How UK Students Can Counter the “Earn or Learn” Budget Strategy

A degree from the UK is certainly a great way to build a promising career and land a lucrative job. However, with rising tuition fees most students are having second thoughts and deciding to forego their academic dreams. The situation is being made worst by further steps taken by UK politician to manage grants and student loans. Let’s take a look….

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The Osborne Budget

George Osborne, First Secretary of State and Member of Parliament (MP), urged the youth to “earn or learn” in the recent budget speech. It also resulted in cutting out student benefits and grants, which induced complaints that students have been targeted unfairly.

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The resonance of his stringent approach was set up by the planned “youth obligation” for students between the age 18 to 21 years on universal credit. The chancellor claimed it would offer learners with “an intensive regime of support from day one of their benefit claim” from 2017. He also added that for young people between 18 to 21 years of age, housing benefit would automatically be no longer available.

Osborne said “It is not acceptable that in an economy moving towards full employment some young people leave school and straight on to a life on benefits. So for those aged 18 to 21, we are introducing a new youth obligation that says they must earn or learn.”

One of the primary aspects of the Osborne budget, the new proposed national living wage, will not be applicable for individuals under the age of 25. It will be introduced at £7.20 in 2016 and by 2020 will rise to £9.

Are The Youth Missing Out?

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YMCA, the youth charity, believes that the youth has “missed out most” in the proposed new budget. Chief executive of YMCA England, Denise Hatton, said “The chancellor confirmed in his speech the policy of ‘earn or learn’ for 18 to 21-year-olds, yet this was not backed up by specific measures to make this happen. The additional apprenticeships pledged [in the budget] will not help young people if, as happened in the last parliament, the greater numbers of them are going to those aged 25-plus.”

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, commented “Cutting housing benefit altogether for 18 to 21-year-olds could be nothing short of catastrophic, and lead to a rise in homelessness.”

George Osborne also declared that the existing system of student grants will be eventually discarded. This prompted experts to argue that the youth from low-income backgrounds across the UK will be discouraged and prevented from higher education.

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Sir Peter Lampl,chairman of the Sutton Trust, said “Shifting grants to loans may move them off the balance sheet, but it could also put off many low- and middle-income students and tip the balance against their going to university. Since grants were reintroduced, there have been significant improvements in participation from full-time less advantaged students, and this will be put at risk by today’s budget plans.”

What Can You Do?

So what can you do to counter the Osborne budget plans and still pursue a recognized UK degree without emptying your saving account or running in to huge student debts? There are a few ways that can offer you some counteractive solutions, but if you ask me studying online is certainly one of the best options for you.

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When you pursue your degree from a reputed UK business school by online study, you will not only receive high quality education but you will also be able to earn an accredited degree without taking out any student loans. Most online courses offered by reputed institutions in the UK are highly affordable and allow you to avoid the crippling burden of student debts. Moreover, as online learning programmes are highly flexible, you can easily opt to work a full time job and pursue your studies simultaneously. As you will be able to gain relevant work experience while studying, it will add certain value to your resume.

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The Bottom Line

The new proposed budget plans will result in transforming the higher education scenario in the UK as more and more students will be deterred from pursuing college education. But the fact remains that online education will provide an easier, more accessible and affordable learning option to our students and empower them to achieve their academic goals.

What do you think? Feel free to share your thoughts and views with us by commenting below.

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