Summer now ending: student loan applications

2006-08-05

in Canada, Daily updates, Oxford

With September approaching, it is once again time to apply for student loans. Canadian student loans are paid half by the provincial government and half by the federal, and have a maximum value of about $12,000 a year. The nicest thing about them is that you do not need to begin paying them back until you are no longer a full-time student. As such, they reduce the disincentive to leave school early or avoid taking higher degrees, as might be created by bank loans that start gathering interest immediately.

The justification for having a student loan program is twofold. Firstly, it posits that there are societal benefits to education. In the cases of nurses, teachers, and the like, this is quite evidently so. Secondly, it constitutes part of the justification for income disparity, on the basis of the argument that everyone has an equal chance at getting an education. This plank is somewhat weaker, since there are a great many programs that $12,000 will not cover, and some people are naturally more likely to be concerned about taking on such debt than others. That said, it is almost certainly an improvement over having no such program.

Irksomely, because Oxford is not on the official British Columbian list of eligable schools, all the paperwork needs to be done by mail and fax. Since the normal application form isn’t even on their website as a PDF, I need to have it mailed to me, as well. Problematically for people in expensive places, they calculate things like the cost of living on the basis of prices in BC. Finally, as you would expect for a government document, the application instructions are 63 pages long. They are really hung up that the program start and end dates you supply exactly match any of those sent as confirmation by your school. Hopefully, Oxford term start and term end dates will work. I remember getting initially rejected last year because Wadham and the Department gave dates a couple of days apart.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

R.K. August 5, 2006 at 2:30 pm

“As you would expect for a government document, the application instructions are 63 pages long.”

Ah, the joys of bureaucracy/

Ben August 6, 2006 at 10:07 am

“The nicest thing about them is that you do not need to begin paying them back until you are no longer a full-time student. As such, they reduce the disincentive to leave school early or avoid taking higher degrees, as might be created by bank loans that start gathering interest immediately.”

You don’t have to *repay* UK student loans until you’re earning £15k/year, but they do start gathering interest as soon as you have the money (while you’re still studying) – those are very different things…

And trying to get firm dates for anything is always hard. Doing an MPhil which is in some respects a two year course but really only 21 months also complicates things a bit. That you were rejected because your college and department couldn’t even agree on a date seems ridiculous though.

Good luck with this year’s application.

Milan August 6, 2006 at 10:18 am

Ben,

That is a nice system. In Canada, you need to start paying them back as soon as you leave full-time study.

I agree that the dates issue was ridiculous. Wadham used the dates across which I would be living there and the department used the dates from induction to the end of Trinity. This time, I will be clear to both that they should use term dates.

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