Tuesday, 14 July 2009

What's Your Student Debt Really Worth?

In the last few days, the government has announced plans to waive university fees for students who live at home throughout their years of studying. These students won’t have any financial help in the forms of loans or bursary grants, but they will leave university debt-free, something which is becoming almost impossible these days even for the luckiest of students.

In theory it sounds like a good option to have, but there are some serious issues to consider. In an age when you can do a degree in pretty much any subject (Twitter, anyone?), there is an argument that these degrees just aren’t worth it. I myself did a PR degree. Did it teach me how to do PR? It’s questionable!

However, what it did teach me was independence, confidence and how to boil an egg. With increasing numbers of twenty-somethings living at home because they can’t afford to get on the property ladder, those few years in a grotty shared house can be the only chance for young people to get a taste of freedom. Studying the ‘dynamics of persuasion’ may not have had an obvious effect on my ability to handle my day-to-day job, but living away from home taught me a lot of essential life lessons – who I am, what I want from life, how to survive living with seven other students and never to use Smart Price washing powder. Debt free or not, I just don’t think living at home would have had the same effect.

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