It was done. With a click of the mouse, I’d paid off the final installment of my university tuition fees. I looked around for a crowd of applauding fans but the room was as usual empty, save for the three mugs and two water bottles I’d accumulated on my bookshelves over the past few days of coursework writing. I was happy.
Although student finance had dropped a few days earlier, I only felt it was right to wait till I had completed my coursework assignments before handing over the (hopefully) final chunk of money to my university. Whereas others had waited with bated breath for student grant payments, with thoughts of holidays and cars already whirling in their minds, I’d had to contend with the painful transfer of funds into my savings account. More painful however, was seeing that money – the most I’d ever had in my life – leave your account and vanish into the financial mechanisms of King’s College London. It was a long and difficult journey; saving, working, applying for grants, budgeting, applying for scholarships, borrowing from family, but then again no one said it was going to be easy.
It’s done now, and my years at university have been great. Without the help of the National Zakat Foundation, the Nawaal Benevolence Fund, my family members, the King’s Living Bursary (No matter that they give one of the least amounts out of the Russell Group universities) and of course our dear old – and now extinct – student maintenance grants; I would not have been able to make it through university without incurring an interest-based debt. There have been talks of interest rates increasing on student loans, of universities planning to increase fees even further, whilst grants have become non-existent – one cannot help but worry about the students of the future.
However it is still possible to beat the 9K but it requires effort and dedication and a huge dose of luck. There are organisations out there who are looking to help students who want to avoid taking an interest-based loan. There are jobs out there -private tuition being the primary one – that pay well, far greater than the average for student jobs. So there is hope.
I remember when I began my first year at university. After failing at the interview stage at Oxford, and after being rejected outright by UCL, I had thought what is the point of even paying £9,000 a year if all I am going to do is go to King’s College London? In my naïve college days, reputation and league tables were everything and so I was disappointed.
Thankfully, my experience at King’s has been fantastic. After becoming more involved in student societies in my second year, I met a huge range of people and made amazing friends. This ‘university experience’ that people always go on about is something that is found outside of your degree, and it took me a year to figure that out. If you had asked me in my first year, would you do this all over, the answer would have been a resounding no. Ask me now though; was it all worth it? Hell yeah.
Until Next Time,
A Worried Student