Two siblings speak out on how they have a difference of £15,000 in student debt between them, when they’re only three years apart.

Student Debt

Florence and Ben Jones, who is just three years younger than his sister, have a £15,000 difference in student debt.

A recent study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), has shown that the poorest of students end up with at least £57,000 in debt after they graduate. Starting September 2017, interest rates for student loans are going to be at 6.1 percent, and tuition fees will be rising to £9,250 on average. This means that students will be graduating with an average £5,800 in the interest portion of their debt.

Ben and Florence’s Story

Ben Jones, 22, finished his university degree with over £40,000, when his sister, Florence Jones, 25, finished her degree three years earlier with around £15,000 less in debt.  Ben studied TV & radio production in Salford University.

“I’m just annoyed about it,” Ben said. “It’s such a small age difference but it’s such a huge difference in money.”

“She’ll brag about it – I would if I was her too – and I’m just annoyed about it. I work in the charity sector which is lower-paid, so I was lucky to not need to pay back as much.”

Florence said she worries that her brother’s higher debt will end up weighing him down heavily when he graduates.

“I think he’ll be a lot more concerned about [jobs] that are higher paid rather than ones that he might be interested in doing,” she told Newsbeat.

Ben said: “if I was on three times less of a student debt, it would make it a lot easier to start out in life.”

The IFS has pointed out that most students never end up paying their student debts fully.

“It’s just at the back of your mind all the time that you’re going to be slowly paying it off,” Ben said.

“I feel like the government doesn’t really realize how much difference it is. It’s not a small margin – it’s not like they went up by a grand or so – it’s three times the amount. It’s OK for people to pay for university, but it shouldn’t be such a huge cost.”

Florence said: “I didn’t really have the issue of the higher loans, so I could just decide to go to uni whenever I wanted. Whereas with my brother… he debated it a lot more than I did.”

Ben then showed a different attitude, saying: “You go to university to try to increase your chance of getting the job that you want. It felt like an investment – I think that’s how most people see university.”


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