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How much do any of us really know about the sale of student loans? The recent decision to proceed with the sale of £12bn worth of the pre-2012 Income Contingent Repayment student loan portfolio did not go to vote in parliament—it did not need to. In fact, it was only six months ago that plans to sell off the student loan book first saw the light of day, when the Guardian gained access to a report produced by Rothschild in 2011, the final chapter in a feasibility study commissioned by the coalition government. The purpose of the study was to investigate the possibility of monetising the student loan book and how best to do it; the Rothschild report duly obliged.
Yet nearly half a year later popular understanding of the technicalities, implications and motivations behind the sale of student loans has hardly improved and the same can, with a few notable exceptions, be said of media commentators and Labour Party MP’s. More positively, there have been a number of creative protests directed against the sell-off by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts and the Student Assembly Against Austerity, but the overwhelming consensus from experts and activists alike is that more is needed.
To help remedy this information deficiency and hopefully stimulate further, broader resistance to the sale of student loans Red Pepper is hosting a teach-in at the House of Commons on Monday, January 13, 7.00pm. Attending will be a number of higher education experts and student campaigners and the evening will provide an excellent opportunity to hear and question those in the know and those already fighting against the sale of student loans. Entry is free, simply register your place here.
Stefan Collini, Professor of English at Cambridge and author of ‘Sold Out’ in the London Review of Books , Oct 24, 2013.
Andrew McGettigan, author of The Great University Gamble: Money, Markets and the Future of Higher Education and the leading expert on the sale of student loans.
Natalie Fenton, Professor of Media and Communications at Goldsmith and former president of the University and College Union.
Entry via Cromwell Green Public Entrance – Please allow at least 15 minutes to clear security.