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Question time...

Very quick one, but wanted to share with you the next development in my rage against the machine. The Student Loans Company has backed down to only reclaiming part of my grant from last year. Its not ideal, as its unfair that they are recovering any of it...but it still feels like a victory, a victory that i thank my wonderful readers who have supported me throughout this, and Jon Ashworth who has written to them on my behalf.

There is a wider issue, and we aren't finished with that yet. Students are being let down when unable to study due to illness, a time when they need more support than ever. They are in need of the exact same financial support, if not more, than other students. This would be easily solved if students were able to claim benefits, but they cannot. There is absolutely no support for a student that is unable to study due to sickness, and this is an outrageous oversight.

If you have been following my financial situation you will know that i have been unable to study and work due to illness. I was told that i cannot claim benefits, and found that my student funding is being reduced. With no other options available i was within a week of having to drop university so that i can go on benefits in order to continue to eat and pay bills. Luckily, and with no credit given to our welfare state, i managed to make my last £250 last 2 months.

Something needs to change here, especially if our government is to put its money where its mouth is in terms of social mobility. I think its important to offer as much support to those who want to further their education, and where policy is forcing them out of education something MUST change, immediatly.

Having not had a satasfactory answer from the DWP or Student Loans Company it is time to start addressing the Ministers responsible; Dr Vince Cable. Actually, i have a lot of faith in him so i am confident that we will make some progress.

Jon has submitted written questions to Dr Cable today, and we hope to get an answer in Hansard in the next couple of weeks. So here are the questions that Jon has proposed. We are both in the process of thinking of more questions, and if you guys can think of any appropriate questions i will certainly share them with Jon.

Here are the questions submitted today;
  • To ask the Secretary of State for BIS, how many complaints have been made in each of the last 5 years regarding the Student Loan Company?
  • To ask the Secretary of State for BIS, on how many occasions in the last academic year have the Student Loan Company reassessed a student loan following representations from a University?
  • To ask the Secretary of State for BIS, how many students in each of the last 5 years have been forced to interrupt their studies due to illness but return to study in the following academic year?
  • To ask the Secretary of State for BIS what guidance does the department issue to the Student Loan Company when deciding loan and grant settlements for students who have been forced to interrupt studies due to illness?
  • To ask the Secretary of State for BIS what financial support is available to students who have been forced to interrupt their studies due to illness?
As a slightly side issue, i have proposed that we also address the collateral issue of the clarity and quantity of paperwork. I will let you know if we follow up on that.

Look forward to hearing you question suggestions and views,

Have you had a bad experience with the student loans company? I'm taking a portfolio of individual experiences to the Minister; email me the details, and find out more about the campaign here