Taking the Wonga?
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Student loans, student debt, unpaid overdraft and owing the parents money is pretty much a way of life for the modern day student. A degree doesn’t only mean academic achievement, but nowadays the term student is synonymous with debt and with universities planning to cut bursaries, opting for fee waivers instead and increasing fees, debt is going to be more of a norm for students than ever before. Short term loan company Wonga have been criticised in the wake of this debt realisation for their targeting of students in their marketing. They have been accused of downplaying the seriousness of short term loans with high interest rates. Wonga even went so far as to add that its loans, with an average APR of 4,214%, seemed like a better option than student loans or low interest student overdrafts. The chief executive of the Helena Kennedy Foundation and deputy head of the Independent Taskforce on Student Finance Information, Wes Streeting, says short term private lenders such as Wonga were “going in for the kill”, specifically targeting vulnerable students in wake of the news of buraries would be a thing of the past. Streeting went on to add that students should always look to the universities, The Student Loan Company and grant and bursary options for support and commercial debt should always be seen as the last resort and not a viable alternative. The problem with commercial debt and short term money lenders like Wonga , he says, is “that people will get themselves into eye-watering levels debt and what may be intended as a short term loan can actually end up being a trap into a cycle of debt that students can’t escape from.” Pete Mercer, vice-president of the National Union of Students, says: “Wonga should immediately withdraw this predatory marketing, which contains information that appears to be inaccurate, and is aimed at financially vulnerable young people”
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