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Thursday, 6 July 2017

I Don't Care About Student Debt!

It's just been announced that “three-quarters of graduates will never pay off their student loans while most will still be paying theirs into their 50s”, according to a study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

Yes, that's right! Three-quarters of students will probably not pay off their tuition fees. Should we feel sorry for the students who probably won't pay off their debts? If they were being forced to pay back their fees no matter what, then things would be very different. But they're not!

Indeed Chris Belfield - who worked on the report by the IFS - more or less admitted that there's too much of a big deal being made about student loans and their payment. He first tells us that “the average debt on graduation by £5,800”. He then admits that “[t]here is no impact on the repayments of the lowest earners”.

(Incidentally, the IFS's main focus of research is education and it is itself funded by the state/tax-payers.)

It's also the case that “university funding has increased by about 25% per student since 2011”. But that won't be enough for both the middle-class Left and for middle-class students. Nothing is ever enough. As the student Left itself put it during the 1968 student demonstrations in Paris: “Be realistic, demand the impossible!” (Soyez réalistes, demandez l’impossible.) 

It's students who choose to enter further education. And even if some students are paying off loans into their fifties, the amount they pay will be dependent on what they earn. If they are binmen at the age of fifty, then they'll pay off... nothing. Zero. If they're earning the average wage or even slightly above that, then they'll still be paying next-to-nothing. Though if they're earning a lot, then they should be paying back a lot.

So, again, why should we feel sorry for students and their rhetorical “debt crisis”? They chose to study. And most – not all - students chose to study in order to find a job which will pay them more than than those jobs open to people who haven't been to university.

This is the case even with poorer students. Presumably, they don't enter further education in order to remain poor. And when they catch themselves good jobs, then they'll need to pay back their loans. Simple as that.

The situation is different for those poorer kids who want to enter further education in the first place. And it's best if all people get the chance to further their education.

However, what we mainly have here isn't the problem of poorer kids entering further education. What we have is a bunch of middle-class kids crying about the fact that they'll have some of their dosh taken away from them (as fee repayments) after they graduate. And since they can conveniently rationalise their greed with Leftist politics, we have a fatal cocktail. Thus it's mainly about middle-class kids crying about not earning as much money as they'd like to earn. Though of course they dress up their greed with the politics of Tory evil towards students and education generally.

The class nature of the middle-class Left's crocodile tears about student greed is shown in this quote from the IFS study:

There is a risk that better-off parents will pay fees up front, especially if they think their offspring will be high earners. This would increase the cost to government in the long run.”

So “better-off parents” may pay fees up front. What's wrong with that? What's wrong with that (it seems) is that better-off students want to be better-off both as students and as professionals. What's wrong with that is that the better-off parents want to remain better-off and not pay any fees for their kids.

It's of course the case that the middle-class socialist Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to scrap tuition fees. Then again, Corbyn has promised jam sandwiches for all tomorrow; as well as an infinitely-funded National Health Service. In addition, middle-class students (who want to earn as much as possible when they graduate) are a very important part - both in terms of votes and activism - of today's Labour Party machine now that it's led by a “rad socialist” - i.e., Jeremy Bernard Corbyn.


Sure, there may well be an idealised position on education in which money shouldn't really matter. However, most students don't fulfill that ideal or go to university because of it. Most students, again, go to university to gain the qualifications required to the get jobs which will earn them considerably more money than they'd otherwise earn.

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