27 November 2013

Student Loans Sold, Unis favour the posh, Planned £350m cut to grants, OCD on TV…

Student Loans sold off to Private Debt Firms

Student_loans_company_papersAs reported last week, student debts from 1990-1998 have been sold off by the Government to private Debt Collection agency Erudio Student Loans.

While ministers have claimed that £160m is a fair price for the loans, others have spoken out against a private company making money off public debt.

Our take: This was all rushed through rather quickly wasn’t it? Probably hoping that we didn’t notice. Unfortunately we did. The worst thing about this sale is the precedence it sets. If this move proves profitable for the private companies, what’s to stop them coming back again in a few months/years and sniffing around some lovely £9k a year loans?

£350m Cuts for Poorest Students

Poor StudentDocuments from the Department for Business have revealed plans to cut up to £350m in grants to students in an attempt to balance the nation’s finances.

The cuts would affect to 500,000 students from lower income backgrounds.

Our take: Wow, the various Government departments are really doing us this week. It’s a vicious cycle… without the grants, student loans will inevitably be higher, meaning it will take longer to pay them off, by which point, they’ll probably be sold off to a high interest rate private firm.

Chinese students without ‘Correct’ politcal views stopped from graduating

chinese studentsAn official at Xinjiang University has said that students must have their political beliefs approved before they can graduate, to stop the growing separatist movement.

According to Xu Yuanzhi, the party secretary at a teacher’s college, “Students whose political qualifications are not up to par must absolutely not graduate, even if their professional course work is excellent.”

Our take: How charming! Our government may be hell bent on selling all our public assets and stopping the poor from accessing Higher Education, but at least we’re allowed to speak out against it.

Top Unis must ‘Stop favouring the Posh’

posh studentAn expert in Higher Education has warned that the top British Universities must stop favouring the posh and privately educated, and aim for a more socially balanced array of undergraduates.

According to Bahram Bekhradnia, director of  the Higher Education Policy Institute, our higher education system is more ‘Socially Exclusive’ than most other developed nations.

Our take: Finally, something we can agree with! Being inclusive, having balance, judging on merit and not how much money there is in your bank account. Will it happen? We doubt it, but it’s good that someone (other than us) is banging this drum.

Oxford Uni elects ‘joke’ candidate as Union Pres

oxford candidateThe Oxford University Student Union presidential elections ended with a shock, landslide victory for a ‘joke’ candidate.

Louis Trup won by over 700 votes, despite listing ‘often wears Flip Flops’ on his campaigns Personifesto.

Our take: Democracy works! Regular readers may recall Save the Student bowing down before the Great Carbon Rod in NUS elections earlier in the year, and while it’s not exactly an inanimate object that’s won, anyone who writes their proposals in crayon and quotes Gandalf on the poster (and not even one of his rousing, calls to action) is good by us.

State of the Machin: On TV’s OCD about OCD

OCD on TVThere’s been a fair few major mental health news stories floating about in the media this week. So I thought I’d write about something that has been niggling at me for awhile.

Why is television (and Channel 4 in particular?) so obsessed with OCD?

As someone who watches a lot of television, barely a week seems to go by without some form of documentary about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. We’ve seen people obsessed with cleaning be paired with those who live in absolute filth, radical new treatments for extreme cases and a host of other tried and tested TV formats played out with a mental health twist.

I should note that while none of these programs were particularly exploitative of their subjects nor do I want to speak on behalf of sufferers of OCD. But why is it always Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? Does OCD lend itself particularly well to television? Or are we, as an audience, more willing to watch people with it, rather than say depression, anxiety or anorexia?

It would almost definitely be in poor taste to make ‘Super Sad versus Super Happy’ (although you can bet it’s been pitched more than once over the years), why are we (or is just me) fascinated by how Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners pans out, even though it’s the same EVERY SINGLE WEEK.

And that’s the State of the Machin.

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