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Does University = bad debt?

In September thousands of students will be heading to their new institutions, a new area and some of the best times of their lives. But with the increase of course fees comes in the increase in student loans.

I started university in 1999, and literally just missed out on the grant system. My year was the first to have to apply for student loans to be able to study at university. 12 years down the line I am still paying the student loan off. Why? Because during those years  I have not been in jobs which pay a salary which enables the Student Loans Company to take money from me. It is an incredibly low interest loan, but the years that have not seen any payments, when the interests is added the loan goes up. I was probably a little unruly at university and although I worked all the way through, I applied for extra money. I was incredibly bad with finances at that time and learnt the hard way.

So now I’m stuck with a loan, which will be paid eventually, its a bit of a ball and chain around my neck, because in a perfect world I would be debt free.

The class of 2011 will have an even bigger ball and chain. Course fees have rocketed up to around £1000 a term, nearly £3000 a year. Which poses the question, is it worth going to university at all these days?

The majority would vote yes, not only to study and attain a qualification but the student lifestyle is something most people should experience. For most it is the first time they have lived away at home, and the years at university can really build a persons strength, confidence and character.

My advice to parents, and most would do this anyway, is to start saving as soon as you have a child, at the age of 18 they may want to go away to university, they may not, but at least you have the peace of mind that the money is saved and you won’t have thousands of pounds of debt hanging over you and them for years to come.

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