Student loans to replace government funding for adult education


It’s not looking good for adult education and lifelong learning.

“Just one in 10 people aged 24 and over would definitely undertake a further education course at college if controversial plans to charge student loans are brought in, according to the government’s own research released today.”

It’s just so utterly depressing. But then adult education isn’t exactly that much of a vote winner or a source of political donations…or am I being cynical? The full policy is set out on the BISgovUK site here.

Many of the arguments I could make I already have in The unintended consequences of adult education policyLoans for this, loans for that…it’s not as if we’re not already drowning under the weight of debt and being priced out of everything as it is. (See Please stop pricing us out of existence for more on this).

If we’re expected to change careers and retrain every so often, it makes no sense to throw further barriers up to prevent people from doing so – especially given that skills are so often emphasised as being vital for the UK’s competitive edge. I don’t buy the argument that people will be happy to take out further loans – on top of the ones that they already have. Most will vote with their feet and not enroll, while others will take them out and struggle with the repayments. I dread to think what it will mean for some of the colleges, both in terms of job losses, closures and the turning of what were once thriving centres of education into ghost towns. Places like CityLit are going to be absolutely hammered by this.

While this is a Coalition policy, I can’t help but feel that it’s also something that would have been at home in a New Labour narrative. The arguments around pulling state funding and replacing it with loans on the grounds that with such courses people will be able to earn more and use those increased earnings to pay those loans back, sits comfortably with university fees. (My kicking of all parties on university fees – and how the policy was made, is here)

Given that it looks like the Coalition is going to go ahead with this policy, will any political party commit to scrapping this policy and reinstating funding for further education?


One thought on “Student loans to replace government funding for adult education

  1. We are telling people they should delay adult life, families etc, to earn qualifications that will be seen by us as redundant in before their children reach secondary school. Then we tell them they have to earn new qualifications that may, if they are lucky, last until their children are at university at which point the parents will be returning to university again. What can I say… What bright spark decided there would be no problem with this? What bright spark decided *we expect* – I never voted for that, did you? What if I don’t want to spend my life broke, studying to all ours? When do I get to have freedom to look at the stars, or spend time with my friends? And these qualifications… will employers even want them just as I pass the exams? Yes, the world needs educated people… so lets decide we will have educated policy makers, you know the kinds of people who are smart enough to grasp we, the electorate are adults, who understand we can and will refuse eternal debt and we will sack them for daring to think they can waste our lives in the interests of a economy policy shown to be a total failure in what is a coup over democracy…. and who are under no illusions that we know they are no more than salesmen for a private education system desperate to profit from a deliberately created qualification bubble, and who grasp the economy serves our life needs, not the other way around.

    May their bubble blow up on their miserable incompetent faces,

    Yours, a furious unemployed and thoroughly fed up Rummlins who is tired of employers rejecting her and saying “sorry, over-qualified” as they do it

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