100 signatures reached
To: Amber Rudd MP
STUDENT LOANS SHOULD NOT BE CLASSED AS INCOME
Student loans, have to be paid back with interest, stop taking them into consideration when assessing for Universal Credit.
Why is this important?
University Students are finding themselves in relative poverty and facing evictions as a result of Universal Credit and Housing Benefit assessing Student Loans as income.
University students accrue debts for student loans in order to pay for course tuition fees and maintenance costs. Interest rates, on a sliding scale from 3.1% on a sliding scale up to 6.1% are charged from the day students receive the first loan instalment, although this amount is set by the Government and revised annually.
However, this alone is a Human Rights Violation.
The United Nations committee that oversees the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) has stated: "Higher education shall be made equally accessible to all on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education".
Despite this, students are realising the importance of a Higher Education for themselves and their children, to enable a better standard of living away from the reliance on minimum wage jobs, (often zero hour contracts)which is likely to result in reliance of welfare "top-ups". Yet they are being sanctioned from Universal Credit because of their eligibility of the student loan this results in a loss of housing benefits.
We are now seeing students, many of which are parents of young children, living in poverty with a reliance on foodbanks, facing eviction and suffering mental health issues.
Besides the ICESCR, the UK Human Rights Act 1998 gives effect to European Convention rights. One of those provides that:
"No person shall be denied the right to education." European case law suggests that states are under an obligation to afford an effective right of access to institutions of higher education that exist. Yet we are hearing repeatedly that university students are being advised by governmental departments to give up their studies in order to claim full benefits!
We, therefore, are asking you if you are insistent on expecting students to pay their own fees and maintenance with a repayable loan, then view it as a loan when assessing them!
How it will be delivered
The signatures will be emailed to Amber Rudd MP