Many years ago students used to get a grant from the government to study at university. It was seen as an investment in our future. Grants quickly went by the wayside and were replaced with student loans.
Recently in the news we have seen that the government has sold £890m of student loans to a debt management consortium for £160m.
Some might argue that this was unrecoverable debt and a shrewd move by the government. While others might argue that they have taken away the student grant and simply given it to private enterprise.
This may just be the start of it. According to the Huffington post the government wants to sell off even more of this debt to raise money in the short term.
They are talking about raising 10 Billion. If they are selling at 20% of the total debt, this means that they are handing over 40 Billion of public money into private hands. When I say public money I mean your money that you have to pay back with interest.
But given that we want people to go to university, why shouldn’t we just give them the money? You could argue that they will earn more with higher education than without, but its also true that they will pay more taxes so why pay twice?
So am I arguing for a return of grants? Not really. I would like us to have an unconditional basic income for everyone. If you choose higher education you get your basic income. If you find a better way of getting your training like an apprenticeship or internship, you still get your basic income. If you choose to go to work you still get your basic income and if you are unable to find a job you still get supported.
There is no administrative overhead of supplying grants or chasing repayments because you will simply receive a monthly deposit in your bank account.
Doesn’t it make more sense than having the government give your loans to a debt collector?
Sign the initiative and more importantly tell everyone you know to sign it