Home to some of the most renowned and revered universities anywhere in the world (with Oxford and Cambridge consistently stated as being global standards bearers for elite education), Britain has long proved to be one of the most enticing destinations for students the world over.
Initially the reserve of only the most intellectually gifted, structural changes to the higher education system in the 1990s made university a more viable option for many – and since then, it the student market has become one of the most profitable in the UK.
Although stereotype dictates that those studying for a degree spend much of their time either inebriated or asleep, the truth is that since university became a more accessible route most of those who decide to carry on in academia are normally driven and desperate to learn – and the provision of student loans has proved to be key to this.
Run by the Student Loans Company, the government subsidised scheme has become one of the most used methods of personal finance in Britain – with an estimated £3 billion in loans currently being dealt with through the system. Critics have argued that the structure of the repayments (which are triggered when graduates reach certain earning thresholds) teamed with high numbers of undergraduates studying subjects that are unlikely to lead to profitably employment mean that much of this debt will never been repaid.