Money, money, money. It is bound to come up in conversation at some point during the week. Whether we are trying to live off the student loan and overdraft combination, working to subsidise the loan without taking on ever more debt, or lucky enough to have vast parent funding behind us, it is something that is always on our mind.
For the most part, we all have a student loan, and once our pricey accommodation fees are deducted there is very little left over. I have yet to find a person living solely on a basic student loan in any meaningfully comfortable way, and I am convinced that no such person exists.
Imagine then what it must be like for part-time students who are denied access to any sort of student loan and have to pay all fees upfront. As we all know, a university education is not cheap, and bearing the current economic situation and recent in mind, it will only continue to soar.
Part-time students are taking their course part-time for a reason. They may have a family they need to support taking time away from studies, or they have other responsibilities that requires work during the time that would otherwise obstruct their attempts at studying for a rather expensive degree.
Surely these people have a valid enough reason to have access to the same kind of funding that full-time students do?
The primary reasons for people to enter part-time education as opposed to full-time education are grounded in money, consequently it is pretty audacious for them to be receiving no funding at all. They have as much need, if not in some cases more, for funding as full-time students. It seems highly hypocritical of the government to be advertising higher education as accessible to all, at the same time as unfairly denying a significant proportion of students access to proper financial aid.
The NUS has finally caught on to the injustice present in the issue and have just started a campaign for a new funding system which incorporates a fairer deal for part-time students. Even then, it is only because there have been so many complaints from the whole student population about the current system that the NUS has launched a campaign for a whole new student funding system. So even though the NUS are doing something, part-time students are still not much more than an afterthought.
This issue has not just appeared overnight and the longer it takes for the problem to be solved, the longer people have to suffer. The government needs to wake up, get a clue, and realise that part-time students are not merely an afterthought.