Ministers criticised over student finance ‘inaction’

Postgraduates face credit crisis
In the report the panel said that the ‘financial burden’ of university was ‘causing serious relationship problems within families’ and ‘many of Jersey’s young people are unable to fulfil their potential because of the financial restrictions’.

HIGHER education is underfunded in Jersey, and crippling university costs are putting strains on family relationships and leaving some young Islanders unable to study at all, according to a damning Scrutiny report.

Ministers have also been accused of ‘political inactivity’ and placing the problem of student financing ‘at each other’s doors’, while the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel, which compiled the report, have recommended overhauling a university tax allowance to benefit low-income families.

For years parents, students and politicians have called for Jersey to introduce a UK-style student loans system to help pay for ever-increasing university fees, which now stand at between £40,000 and £60,000 for a three-year course.

The Scrutiny Panel’s Tertiary Education: Student Finance report said that ‘many parents and students’ wanted some form of loan scheme, and the panel said that a Council of Ministers sub-committee, set up to solve the student financing conundrum, had to consider ‘some form of student loan system’.

 

 

 

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Comments for: "Ministers criticised over student finance ‘inaction’"

Overpopulated

So we must pay more tax to fund other people's children?

ConfusedDotCom

That's like saying "So we must pay more tax to cure other people's sick relatives when a new hospital is built".

We pay taxes to support people in our community, don't we?

The graduates who return from university ("other people's children") will be teaching your children; they'll be nursing your parents and operating on your family members. Or would you rather have the unskilled, untrained have a go? No, thought not.

happyhelly

Well said ConfusedDotCom. Its people like Overpopulated who obviously have no family or ever have had. You are correct and my daughter will be someone who will be teaching Mr/Mrs Overpopulated's family in school. The fact that they have this particular username makes me think that that is exactly what they think should happen to the Island by bringing teachers here. My daughter wants to work here. Help is always needed and rewarded.

Overpopulated

In the UK many of the loans are never repaid, the people who get them either don't earn enough to repay them or leave the UK and the debt is never collected.

The question is still - are YOU prepared to pay more tax to fund this ?? On top of the forthcoming increase in tax to pay for the out of control State borrowing?

ConfusedDotCom

Well done to the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel for making public what the public know already. Tertiary education in Jersey in grossly underfunded- the pauper of developed Europe, in fact. Jersey spends only 0.27% of GDP on tertiary education, less than any of the other countries listed in the OECD ratings and less than half of the lowest spending nation, which is South Africa at 0.6%.

As an absolute minimum there should be loans available for young people to access degree courses. Better still- offer reasonable grants so young people don't start work with crushing debts. There needs to be action- now- to mitigate against a growing skills hole in Jersey's professional future workforce.

MOGIT

Your kids - you pay - Nuff said !!!

ConfusedDotCom

...and when the parents can't pay you won't have the future teacher, the doctor, the midwife.

Import them then!

Hmmm.

That makes good sense! Let's boost population to 120K. Let's have more development, more congestion, more schools, bigger hospital, higher taxes.

Hang on a minute?

Nuff said.

Island Strife

Inept politicians and government mismanagement actively pursuing policies such as unchecked population growth against public wishes.

History shows us that governments of similar ilks have been overthrown in the past.

What a shame that can't happen here.

It would only take a few thousand people too . . .

AJ

Been said before ...parents need to cut back on luxuries i.e. holidays,newest cars out,gadgets etc.

we put ours through private education,giving up loads for our kids,after they went to uni,the grant system in place helped ,the rest made up by us.

I wonder if some of this is due to parents being complacent where maybe their kids went through states schools,therefore no fees to pay,then yes it's quite a shock to suddenly being faced with fees for uni .

We did it,school fees plus uni end up not far off 100,000...only now we are getting our lives back but in the knowledge that our kids are happy and settled....best money ever spent!

Mickey Mouth

Yes you have 'said it' many times before doesn't make what you are saying any more relevant or worth saying, because you constantly make the same ludicrous point that most people are choosing between putting their kids through university or a life of luxury. Utter nonsense when you first said it and utter nonsense every time you repeat it.

JsySLSgroup

We welcome this report which acknowledges the need to establish a loan system to ensure all Jersey students have access to higher education at an institution of their choice.

We are grateful to the scrutiny panel for hearing our concerns and taking action to address them.

As a summary of what we have found:

There are many varied reasons why funding for parents is difficult, financial situations can and do change, as do aspirations of students. What we do know is that the funding for a higher education has not been keeping up with the cost and since 2012 the situation became much worse.

The cost for families to finance is high, at around £60,000 for an avg 3 year degree. Any course over that length add an additional £20,000 a year.

So if a family has two children they are looking at £120,000 cost.

With only 12 bursaries available for anyone who wants to, or it's needed to do a particular career to study at Masters or PhD level that means parents and only those that can afford it, are able to fund this higher level.

In contrast with England who now offer funding options for these higher level qualifications, Jersey is becoming even further behind.

It is not the fault of the student if their parents are unable to pay for a degree for whatever reason that maybe.

But it is a fault of our system that there is not a way for them to access a higher level of education after A levels or equivalent.

To be clear, no one asked to be given money, people were happy to have a loan, act as guarantors, or pay for insurance to cover any default issues, they wanted varying amounts and repayable over various lengths, these results were in the survey we had last year, and at least with a loan option the money would be available to be used again.

We would like any new system to be available as soon as possible so that as many students of whatever age that maybe, are able to pursue a course of higher education, doing a course in a place that is the most suitable for them.

Further delay will cause more distress to parents and students. With parents taking action now to sell homes and downsize if they have that option at all, or use pensions, it will mean in later life that they will be more likely to use and need taxpayer funded help, in areas like long term care and income support.

There have been a few changes to the funding regulations for this year, whilst there may have been an increase of 2m what is not mentioned by COM is the cut of 0.5m this effects on island students.

So a total of 1.5 m until the end of this MTFP so that covers three years.

Last year Education returned just under that amount of underspend for just one year, and 2m the previous year and similar in previous years. The money has been unspent because the system had not been keeping pace with inflation, so each year more students fell into the bracket of receiving less or no grant at all. This is the first year since 2001 that the threshold has increased at all, and despite the States agreeing years ago that the maintenance grant should be RPI protected, that has not happened either. There had been the odd £100 increase occasionally.

Now, all new students are responsible for repayment of all of the grant or allowance should they fail or withdraw. It had been a term only. If their parents submit an inaccurate income statement, it is the student who will be liable for paying it back.

If you look at the regulations any parent who becomes a pensioner whilst still funding a student will have their parental contribution based on what their gross income used to be, as retirement is not an exception under our grant system.

The information and level of information that students and parents get and when they get it, about our current system needs improvement.

This was also an area the scrutiny report highlighted, that should be done easily and with minimal cost, but will allow better advanced planning for parents, and students and help avoid the shocks that the current system can produce.

As ItIs

But can the Island afford it? I don't know how many students go to uni each year but let's base it on a hypothetical number of 100 - I'm willing to bet that it's more so just keep multiplying. 100 students @ circa £20k per annum = £2 million per annum. £6 million of funding before the first students are in any position to start, if they can, repaying. Hypothetically and rather generously let' say that 50% can start to repay at say £5k per annum, in year 4 the funding has now reached £7.75 million, year 2 £9.25 million, you get the picture I hope!

So, we all want the best for our kids, agreed, and we want to provide for future generations, agreed, so how about the States introducing a child tax at birth that will cover the eventual cost - just provoking thought you understand!

I would also like to know, if the States do introduce such a scheme, how do I qualify to get my £100k investment transferred, after all I made all the sacrifices to ensure uni ed for my child so why should it be that only those who do not wish to do so should benefit?

Of course, the other way of looking at it is, why return to the Island saddled with £60 - 100k debt with even less chance of getting on the property ladder, when that uni degree will allow you to travel and live anywhere that you chose, without having to pay back a farthing!

Mickey Mouth

The 'I managed to do it so should everyone else' opinion gets us no where. The same people are constantly complaining about people coming to the island and taking highly paid jobs from locals. One of the reasons this happens is because these people have the right skills and education. This is about investing in all our futures.

Busdriver,St.mary

Please can we have costings from the States. The sad fact is that the Island may not be able to afford a loans scheme. Those that can afford to send their children to UNI, will still continue to do so and these will fill the local jobs requiring said qualifications, so that really isn't an issue as raised by JSYSLSgroup. Not really sure about parents being a burden, get your child to pay you back as if they were paying back "the loan"which they would have to do to the States! If they fail to pay the loan back with their so called high earning job, then they fail you, their parents and you get to live a less well off retirement. What about staying on Island and studying ,with the States gearing local courses to fill potential future requirements . What are the statistics of uni courses being studied that result in local jobs being filled as a direct result of an appropriate degree course. My guess is there will be lots of inappropriate courses being studied that will not benefit us one bit and some students will stay off Island and work in another country and never pay tax here. What happens when the loan cannot be paid. Is there a way to reduce the child tax relief and divert this money to the loans fund, that way potential users pay. Lots of food for thought. What about those less academic students who won't be going to UNI, wow, i feel sorry for them, as they have no chance ! There may be a time when our youngsters may have to work off Island as there will be no jobs here. I absolutely applaud those that have gone without for the benefit of their childrens education.

JsySLSgroup

Reading the scrutiny report answers the questions raised, gives costing and numbers. As mentioned with a loan scheme funds are paid back. Use of the child tax relief is one of the suggestions.

If parents guarantee or an insurance is in place to cover non payment then that aspect of non repayment is covered.

Not all parents are well enough off to be able to loan their children money, or have assets that they can sell.

Whilst there are on island courses that provide graduates for local industries such as finance. It is worth reading the report to see why it isn't feasible to expect local provision to cover all of the skills that this island needs to run, and the services that are needed by the population.

Medical degrees in all sectors, teachers in specialist subjects such as the sciences, maths etc. Just as an example.

There are many in our group who have made lots of sacrifices to pay and who will not benefit and may have additional costs from any new scheme, but none the less support a better system than we currently have.

Recent, past students and current students will at some point most likely be parents themselves. It would be better if their children had a system in place that offers opportunity and access to higher education than our current one does.

Education is a benefit to society as a whole not just the individual.

In 2006 there were 88 doing teaching degrees by 2015 that had fallen to 55.

Read the report and the panels independent specialist advisor.

As ItIs

Education is a benefit to society as a whole.........

Very debatable. At what point does it become beneficial to our society as apposed to the individual, what are those benefits, what happens when: the result does not meet the required standard, the individual fails/ change plans, moves to another country etc etc

ConfusedDotCom

It's not debatable at all As ItIs. An educated population benefits society. Think about this for a moment. History is littered with disastrous examples of what happens when an ignorant population get to make decisions.

As ItIs

That is not an answer, merely a personally held belief which is very debatable. Give us some facts upon which you base your side of the argument.

Mickey Mouth

As Itis - you really need someone to explain to you why education benefits society? You could be the 'poster boy' for a campaign to explain the disadvantages of a poor education.

AJ

There will be some parents who can't act as guarantor simply because they have no assets....an insurance I suspect premiums will be sky high.

It is well known many in the U.K. fail to repay their loans,so written off.

They should present figures of all the courses attended at uni,if the student returns to the island to work therefore contributing via tax,lets see the worthwhile degrees taken.

Mickey Mouth

Ironically you need to educate yourself on how these schemes work before just spouting your ill educated point of view.

jersey taxpayer

Why should the States subsidize the higher education of Jersey's youngsters when there is plenty of (non-tax paying) cheap labour being imported to do all the work they would do anyway! In fact why are we bothering to educate our youngsters at all - it is quite obvious they are not needed in the workforce!!!!!!!!!

Rodney

I am inclined to agree - The real high fliers who go off to further education do not generally return to the island because there are limited opportunities to develop their carreer in their chosen field. Then we have the next level down, who go off to "Uni" because they have no idea as to what they want to do. They study a subject and then return to the island and join finance firms where they then have to study ICSA / ACIB / STEP etc - These students could easily start at 18/19 and be professionally qualified by 24 and have 5 years salary under their belt. So why should I as a taxpayer have to underwrite their 3 years of study / partying / etc ????? As a society, we have generally moved away from on the job training, making education more expensive for the majority, who feel that they have to pay out for course fees and accommodation Jersey has been an exporter of brains of many years and has received very little net return, if anything at all on its investment.

Anthony

A whole generation of Jersey students are having their life chances diminished by the bumbling, ineptitude and inability to make it happen by the Minister for Education, Deputy Rod Bryans. Come on Rod - sort it out! - get a student loan system off the ground! - it really is not that difficult. Clearly Deputy Bryans wants university education for a wealthy elite only. The Island per head productivity has been falling since 2008. The tax take is falling as most new jobs are in low value industries such as hospitality, agriculture and retail. If the standard of living in Jersey is to rise we need a well educated workforce - Different from trained workforce - You can get training to fulfill tasks and process !