• oldguy posted an update 4 months, 3 weeks ago

    • It’s flawed maths. It’s as if the university is open 120 days a week… I have left the lab latest at 5AM and came in earliest at 7AM. Never mind weekends.

      It’s just as ridiculous as the petition asking for HMRC to refund all the tax paid due to Brexit*! I get that the strike is disruptive and attention-seeking, but it’s the point of the strike, isn’t it?

      * – I am EU citizen and anti-leave, but I still find that petition weird.

    • This might seem like pedantic hair splitting, and I am not intending to comment on the (un)suitability of student loans, but…

      Students demanding “their money back” show a typically poor understanding of the fees/loan system. They’ve not spent a penny – and some will never repay a penny of their “loan”. So no, they can’t get money “back” as at the undergraduate stage they’ve not given it away.

      If they were asking for money to be returned from the universities to the student loans company, and to have that money deducted from their students loans, then that would seem logical and sound.

      • The UCU has encouraged students to request a proportion of their fees to be returned.

        • Yes but they come from – and should be returned to – the student loans company. This is different to student led calls for “compensation”.

      • I’ll admit I didn’t fully read the article, I took it as wanting a reduction of their fees, not cash in pocket.
        I’d be wanting it, as a skint teenager, having to pay £9250 pa, when academics, with their cushy little jobs striking because their enormous pensions are under threat.

        • But they’re not paying. They’re building up a debt they may or may not have to repay. Some of the petitions show no understanding of this what so ever – eg https://www.change.org/p/the-university-of-york-compensate-students-for-strike-action

          It’s not difficult. I would expect anyone at university to be able to understand it and to structure their petitions accordingly.

          Mind you international (non-EU) students pay real cash up front, and pay a lot more then £9k. They have a more direct case.

        • I hope you’re joking. Even if academics had “enormous pensions”, if you had agreed to do a job and were told that you would be getting a certain pension scheme, then your employer turned around 6 months or twenty years down the line and told you you would get 10 grand less, in your old age than was agreed, you’d be pissed.

          Yes, it sucks for students. That doesn’t mean academic staff have it in for students, in fact several colleagues have been deliberating over whether to strike, precisely because it will hurt students who have no influence over the pension scheme whatsoever.

          I hate to break it to you, academia is not a “cushy little job” either.

          • I know, having to lecture and give tutorials with those pesky undergraduates, nightmare. Why have a career in academia when you could earn many more times salary in industry?

            • You’ve described a third of the job. Admin (ever increasing) and research also exist too. Long hours are common, and at the bottom end of the career ladder job security is non-existent, 9-24 month contracts are the norm. I have no personal experience of industry, so can’t comment – I’m sure others can. People have a career in academia because they want to, and find it fulfilling – that doesn’t mean they should be treated like disposable shit.

              Regardless, you’ve missed the main point. An employer is proposing to reduce the pension pot of its existing employees, including those already well progressed on the scheme. There have been over 6 months of negotiations between the union and umbrella body representing different, but identical employers in the pension scheme. The employers position has not changed. Why should the employees not strike? Because they have a bit more money than you? If a strike has no impact then there is no point in having a strike. It’s a shame that the students are collateral in all of this.

              I should add in at this point that as I’m on a 0.4FTE, temporary contract I opted out of the pension scheme so I am not directly influenced – but many of my colleagues are.

      • I paid for my annual southern rail season ticket with a credit card.

        When they were on strike I got a refund.

        I got the money, not my credit card company.

        • Jolly good. As you paid for it, that’s only fair.

          “I got the money, not my credit card company.”

          Yes, but you owed the money to your credit card and short of bankruptcy you will have to repay it generally within months. Not so for student loans – many students will never repay a single penny of their loans as they will go on to earn below the repayment threshold, so how is it fair or right for them to get the cash when they won’t repay the loan and therefore won’t ever spend a penny on their fees, unlike your rail ticket? Obviously we can’t predict with certainty at the undergraduate stage who will go on to repay and can therefore fairly be given cash, and who won’t.

          Now, I know that from past debates you do understand how and why a student loan is almost entirely different to a credit card, so I am at a loss as to why you try and draw an analogy here.

          A further thought – given that student loan interest is accrued during studies and that it’s at a much higher rate than any FSCS protected savings account, a £1000 refund to the SLC means £1000 less debt accrues interest over the reduced life of the loan. Say that grand would be subject to a decade of interest at 6% and cash in hand invested FSCS protected would return 2% – that’s a difference of 4%. £1000 x (1.04^10 – 1) = £480 lost. Congratulations anyone demanding cash – you’ve effectively set fire to half of it.

          So not only is it ignorant of how fees and student loans work to ask for a personal “refund”, it’s financially silly as well.

          • A student has paid for their course in the same way as anyone else who’s taken a loan to pay for something.

            The terms of that loan might be ridiculous, or counter intuitive or frankly nonsensical, but it’s debt.

            I was merely pointing out, using the only comparison I could think of, how it is entirely possible that students could get that money without giving it to the SLC, who would probably lose it anyway.

            • Why do you persist in ignoring the fact that – unlike any other loan – many students will freely and legally walk away without repaying a single penny of their student loan.

              Consider a student who is never required to repay any of their loan, and then has their loan cancelled with no penalty. Have they paid for their course in the same way I paid for my lunch on my credit card?

              I can’t see any sane argument that they have paid for their degree. None. Feel free to enlighten me.

      • When our kid graduates in a few years time with a £60,000 debt at the age of 22, accruing interest at 6.1%, of course she won’t have to pay it off if she doesn’t earn more than £25,000 pa for the next 30 years.

        Then when she does exceed the limit, that’s money she can’t put into her pension, and she’ll be paying more tax as a higher earner.

        • I’m sorry, but what you’ve written is (a) not clear to me and (b) doesn’t apparently address my point that a student who repays £0.00 before their loan is written off does not pay anything for their degree and therefore isn’t eligible for a “refund”.

          My simple point is that a “refund” to the student is not justifiable as some students will never pay a penny for their degree, and that a reduction in their loan is fair and defensible.