course(s). Nurses get taxed less than lawyers in the normal course of things, and the same will be true of their loan repayments. It's really, really important that this message gets out because my 6th Form students are making bad decisions based on the mistaken belief that there is a big difference between £9000 and £7000 fees (actually irrelevant to most) and even have an unarticulated anxiety that they, or their parents, will be reaching into their pockets to pay fees, as they first step through the door of academia, even though they kind of know that this isn't actually the case. Crap though fees/loans are, the changes did actually offer a potentially better deal to exactly the sort of students who are likely to be put off by the notion of paying £9000/year, and for the students that go on to be nurses and teachers. By the way, national average salary £24000, my teaching salary (middle management) £40000 after about eight years of teaching. I seem to be doing alright out of my four years at uni! Also, nurses don't pay any tuition fees, although primary teachers and social workers do.