Overseas students may be surprised to learn that their British counterparts will end up with over £23,000 of debt by the time they graduate, according the National Union of Students.
In a report by the Daily Telegraph last week, the students union warned that many teenagers gaining university places could be condemned to a “lifetime of debt”.
With the cost of higher education set to rise by more than 10% in coming years many UK students will be “priced out” of university, making the institutions even more dependent on international students to fill their places.
According to a survey carried out by PUSH, undergraduates currently owe an average of £5,000 for each year of study, but this figure is rising year on year.
Students just coming to the end of their first year of study can expect to owe £21,200 by the time they graduate, it was claimed. Those starting degree courses this autumn should count on owing at least £2,000 more than that, around £23,500 in total, the survey has suggested.
David Lammy, the Higher Education Minister, said:
“This Government is committed to ensuring that finance is not a barrier to people going to university whatever their background which is why we are spending £5billion on student support this year alone.
“There are currently record numbers of students at our universities with applications at an all time high. We want to widen access further, which is why we will continue to offer a generous package of support including bursaries, grants and loans at low interest that do not have to be paid back until graduates are in work and earning over £15,000 a year.
“Getting a degree remains a strong investment for a future career with graduates earning on average considerably more over a lifetime than people without a degree level qualification.”
International students often borrow large sums to gain a British education. In India it is common for students to borrow to cover course fees costing as much as £15,000 for the first year, plus funds for maintenance and living expenses.
But once here the vast majority of foreign students work their way through college by taking part time jobs.
In the Philippines many students are helped by a relative working abroad -one of the millions of ‘OFW’ or Overseas Filipino Workers who contribute over $12 billion to the Philippine economy each year .
Unfortunately, many students also borrow money from ‘loan sharks’ and unauthorised money lenders charging extortionate interest rates ranging from 5% per month to 10% per week. Such lenders should be avoided at all costs.
There are legitimate banks and finance companies specialising in ‘OFW’ and student loans. Companies like AG Finance, one of the leading lenders in this market, offers small loans to cover expenses such as flights and additional winter clothing which the OFW’s or student feels embarrassed to ask their relative to pay.
Whilst it’s best not to borrow at all, the familes of Filipino migrants are often ‘asset rich’, but ‘cash poor’, and need to raise finance to cover the cost of an overseas trip by raising temporary finance.
The advantages of using an authorised bank or finance company is that you are given a written legal agreement, charged market rates and have legal redress should you have cause to complain.
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