Middle class female students most burdened by student debt, new research suggests
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Following the tuition fees hike of 2012 the image of students being forever crippled by debt seems to no longer be a hackneyed stereotype but rather an unpalatable reality born of the financial downturn. It is now estimated that average debts could reach £53,000 for UK students starting in 2012, double the figure for 2011, as indicated by The Push University Guide. In addition to the startling figures that expose the ever-growing burden of student debt, recent research led by Professor Ron Johnston from the University of Bristol’s School of Geographical Sciences has suggested that the ‘squeezed middle’ of graduates will end up paying far more for their student loans than their well paid peers or low earners. Johnston also suggests that women will face the highest repayments, as their salaries are usually lower than those of men with the equal qualifications, occupying the same jobs. Such inequalities were initially discovered using the government repayment calculator that reveals that students who finish university with debts of £50,000 would repay £115,807 over 19 years, based on an optimistic starting salary of £35,000. Alarmingly however, graduates who enter the world of work with a salary of £25,000 would shell out £159,899 over 30 years, with £26,664 waived as after thirty years loans are eventually written off. In contrast, some students would never have to pay loans back as repayments do not begin until a graduate’s annual earnings reach the £21,000 mark.
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