Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis, explains part-time student finances
On Wednesday 7 September, Martin Lewis of MoneySavingExpert.com visited Birkbeck to give a talk on the new undergraduate fees regime for part-time students.
Martin is leading an independent taskforce which has been set up to make sure that anyone thinking about starting university from autumn 2012, when the new fees will be introduced, has a clear understanding of how the new system of loans and repayments will work. 2012 will be the first time that students starting a part-time course are able to apply for a government loan to cover the cost of their fees.
Martin said: "There are a lot of myths and misunderstandings about the new fees regime. I am not in favour of the increases in tuition fees, but I do want to make sure that people understand the realities of the new system. This is a revolutionary change; for the first time part-time students will be able to access a loan. They will no longer have to find the money to pay the tuition fees before they study, and will be able to repay the loan later, according to how much they are earning".
Tricia King, Pro Vice Master at Birkbeck, and a member of the independent taskforce on student finance said: "As an institution specialising in part-time higher education, we know it is vital that people understand the new loans system for part-time students. Although it may be daunting to take on a loan, the repayments system means that you will only ever pay back what you can afford, calculated on your salary. In reality, having loans available for part-time students will make our courses accessible and affordable for anyone studying at university for the first time."
40% of undergraduate students in the UK currently study part-time. Currently they are required to pay for their courses upfront. From 2012 the Government plans to introduce fee loans to cover the cost of tuition fees for part-time students.