Barclays propose postgrad loan
Barclays bank has proposed a scheme to government ministers for a new postgraduate student loan system.
The lack of public funding for post-graduate students has been previously described as a ‘barrier to social mobility’.
The plans proposed by Barclays, aims to tackle the lack of funding in this area.
Many within the sector were appalled that the lack of public funding to both taught and research post-graduate students was not discussed in last year’s higher education paper, the Browne review.
But the students union have raised concerns about the move.
Benjamin Westhead, President of the University of the Arts Students Union said: "Allowing a private lender like Barclays to enter into the HE funding arena is not a positive step, certainly not for students who might want to study their post grad at UAL or in a creative subject.
“Barclays is a business and as they have made clear that they would only be looking to fund those postgraduate degrees that they deem to have a high likelihood of repayment.
“Those wanting to study economics or accounting may find it easy to get a loan where as those studying creative subjects may be looked over - to weight the merit of subject only on its projected income is a regressive step and would be another embarrassing sign that the government fails to see the importance of the creative arts," Westhead added
The scheme does however appear to have limitations, as the lending may depend on the “earnings track record” of graduates.
Chris Hearn, head of education at Barclays Corporate said they were “considering different models” and added: “One of the other alternatives is that instead a bank lends to students on a risk-share with universities.”
“The cost of [loan] facilities reflects the risk. If we've got graduates who don't have an earnings track record, or a strong earnings track record, it is going to be difficult to find the right price to lend into that client group if they go into postgraduate study," Hearn said
Courtney Griffiths, UAL’s elected education officer for next year is currently studying on the Chelsea college of Art and Design MA Curating course.
She said: “I don’t think post graduate students should have to have external loans from banks especially at high interest rates, which they usually are.
“There should be a lot more bursaries and funding for students. If you have to take out a loan it should be from the university. If you are not in the financial position to pay it off straight away that should be dealt with within the university and paid back, when possible, with no interest," she concluded.