Future of Online Education in India

The advanced technology is playing an important role in every field. This advanced technology has also changed the way of education. Online Education is better than the traditional classroom teaching. The future of online education is very bright in India.

People in India are moving towards the online education due to the convenience, affordable cost and the quality education and also now government is promoting the online education. In coming years still there will be a growth in the online education market.

future of online education

Indians are accepting this new medium of learning. Online education is also known as e-learning. Online education has a great scope and all those having time limitations are turning towards it. Many top universities, organizations and the colleges are accepting the online education system.

Refer – Advantages and Disadvantages of Distance Education

Online Education is affordable for students and also flexible as they can learn from their comfort place. Online education has no age bar and anyone can do the course from anywhere.

According to the recent survey after United States, India is the second highest country for the online enrolment courses all over the world. Online education in Indian schools can enhance the quality of the education.

United States have started providing the online education to the Secondary School and they are finding it as effective. Many foreign universities are offering the online degrees so no need to go to the abroad for further education.

Many top Indian universities like Sikkim Manipal, Symbiosis, IIM, IGNOU and Annamalai University are offering online distance education. They offer courses like MCA, MBA, MSc, BA (Hons),

Retail & Digital Marketing, BBA etc. The fees of these online courses are affordable for students. Online education saves money on the lectures & conferences. Also they conduct online exams time to time.

Classroom education is not suitable for everyone as in classroom there are some students whose grasping power is high and there are some who are always back. Also some students require more detailed information in classroom education, but not possible.

But in online education students can get more detailed information and also can concentrate. In classroom education teacher can’t give personal attention to each and every student. In classroom education not all students are active, some are energetic but some just sit back.

Classroom education has a limitation on the number of students, but for online education thousands can enroll for a course. For online education there is no need to stand in a queue to get an admission.

All those working professionals or a business professional who wants to do a professional course or wants to study further to improve their skills can enroll for the online education.

Online education is getting more popular in the working professional as they don’t have the time to attend the regular classes. It’s best option for them. They can enroll for online course for any time of the day.

Advantages of Online Education

Advanced teaching techniques are used to teach
Convenient
Affordable fees
Can choose the class timing as per your timing
More Revision
Saves Time & Saves Money [ No Travelling] More concentration and less disturbances
Video presentations helps students to understand quickly
From last 2 to 3 years the online education has changed the quality of education and is far better than earlier. There are some online education service providers in market who are providing the education at free of cost.

Seeing the increasing demand for the online education, many business competitors are entering this market. But all those providing the quality education will only survive in future.

Also there may be still more various courses in online education and with lots of options. The demand of the online education will create more employment for the lecturers in the future.

Still Indian parents are not finding the online education as more important than the classroom education. Government should create more awareness to change the trend.

How Much is the Cost of Education in India

How Much is the Cost of Education in India

Do you want your child’s admission in kinder garden? Or You have a child waiting to go Primary or Secondary school? Or He/she is young enough to join a bachelor degree course in a College. You might be a parent of any these aforementioned child or children. So what you have to consider first when you have a child ready to get admitted in a school or a college?

Well! I can surely say that it would be the cost of admission. Both the monthly fees and other miscellaneous expenditure related to it. Thus, in this article we will talk about issues related to education in India.

cost_of_education_in_India

How Parents Think Regarding Their Child’s Education?
Before I talk about the cost of education in India, let us first debate what parents think regarding their child’s education particularly in India. I mean, how they take education of their children. According to my personal experience, normally parents are very serious when it comes to education and career of their children.

It is a fact that most of parents in India take education as their first priority. Parents would spend less on everything else but they would never comprise on child’s education. Many parents even go to an extent that they would go hungry but still pay the monthly fees for the child. Hence, we can conclude that parents in India are really serious about their child’s future.

Why Cost is So High in India?
We all know cost of education in India is very high and it is soaring. It is a fact that still a large number of populations in our country cannot afford even primary education. Forget about the higher education.

The reason for this is very simple. Government still lacks a policy where it can regulate the private schools and colleges in a way that would guarantee that every child in India gets free and quality education. Moreover, there has been little done when it comes to physical and intellectual infrastructure.

Physical means lack of spacious classrooms and inadequate furniture. Children have to sit on ground. Intellectual means manpower to teach our children. A teacher to student’s ratio is very high and teachers are also not well trained. Then in government schools we see a trend that teachers do not teach in their regular classes and take tuition after the school is over.

Hence it means if you want to get quality teaching then you have to pay an extra money for tuition along with school fees. These things make education high in India.

Education in Private Sector vs. Government Sector
If we compare both, education given in private sector versus education in government sector then which one is good for you. Education in private schools is normally good but they are very costly.

Even fees for kinder garden are so high then you can imagine for higher education in private colleges. On the other hand, in government schools and colleges fees are very less but quality of education is surely comprised.

You will find teachers do not come to their classes because there is no accountability. Therefore, it simply means if parents have money then they opt for private schools for education and if they do not then they have no choice and send children to a nearby government school.

Cost for Primary, Secondary and Higher Education in India
Here, let me give you some figures. First is cost of getting admission in kinder garden and primary school. A private school can cost you around Rs 1500/- to Rs 2000/- per month for a child. You have to pay extra for initial deposit and it could run into lakhs of rupees.

In government school monthly fees could be 6 to 7 times less than a private school. Second is for secondary and high school. Again in private school a child can cost Rs 3000/ to Rs 4000/- per month. In a government school it could be Rs 1000/- to Rs 1500/-. Third is higher education for colleges.

Well! It could cover many disciplines like Medical, Engineering, dental, MBA etc. An engineering college course for one semester could cost Rs 50,000/- to Rs 70,000/-. A MBBS degree can cost Rs 10, 00000 to Rs 2000000/- Similarly, post graduation course like MBA could also cost in lakhs. Higher education is normally given in private institutes. There are few such government institutes where fees are relatively less.

Cost of Education in India Compared to Abroad
When we compare cost of education in India and abroad then it depends upon the courses you choose. Some courses which not available in India could cost you huge amount of money in countries like USA and UK. Courses which are readily available here do not cost much abroad because students would not like to go there.

Hence it depends upon availability of course by course. But one advantage in studying here is that you do not have to work while going to college. Abroad, you have to work because you do not have enough money to pay fees and your monthly expenditures. Hence, overall cost of education in India is less than compared to abroad.

What are Options to cut-down the Cost of Education?
As a parent your main concern should be how you can cut-down the cost of education for your child. The best way to cut-down education cost could be taking loans.

Today many banks whether government or private offer plans and scheme for child’s education. Private Banks like HDFC, ICICI etc have some great packages for child loans. You can go to their website and start learning about various loans.

As a parent you should prepare from now on if you want to give your child best education.

How to Shape Your Future Without Much of Formal Education
Finally, there is a way out if you really cannot afford education for your child. Schools and colleges are ways to impart formal education in your children. You could prepare your child for a future where he or she would require less of a formal education.

I simply mean to say starting something on your own. It could be a small business where formal education does not play any role. Here your child would need more of a real life experience rather formal education.

Hence, you could choose a career for a child that does not require much of a formal education so that you could save lakhs of rupees from spending on higher education.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Distance Education

Advantages and Disadvantages of Distance Education

As we know, world is getting small and we are living in a global village. A person sitting in one corner of the world can talk to a person sitting on the other side of the world.

Technology has really shrunk the world. Technology has affected every aspect of our daily life. No one has remained untouched with this revolution.

However, in this article we shall discuss an aspect where technology has really made a big change and that is distance education.

Now you can sit in a remote area of a country and learn everything as if you are sitting in a college classroom.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Distance Education

Distance education has really changed the way we see higher education. It is a growing phenomenon around the world and people are interested to know more about it.

Before you make a decision to join distance education you should know what are advantages and disadvantages of distance learning.

Advantages of Distance Education
Study from Anywhere, Anytime
The best thing about the distance education is you could learn it from anywhere and at anytime. It does not matter in part of the country you are living you can join the course and start learning.

Even if your course is offered by an international school you could easily get access to course material if you are a citizen of a different country.

Get all the knowledge and training anywhere you reside on the planet.

Flexibility of Time
Normally, distance education offers flexibility of time. It gives complete freedom to choose your own time for taking up the course.

If you do not have time in day then you can learn at night or some other time because only thing that you need is a computer with an internet connection.

You do not need to go in person and submit anything. Time is the most important thing and you could save it through joining distance learning.

No Commuting
I hate commuting. If you are opting for a distance education then you do not have to commute in crowded buses or local trains.

As I said earlier, you need a computer with an internet connection in your home. Entire college would be in your bedroom and you do not have to go out.

Commuting is the most difficult part because you waste a lot of time, money and more importantly the energy. No one likes commuting for long hours.

Plethora of Schools and Colleges to Choose
There are many schools and colleges now that offer distance education. Hence you will not find any problem in finding a college.

You could choose a college which is best for you. In India, IGNOU is a great university for offering distance education. Although you do have to attend few classes in a week but it gives you real flexibility.

Similarly there are many other colleges & universities like IGNOU where you can join and get your education distantly.

Lower Costs
This is another great advantage of distance education. The total cost that you incur for joining Distance College is very less compared to joining a regular college.

If you are from a poor background then you could easily afford the distance college. Moreover, the fees for certain courses are in distance learning are very less compared to learning in a full time normal college.

Hence, if you feel you have shortage of money then you could get quality education at low price.

Learn While Working
You can learn or pursue your college while you are working. As I said earlier distance education offers complete flexibility of choosing time.

The distance learning is not going to conflict with timings of your day job. You could work all day and study at night or vice-versa.

Therefore if you are a working professional then you could choose distance education without affecting your 9 to 5 job.

Moreover, it is really good for the housewives who can learn sitting in their home.

So these were advantages of distance education.

Disadvantages of Distance Education
However, with advantages there are some serious shortcomings of distance education. Here are they.

No Interaction with Teachers and Professors
The worst thing about distance education is you cannot interact with your college professor or teachers.

In fact, you cannot even talk to friends and other colleagues that you do in a normal college course.

You seriously miss the human aspect because you are only engaging with the technology and machines.

You will not be able to socially mingle with your friends and enjoy a normal college life.

Moreover, if you have any doubt then you have to clear yourself without taking help from your teacher or friends.

Lack of Seriousness, Competition and Learning Environment
Sometimes you cannot replace a real college environment with a virtual college environment on your computer.

In distance education you lack a seriousness that is present in a classroom when lecture is given by the professor.

Moreover, here you are alone and you do not have anybody to compete because you are alone.

Without any competition you tend to learn less. Therefore the overall learning environment in a distance education is lot different than a regular college.

Job Markets Do Not Accept Online Degrees
This is could be quite dangerous if you are totally relying on distance education for a degree. You might get a degree but that is not going to be recognized by privates companies in the job market and the same problem in government jobs.

Still employers prefer a degree from a regular college over online or distance education. They think that distance education is still not a serious form of education.

Therefore, if you think you will get a job with an online degree then you might be wrong.

Not All Courses Are Available and Can be Learned through Distance Education
Moreover, online courses or distance education has some serious limitations when it comes to offering courses.

You want to do specialization or major in a particular subject then it might not be available for you.

Moreover, there are certain courses in which practical demonstration is more important than lectures on videos. So you cannot learn such courses.

Format of Courses Not Suitable for Everyone
Format of online courses are not suitable for everyone. Sometimes you will not understand anything what is taught through an online video.

Certain students could never understand what they are trying to teach you.

So this is another limitation of distance education.

Internet Availability and Affordability
Finally, this is sad reality that everyone cannot afford a computer and an Internet connection because you need these things for distant learning.

All the lectures and conferences that would be given would through a webinar and you need a high speed internet connection.

Many people cannot afford it. So they cannot join a distance education college because of their financial condition.

So there were advantages and disadvantages of distance education. There are advantages and some disadvantages but the bottom line is if you want to learn something new then you could take up a distance learning course.

However, you cannot rely on it imagining that it is going to give you a job one day because employers still do not prefer distance education.

So don’t think of getting a degree through distance education but you can use it to learn something new.

10 Fundamental Problems with Education System in India

10 Fundamental Problems with Education System in India

We all want a job that pays us in six figures every month. But we are not ready to see the ground reality of our education system that how come it is going to help you in getting a job that could pay you in six figures.

With my own experience, I have jot down 10 fundamental problems with education system in our country. You need to know these 10 problems.

1. Education System Promotes Rat Race
Our education system basically promotes rat race among our children. They have to read and mug-up entire text book without any understanding of it.

So a student who scores 90 out of 100 and comes first actually remains a rat. I mean to say he or she does not have any analytical skills that a child must have.

It is time to change our education system.

2. Education Does Not Builds Persona of a Child
Unfortunately our education system is not helping to develop persona of a child. Remember, it is personality that is more important than academic qualification.

As I said earlier, our system demands good numbers from a child in an exam not to show his personality. Hence a child is not well exposed to outer world and he or she might not be able to develop a personality.

So this is another flaw in our education system.

3. No Critical Analysis, only Following the Establishment
Our children are not able to do critical analysis of anything, for example our history, culture and religion. They take the line of establishment or the views of predominant majority.

They are simply not able to look things from their own perspective. If you want a society should become a lot better than we must develop a culture of looking at things critically.

We are simply failing at this because of our education system. Children must learn to criticize our own culture and other established narratives.

4. Too Much Parochialism Rather Global Outlook
Our education teaches too much of nationalism and it could create a negative mindset in our younger generation. Loving your country is good thing but just blind love is dangerous.

In our schools children are not able to get a global outlook. It means how to see yourself that you are actually a global citizen rather confined to a place or a country.

I myself was not able to feel that I am a cosmopolitan rather I was thought to become a jingoistic.

5. Teachers Themselves are Not Trained and Efficient
To make things worse, our teachers themselves are not sufficiently trained to teach kids. They do not have proper training that how they are going to impart values in children that are going to change the future of the country.

If they can teach properly then the government does not have enough salary to pay. Hence, to improve our education system teachers should be better trained and more importantly better paid.

You cannot imagine a country without respecting teachers.

6. Medium of Language of our Education System
This is also a big problem that needs to be addressed. We are not able to decide on the medium of language of our education system.

Still emphasize is given on English where majority of children cannot understand the language. So how does they are going to understand what teachers are teaching.

Moreover, subjects like mathematics, physics and arts have nothing to do with the medium of communication. Hence, over-emphasis on English could be wrong.

7. Education Given is Irrelevant to Job-Market
This is perhaps the most apparent failure of our education system that after completing graduation in any discipline students are not able to get jobs.

It is simply because skills that are required in a job market are simply not present in a fresh graduate. All that a student is taught in his entire school and college life is almost redundant for job markets.

Skill that is required by them is not taught in schools and colleges. Hence our education system is needed to be revamped and must be designed according to our economic policies.

8. Missing Innovation & Creation because Only Aping West
If we talk about the privileged children in India then even they are not able to innovate and create new things. Although they have everything that a child need but still they lack something in them.

What they are doing is only aping western culture and not being able to do something new. On the one hand children are not able to go to schools and on other hand, if they are going then are not able to innovate or solve the problems that the country is facing.

Hence, this is yet another fundamental problem with our education system.

9. Students Happy in Getting a Highly Paid Salary Job but Lacks Ambition to Become Entrepreneur
Now, in college campuses it has become a common thing that every young student is interested in a getting a job that pays them well. However, they would never like to become an entrepreneur.

This lack of ambition does not allow our country to excel in any field. This attitude of our children making them slaves of few multinational companies.

Therefore our education system should be designed to make our children a successful entrepreneurs rather going for a salaried job.

10. Gross Failure of Our Education System to End Social Disparity
The last but not the least failure of our education system is after so many years it has not being able to reduce social disparity in our country. In fact, social disparity has gone up.

It is such a shame that education itself has become a tool for creating divisions. A child of a rich parent would get good education and a child of poor parent cannot afford even a basic education.

Government should intervene and make education its prime responsibility.

Conclusion

Finally, I would say education is very important but we spend only few percent of our GDP on education, so our government should make education its first priority and try to address issues those are mentioned in this blog.

If government is able to take note of these 10 problems then we can definitely overhaul our education system.

Perfect Blogging Schedule For Business

Perfect Blogging Schedule For Business

In my many years of blogging, I’ve come to understand that one of the greatest challenges to running a blog is not really what to blog about, but rather how to do it in a strategic, consistent, and timely manner.
Your audience wants to build a stable relationship with you – not a “relationshit”:

For you to win them over, you must establish some degrees of trust in their minds – you must consistently make out time for them, and do it in a way that they know what to expect from you.

This single attitude, when done well, will be able to inspire their loyalty, trust, and most of all… sales.

So, what’s the simple way to achieve all these?

It’s by having an unbeatable blogging schedule.

Let me tell you, my friend, you might have learned how to write top-notch blog posts, and also how to drive traffic to your site, but if you don’t have a good blogging schedule, all your efforts will be futile.

This is because after writing those captivating posts, your blogging schedule is what will allow you to publish them consistently in a way that will dramatically boost your:

Traffic
Newsletter subscribers
Social media shares
Social media followers
Customer conversions
On top of that, you have to do all these things in such a way so that they’ll help you achieve your blogging goals.

That being said, in this post, you’re going to learn how to easily create the perfect blogging schedule for your business without getting your fingers burnt.

How To Create The Perfect Blogging Schedule

1. Start By Defining Your Blogging Goals

You’re probably looking to create a blogging schedule because you’ve been told that publishing consistently can help grow your blog.

It’s true!

Defining Blogging Goals

Essentially, from my observations, those who work with a good blogging schedule and publish consistent blog posts get no less than 30% more traffic for each post they publish.

That’s not all; it makes your life a lot easier to stare at a calendar filled with blog post ideas instead of going blank and getting confused while thinking of what to write each day.

That said, defining your blogging schedule and planning to publish more posts isn’t your main goal, right? Your goal is related to the things (results/benefits) you expect to get from every post you publish.

For example, things like more traffic, more newsletter subscribers, more social media shares and followers, getting noticed by the influencers in your industry, and increased conversions are usually the main goals.

Now, before you even think about your best blogging schedule, decide on where you would like the above metrics to be in a month, six months, or twelve months.

You need to clearly understand your blogging goals and the metrics that contribute to those goals. It’s often good to set long-term goals as it’ll give you long enough time to see if your strategy is working, and then you can adapt and tweak your goals based on the results you’re seeing.

Followers, traffic, backlinks, likes, plus ones, subscribers, re-tweets… What do all these metrics mean to you? How do they impact your bottom line?

Metrics are indeed super helpful, but they become useless if you cannot track them back to a meaningful result. Now, the most vital element of an effective blogging strategy is by accurately defining the goals you wish to achieve.

Below are three helpful questions you should ask yourself when defining a blogging goal:

Does this goal align with the initiatives of other parts of my business?
Will this goal assist me in achieving my aim, or is there something better I can aspire to?
What metrics track the progress of this goal? Are these metrics counterintuitive or complementary?
Providing answers to these questions will enable you to set meaningful blogging goals, and consequently, identify the metrics that will help you to achieve them.

However, there is no specific science to measuring the efficiency of your blog strategy, but this process will build a direct line of sight from your activities to the outcome(s) you desire. Immediately, you will figure out exactly how much of a particular metric (Ex: amount of social media shares) contributes to an exact outcome (Ex: sales).

Once you’ve concluded this, you can create a very actionable blogging schedule that will push you toward reaching that goal.

2. Map Out Your Blogging Schedule

Blogging Schedule

According to Search Engine Watch, “70% of B2B marketers plan to create more content in 2017 compared to 2016,” and if my guess is right, you’re one of those marketers.

Now, for you to succeed at creating more content this year and beyond, you have to adequately plan it well, this is because without a proper plan of action, everything you’re doing will eventually become fruitless.

However, before you do anything, you need to properly organize all the resources you need to make everything easy for you.

Now, the first thing is to figure out the different tasks associated with writing blog posts – and from my experience, these roles include:

Content writing
Formatting
Designing
Content publishing
Promotion
And to tackle these tasks, you’ll need the assistance of a writer, a designer, a marketer, and an editor.

However, if you’re a beginner in the business, I understand that you may not have the necessary resources to hire these people at the moment. Hence, you have to do everything alone… for now.

Therefore, what you should do is figure out exactly what it takes to get the job done.

For example, you need to be realistic about the amount of time it will take you to write each article.

After writing thousands of articles, I can tell you that it takes between 2 to 3 hours to craft a high-quality 500-word article. This includes the brainstorming of an idea, researching, drafting, writing, proofreading, and publishing. However, it all depends on your niche; I do know that some niches can take longer.

So now, you need to sit down, map out your plans, and realistically evaluate how many hours it will take you to write quality articles (of 500, 1000, 1500, 5000 words, etc.).

Once you know this, the next thing is to check how many of these posts you can write each week. Can you afford to handle 2 or 3, or maybe just 1?

Listen to me; there’s really nothing wrong with writing one blog post per week.

It’s just a matter of knowing your strengths and your abilities and making sure each one you write is of really high quality.

I’ve seen bloggers that publish seven (7) posts/week (1/day), and I’ve yet to understand how they’re doing it (other than obviously having a team of writers).

You must realize that what matters in this game is quality, not quantity (REMEMBER THIS).

Unless you’re in the news/politics niche, the problem with publishing lots of posts each day is that inundating your readers with many posts (most of which are probably junk) will cause them to get overwhelmed, and they’ll stop coming to your site.

Your site is not the only one these readers visit; you need to give them some breathing space.

3. Decide On Which Days You’ll Be Writing And Publishing Your Posts

Writing And Publishing Your Posts

Now, you already know your blogging goals and have also decided on how many posts you’ll be writing each week.

The next step is to know which days of the week you’ll be publishing those posts. Ideally, most people like publishing 3x/week, usually on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. If you plan on writing 3 articles every week, this is a good schedule to follow.

But if that doesn’t work for you, figure something else out. Find a schedule that works for you.

A good way to start is by writing out specific titles for posts, so you’ll always know what to do when it comes time to write your posts. You can easily do this virtually with apps like Wunderlist, Evernote, etc.

After writing your titles, the next thing should be to know when is best to actually write the posts. For me, I do most of my writing first thing in the morning on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. You may want to see if this schedule will work for you.

However, you also need to understand that your content doesn’t need to be only artices – there are also other types of content you can post on your blog which might eventually make things easier for you.

Things like:

Video tutorials
Expert interviews
Podcasts
Infographics
Link roundups
You may decide to publish articles on Mondays, video tutorials on Wednesdays, and link roundups on Fridays. It’s entirely up to you to know what you want and how you want it. Once you’ve concluded this, you have to stick to this schedule.

4. Schedule and Execute

It’s advisable to schedule posts ahead of time so you’re never left scrambling for content. Knowing when your posts should be going live is something you have to figure out.

This is going to take some trial and error and constant monitoring of your Google Analytics account, but as time goes on, you will be able to see the ideal days and time for your blog posts.

You want to set out a particular day every week to schedule your blog posts. Most people I know schedule their posts for the entire week on Sundays.

One of the obvious benefits of using the editorial calendar is having bigger control over your upcoming posts. However, an editorial calendar can give you a host of other benefits.

Some of those benefits:

You can keep a consistent schedule. As you may already know, when it comes to successful blogging and content marketing, consistency is more crucial than frequency. Having an editorial calendar will enable you to visualize the perfect schedule you should keep for publishing your blog posts.
Let’s you plan topics to write ahead of time. Using an editorial calendar encourages you to brainstorm for topic ideas before you need to write the articles. You can capture blog post ideas and set deadlines for them. This will give you a good amount of time to appropriately research and plan your posts.
Helps you organize your content properly: Using an editorial calendar will give you a clear overview of your content strategy. It’ll help you to plan out your content on a weekly or monthly basis and/or align blog posts with holidays and business milestones.
Allows you to properly manage your team of writers. Coordinating and managing multiple writers can be very challenging without a system to properly keep track of assignments. However, a calendar can help every team member to know who is working on what topics and when content is due.
Okay, so we’ve covered the primary benefits of the editorial calendar and scheduling posts. Let’s now talk about how to schedule your posts in WordPress.

Log into your WP dashboard and make your way over to the text editor.

On the top right side of the editor, locate the Publish box.

WordPress Publish Button

By default, WordPress is set to publish posts immediately after writing. However, this can be changed by clicking on the Edit button next to “Publish immediately”.

WordPress Publish immediately

Now you can adjust the date and time you want to publish your post. Once you’re happy, click on the OK button to save.

Schedule Post on WordPress

If you don’t want to publish the post immediately, and you set it for a future date, this will automatically change the Publish button with the word Schedule.

Schedule Post

The final step is to click the Schedule button, and that’s it.

This will save you a hell of a lot of time and enable you to focus more on the other critical aspects of your business like blog promotion, link building, blog commenting, outreach, etc.

5. Evaluate and Measure Your Result

You know your targets and blogging goals, therefore, you need to always check your steps and appropriately review how an average post contributes to your goals.

Now that you’ve created a consistent blogging schedule, doing this is as simple as looking at a week’s or a month’s worth of measurements for your content and averaging the numbers.

You want to figure out if the blogging frequency you’ve choosen is helping you reach the goals you’ve defined in step one. If everything is working out for you as planned, then you need to stick to what you’re doing and keep improving on it.

However, if things are not working out so well, what you should do is re-evaluate your steps and see where you’re getting it wrong.

Is your content quality good enough?
What about your content length, do you need to increase or reduce it?
Are you also using other content formats?
How are you engaging with your audience?
Answering all these questions will eventually help to position you on the right track to ensure you’re creating a working schedule that will help you reach your goals.

Creating A Proper Blogging Schedule

Congratulations on the establishment of a blogging schedule! This will make things substantially easier for you.

Now, you’ll have to keep monitoring and tracking which blog posts are getting the most reactions, which days are experiencing more voter turnouts than others, and of course, which types of posts you had the most fun writing.

Like I already mentioned, if something isn’t working properly or blogging feels like too much work, re-work and change something – make this thing work for you.

If you’ve succeeded at building a perfect blogging schedule, you’re excited to write, and you offer your readership great content, blogging will be a very fun experience for you.

What does your blogging schedule look like? How has it helped you achieve your goals? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Like this post? Don’t forget to share it!

For further reading:

Growth Hacking Tactics For Beginners (How To Use Them To Grow Your Business)
Which Is The Best Platform To Use To Start A Blog: The Definitive Guide
5 Tools Small Business Owners Should Embrace For Exponential Growth
Benefits Of Web Push Notifications For Bloggers – Powerful Marketing Tech

Blogging For Making The World A Better Place: 1st Ever #ShoutersChat Recap

Blogging For Making The World A Better Place: 1st Ever #ShoutersChat Recap

Last Saturday, we hosted our first ever #ShoutersChat.

What is #ShoutersChat?

#ShoutersChat is a Twitter chat where Shouters like you from around the world come online every week to chat about a specific topic related to blogging and online marketing.

We host this chat every Saturday at 7 PM IST.

Here are a few benefits of joining #ShoutersChat:

You get to share your knowledge with other fellow Shouters.
You get to learn from people who are a step (or many steps) ahead of you.
You get to network with like-minded people who may want to collaborate with you to build something great.
And of course, you get to interact with us!
Sounds good. Right?

It’s an amazing opportunity to learn, help others, and grow.

Here is how it goes down:

The chat happens every Saturday at 7 PM IST.
We announce a topic for that day’s chat.
We post a question around that topic and discuss it for about 7-10 minutes until we post another question.
We discuss for about one hour.
After the chat, we have a little after-chat party for 10 minutes or so where you can share your suggestions and ask questions.
It’s an amazing platform for you to share your knowledge and speak your mind to attract and connect with new people.

Join #ShoutersChat with @ShoutMeLoud every Saturday at 7 PM IST to discuss blogging and digital…
CLICK TO TWEET

How to join the #ShoutersChat

It’s simple.

Every Saturday at 7 PM IST, search for #ShoutersChat and you’ll find all the Shouters chatting and connecting with each other using this hashtag.

Make sure you use the hashtag (#ShoutersChat) in every tweet to be visible to everyone and stay connected throughout the session.

Recap to the first ever #ShoutersChat

Last week, at #ShoutersChat, all the Shouters discussed the topic:

“Blogging for making the world a better place”

And everyone had a blast!

We talked about how blogging is changing lives, what the personality traits are of top bloggers, and many more really interesting things.

We got to hear some amazing thoughts from Shouters all over the world.

Here are all the questions we asked and the top answers by Shouters:

Q1: How has blogging changed your life?

3 Powerful Tips For Blogging Beginners To Achieve Success In A Short Time

For many, blogging “success” could be reaching out to the right audience or getting more traffic or becoming popular… or it could be as simple as making enough money to pay their bills.

For me, it’s helping my readers to become their own bosses.

The effort that you put into the initial days of blogging defines how fast you can reach the heights of success.

Today’s post is for anyone who recently started a blog or who wants to start a blog ASAP. Here I’m sharing 3 powerful tips that can help you reach your blogging goals in record time.

These tips are in the form of a video. I recorded this message for a group of bloggers for a blogging event in Guwahati, India:

Subscribe on Youtube
Summary of These 3 Powerful Tips for Beginner Bloggers

If you focus solely on these 3 points during the initial days of blogging, your career as a blogger, or even as an internet entrepreneur, will skyrocket. So what are those three things?

1. Pay attention to your foundation.

Pay attention to your foundation

Everyone wants traffic, but they don’t want to spend time learning about SEO, social media marketing, how to write good articles, etc.

Everyone wants to be a successful blogger, but how could they do that if they don’t know what being a blogger is all about? If you spend your initial few months of blogging honing the basic skills of writing, SEO, and social media marketing, then these skills will work as a foundation for your success when you grow.

If you want to learn about writing, I suggest you start by reading the AdWeek Copywriting ebook.

For SEO & social media marketing, browse those categories here on ShoutMeLoud.

Here are a couple good places to start:

A Guide for CMOs on the Integration of Social Media with Traditional Marketing
On-Page SEO Techniques To Rank On The First Page: 2017 Edition
In The Next 15 Minutes I Will Show You How To Make Your Blog More Professional
2. Be Honest

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
How often do you meet people who lie to you or lie to others? After a while, isn’t it easy to spot these lies?

Well, blogging is a tool by which you express yourself to the world. It could be in the form of text, video, audio, or any other medium.

The thing is, when you are honest, your reach increases. People like honest people and they will respect you more for being honest.

Being honest also improves your quality of thinking and sharing because it will make you more empathetic and compassionate. Even if you’ve lied before, you should leave your lying past behind.

Blogging is not for our family, friends, or for anyone else; it’s all for us.

We blog because it’s our space to help us reach out to like-minded people from every part of the globe.

Next time you create a new piece of content, stay honest. Staying honest won’t make your article boring, it will just make it more interesting, and most importantly, authentic.

To make your writing more powerful, you can pick out a few of my tricks from here.

Staying honest starts by not lying to yourself.

For example, if you say to yourself that you will wake up in the morning when your alarm sounds, then do that. There will be no more 5 minutes or 10 minutes of extra sleep. If you say that you will get something done, you need to get that thing done.

This means saying no to unwanted things and becoming true to yourself.

This forms the foundation of making you a better person.

3. Stay focused and dedicated.

Stay focused and dedicated

Think about how you are when taking an exam. You forget about everything else but the exam.

Dedication & focus are the key ingredients for becoming successful in anything.

For the next 3-4 months, you need to forget about everything else in your life.

Have a monk-like dedication, and focus solely on your blog.

Follow this four-step process:

Learn, Practice, Implement, Improvise.
Dedicate 4 months of your time to your blog and I promise you that it will be making enough to help you live a decent life.

This even applies to anyone who doesn’t know a single thing about blogging.

Becoming A Blogging Master

Climbing the mountain of success is only easy if you constantly work toward it.

It doesn’t require you to leave everything behind, but it does require your full dedication, honesty, and a mindset of constant learning.

Are you ready to dedicate a few months of your life to lay down a successful blogging foundation? Are you ready to commit to your success?

Warning: Parents with 2+ children who’ll go to uni, SAVE NOW, the system’s biased against you

The entire premise of our current student finance system is supposed to be “you don’t need cash to pay upfront to go to university!” Yet these days that’s simply not true.  Many parents, especially those with more than one child, will need a war chest of possibly £10,000s.

This isn’t about tuition fees. University fees are automatically paid for you by The Student Loans Company – and you only repay once you leave, and then only provided you earn enough.

In practical terms they works less like a debt, more like a tax, as after graduation most simply repay 9% of everything earned above £21,000 (soon to rise to £25,000) for 30 years. This is supposed to be, financially at least, a no-win-no-fee higher education. For a full explanation see my 20+ Student Loan Mythbusters guide.

So tuition costs aren’t a practical barrier for students, they’re a cost for graduates. The real practical problem is the university costs the State won’t cover – and especially how that impacts parents with more than one child.

To understand the problem with having more than one child at uni, you need to understand the basics first, so let me speedily bash out a step-by-step …

Problem 1: Living loans are now heavily means tested

Student are entitled to a maintenance loan to cover living costs – which is then added together with the tuition fee loan – and all are repaid on the same terms as above.
Yet while every first time UK undergraduate is entitled to the full tuition fee loan, the amount given for maintenance is means tested – and the means tested proportion has increased substantially in recent years from a third to over a half.

Problem 2: The means testing usually depends on parental income 

Even though they are adults, old enough to vote, get married or even fight and die for our country, most under 25s are considered ‘dependent’. So means testing is based on household, in other words parental, income.

This means testing start for those with family income of just £25,000 – way less than average income for a family with two working adults. And it maxes out on earnings of roughly £60,000 to £70,000 depending whether the student lives at home or away – at that point the amount of loan given is roughly halved.

Problem 3: The missing amount is the parental contribution – but parents aren’t told

The gap between the full loan and what the student receive is the ‘parental contribution’ (not officially – but as it solely dependent on parental means testing – it’s self-evident).  Yet disgracefully this is never spelled out to parents.

wrote to the University Minister asking it to be transparent and communicate this properly, but he replied and said no. And repeated that again when I publically debated him on it a few days ago. So as the government won’t help, you’ll need to work it out yourself. The maximum annual living loans for this year’s NEW starters are…

– Living at home: £7,097
– Living away from home: £8,430
– Living away from home (London): £11,002.

To work out your parental contribution subtract the loan you get from this. See my full parental contribution guide for full help and numbers on previous years.

Of course knowing the parental contribution doesn’t make it affordable – but at least you’re aware of the gap. And ‘dependent’ students should ensure they at least have the discussion with their parents.

If parents can’t or won’t cough up, their offspring have no way to force their parents to contribute. You can only be assessed independently if you’re over 25 or have financially supported yourself for 3+ years, have no living parents or are caring for a child.

Problem 4: Even the maximum loan isn’t enough

Often parents come up to me on my TV roadshows and say “it’s outrageous my daughter’s halls cost alone is £7,000 and her loan is only £6,000!” The first thing I do is explain the hidden parental contribution system and they’re surprised.

Yet even then, at the level of the full loan, I hear more and more reports that the living allowance simply doesn’t cover basic costs. And that means those on courses with long hours, who can’t work, are in trouble.

So with the cost of living increasing, bizarrely the biggest practical problem with student loans isn’t what you often hear, that they’re too big, it’s that they’re not big enough.

Problem 5 – It’s far worse the more children you have

The means testing of maintenance loans in strict terms depends on what’s called household ‘residual’ income. This is defined as income…

  • Before tax
  • After any pension contributions
  • After allowances for other dependent children

To find the key info of what allowances are made for dependent children, you need to go to page 10 of Student Loan Company’s ‘How you’re assessed and paid guide’ where it says: “We’ll ignore £1,130 for any child other than you who is totally or mainly financially dependent on them [parents].”

In other words if you’ve two or more children at university consecutively, the only concession is that your income for assessment is mildly reduced. Or to put it more plainly…

Even if you need to shell out £5,000 for your other child, the system only counts that you’re paying out £1,130

This isn’t a niche problem.  Most parents have children who are relatively close in age, so are likely to be at university at some overlapping point. To test this I did an indicative poll on Twitter.

It shows well over 50% of parents have children who could overlap. And that can be incredibly expensive – just imagine someone with triplets!   To play this out practically here’s an example…. (I’ve ignored loan size changes each year for simplicity)…

The Medium family have two children. Mrs Medium lives in Manchester and earns £37,000/yr and Mr Medium part-time work pays £15,000. Together their family income, after £2,000 of pension contributions is £50,000.

Child 1: Their eldest child, Erma Medium goes to Newcastle Uni. Her family income is calculated at £48,900 (slightly reduced as her younger brother’s a dependent child living at home). This means rather than the full £8,430 living loan, means testing reduces it to £5,540, leaving a needed parental contribution of £2,890 a year.

Child 2: Erma’s brother Ivor is 20 months younger, and starts at London University the following year. The fact that his sister is dependent means rather than the full £11,000 loan, he gets £8,060, leaving a needed parental contribution of £2,940 a year.

So when they have two children at university the total parental contribution is £5,830 a year.

Just to stretch the point, compare that to what the parental contribution would be if there’d been only children from separate families (on the same income). Erma family would’ve had a parental contribution of £3,030 and Ivor £3,080. So only an extra £140 needed from two families.

The parental contribution ready reckoner for those with multiple children at Uni

To help I’ve drawn up this quick table that sets out for you, as the system currently is, how much the parental contribution is likely to be each year.

Annual parental contribution. Student(s) living at home
Parental Income 1 child at Uni 2 at Uni 3 at Uni
£25,000 or less £0 £0 £0
£30,000 £600 £920 £980
£40,000 £1,800 £3,320 £4,570
£50,000 £2,990 £5,710 £8,160
£60,000+ £3,970 £7,950 £11,750
Annual parental contribution. Student(s) living away (outside London)
Parental Income 1 child at Uni 2 at Uni 3 at Uni
£25,000 or less £0 £0 £0
£30,000 £610 £940 £990
£40,000 £1,820 £3,360 £4,630
£50,000 £3,030 £5,780 £8,260
£60,000 £4,240 £8,200 £11,890
Annual parental contribution. Student(s) living away (in London)
Parental Income 1 child at Uni 2 at Uni 3 at Uni
£25,000 or less £0 £0 £0
£30,000 £610 £950 £1,010
£40,000 £1,850 £3,420 £4,710
£50,000 £3,080 £5,880 £8,400
£60,000 £4,310 £8,340 £12,100

PS Obviously I’ve not covered every eventuality here. You may have one child living at home and one away, but hopefully these tables give you a rough indication of how it works.

Will some feel the need to ‘pick’ which child can go to Uni?

As you can see at the extreme level some parents will need to fork out over £12,000 a year. My concern is it means some families will need to ‘pick’ which child goes to university – denying the other. Do let me know if that’s you feel pressured to do that in the discussion below.

For most, prioritising one child would be on academic or career merit. Yet even worse there are still likely some in society who value girl’s education less than a boys, and we could be going back to the dark ages.

What can prospective parents and students do about it?

While many editorials are about the size of student debt – the complaints I hear most from parents and students are all about living costs. Yet many only learn this once they get to university as the debate is so skewed towards “debt”.

Until more understand our misnamed system (I’ve campaigned for it to be renamed a graduate contribution system not a debt) genuine practical problems like this will continue to be missed. From a political perspective talk to your local MP, and other parents so many more are prepared. It’d be nice to think things will change, but I see little appetite for that at the moment.

So in practical terms, while I’ve always argued don’t pay tuition fees upfront, unless things change parents will need to save up to ensure you’ve cash set aside to support your child’s living costs while at uni.

I’d love to hear your views, whether you knew about it, and if you’ve been impacted how you dealt with it…

Are student loans broken? What I told Uni Minister Jo Johnson

If you read the papers you’d think the answer is a clear cut yes. I too agree, to an extent. Yet the most commonly quoted problems tend not to be what worries me most, and the things least mentioned can hurt.   

On Tuesday, MSE organised an event at the Tory party conference, where I debated this subject with University Minister Jo Johnson, chaired by Nick Hillman, Director, Higher Education Policy Institute.

My core aim was to try and push that if this scheme is to continue it needs renaming and reshaping. That was picked up by The Times Higher that reported Minister agrees student loans should be renamed as did The Telegraph. While the tabloids focused on Tory minister tells students to live frugally – though to be fair what he actually said is that some students want to do that, rather than all should.

This was an important debate, so I thought, as we weren’t allowed to broadcast it, it’s worth noting down for posterity my opening remarks (it’s up to the minister if he chooses to publish his). Below is a transcript (edited to make it a bit easier to read and with added sections), though I speak freehand and sometimes with venom, so it’s not the easiest transcript to scan as it misses that tone.

—————————-

The Chair opened by asking me what I thought of the announcement a few days before, that the student loan repayment threshold was to be increased to £25,000 u-turning the prior decision to freeze it (read why the student loan repayment U-turn is so important).

I think as somebody who has called the Government liars, backtracking, sold out a generation of students on behalf of freezing the threshold, hired lawyers to investigate trying to overturn it you could say I’m a little bit pleased at the U-turn this week.

So, yeah, absolutely the right move, important to say that I am not opposed to cutting interest rates at all. I just think if you’ve got a block of money the first place to put it is in increasing the repayment threshold. Cutting interest rates, increasing maintenance loans are very important too. But if you’ve got one block of money, start with increasing the threshold, that retrospective change was bad, but I’ll come on to that formally in a second.

First, I’d like to frame exactly what I’m going to talk about today.

Today’s debate is about how we reshape the current system

Clearly, the landscape in student finance has changed, the Labour Party are talking about no tuition fees, so they are saying the cost of their education should be met through general taxation – a perfectly valid and honest theory and philosophy.

But we are here at the Conservative Party Conference and rather than going through that bigger debate, which frankly is not going to wash with the Minister. So I want to be practical, if we accept that the individual is going to have to contribute to the cost of their higher education, is the structure of the way we do that right now correct or not? And that is what I am going to be talking about, but don’t take that as a reading that I discount the Labour view.

Marketisation – fail

The idea that each university is going to be able to charge different fees, that gives the individual a choice of how much they want to pay for their education, has been a robust and absolute unmitigated failure.

Almost every institution charges the same amount. It hasn’t worked, it should be scrapped. And it is rather ironic that one of the prime reasons it is a failure, is because it should have been a failure.

The way we have set up the repayment of student finance which says you repay 9% of everything above a threshold, currently £21,000 (but going up to £25,000) for 30 years before it wipes means for the vast majority of graduates higher tuition fees won’t cost them much more.

Only higher earning graduates would repay more on a £9,000 course than a £6,000 course (the original range) once you incorporate the maintenance loan. So, my advice from day one to students was to choose the right course and ignore the tuition fees, because you will only have to repay more if you earn a shed load of money once you leave – in which case chose the right course to hope that happens.

So it would be counter logical for marketisation to have worked in any way. So I think we really need think about how that one is affected and I think part of the problem of that I am going to come onto later is the naming of the way that we do the system. Now let’s move on to that retrospective change.

Retrospective Change: Lack of faith isn’t fixed by a U-turn

Note this refers to the Governements freezing of the student loan repayment threshold at £21,000. It was supposed to go up with average earnings from 2017. 

This was disastrous, and the fact there has been a u-turn hasn’t stopped the disaster. The disaster is very plain.

When a student and their parents, grandparents make the decision to go to university they are weighing in many factors. We hope they are looking at the finance. It is over a very long period. And what they want to know is what I am signing up to is what I will get.

In the past we had never seen a substantial retrospective change to the terms and conditions of going to university. We got it for 2012 starters. The breach of the very loud promise made by David Willets – and I have letters written by David Willets to parents that say from 2017 the threshold will go up, with no caveats, no mention of terms and conditions.

There is no commercial company who has a loan based system who would have been allowed to make that change, even though it wasn’t in the small print when the FCA regulates loans. It says your core marketing terms must be honoured even if they’re not in the small print, same with mortgages, go check it out – we’ve had this before. They would not have been allowed to do that. The Government have done it.

That breach of promise does two things. First of all, it has knocked the faith of students in the student loan system we have. How can you trust it when there was a change to the terms?  “I signed a contract and you have unilaterally changed the terms – that was wrong.”

The second thing, it has knocked the faith of students in the entire political system because the political classes, and lets be straight as we are sitting here, the conservative political classes, primarily, lied to them and misled them. And while the u-turn is welcome in practical terms, the shaking in the faith has not been fixed.

As someone who put myself out there because I believe my own political view should be secondary to making sure there isn’t one young person in this country who is put off going to university for the wrong financial reasons. The biggest questions I get is what if they change the rules. And that retrospective hike has knocked that forever and that hasn’t fixed it.

We have to ensure that every student knows what the terms and conditions are when they start and there wouldn’t be any retrospective changes. This is crucially important and should be locked into statute or at the very least if we are going to have variable rates and conditions within the student loan that need to be overtly declared and transparent.

For example you could say, “We will never change the 30 year limit. That is locked into statute. We may change your interest rate. We may change your repayment threshold.”  Not in the small print. If we are going to have to explain it, let’s be upfront.

One of the misunderstandings out there this year is that the Government has increased the interest rate. No, the interest rate is unchanged, the rate of inflation changed, and the interest rate is based on the rate of inflation. I’ve been out there defending on that, because it is unfair to accuse the Government of changing interest rates.

You can have terms that are changeable but you must declare them and be open and transparent about them. That has been breached and as always when you breach a rule, putting it right a year and a half later doesn’t put you back to where you were. Faith has gone.

It is no longer true that there’s no need to pay upfront to go to university

I will be publishing a further blog on this next week

This isn’t about tuition fees. This is about the most import and biggest practical problem that students face at university. Affording to live.

[Pause for a cheer, including from the President of the National Union of Students]

Quite simply, we have increased the means testing. We have mislead parents. On my roadshows, parents come up to me and say my kids are given £5,000 and their hall fees are £6,000 why don’t they get more? And I say to them, how much do you earn and they tell me £50,000 and I say you do realise that the full loan they would have got is, let’s say £9,000 and there is a parental contribution of £4,000 and they say, no.

There is an official parental contribution on the maintenance loan.  I wrote to the Minister, he will remember it, asking that in the loan letter, instead of telling parents “your child’s loan is £5,000”, it is changed to say “the full loan for your child is £9,000 because of means testing your child will only receive £5,000 therefore, there is a parental contribution of £4,000 to be had”. Though I would accept “there is an extra £4,000 gap that you need to make up”. That level of transparency is crucial.

It isn’t that the loan isn’t big enough for those parents, it’s that they have been means tested and don’t get the full loan but we hide it and it is somewhere like page 32 in the small print of the student loan literature. It is absolutely unfair and what we are doing now is knocking the faith of people in this system and meaning students cannot afford to go to university because the truth is your parents will need to give you money, they will need to save up and if you’ve got two kids at university which over 60% of parents have two kids within a 4 year gap.

Two kids at university at the same time, even though you are having to contribute £5,000 to your first kid they only reduce the residual income by £1,130 in other words, if you’ve got triplets you’re really screwed because it’s not taken into account. So, what we have here is a real practical problem for middle class parents. Lower income parents get the full loan.

Middle class parents struggling to find the money to send their kids to university and their children don’t have the cash, nobody tells them about this and their children have no way of forcing them to give them the money.  The biggest problem with student loans if we keep the current system is that the loans aren’t big enough, not that they are too big.

The language of debt is psychologically damaging – it should not be called a debt

This is all about changing the name to a graduate contribution system see my student loans aren’t a debt blog for more info.

For over 20 years we have educated our youth into what we call a debt and we have never educated them about debt properly. Even though financial education is now on the national curriculum – I campaigned for it – it is a pyrrhic victory, we’ve not put any resources into it. But secondly what we’ve done is we’ve inured an entire generation into borrowing, because if we say you’ve got to get a debt to go to university then they go on and get their credit cards and their payday loans, it has been tremendously damaging.

The language of debt is misleading. I can’t explain the system, because everyone says, I am going to have this debt hanging over me that I am going to have to repay. No, this is a contribution system in proportion to your financial success after university. By calling it a debt it makes it more difficult to explain. That is why people call to have the interest rate cut rather than raising the repayment threshold. They don’t understand it. If you change the name it will be closer.

So my big ask, if you want to fix this, you are going to stick with this system then get rid of the name of debt. Get rid of the word interest, call it an uprating. This in every other country is called a graduate contribution system. That’s effectively a graduate tax, but technically you can’t call it that because you can’t hypothecate it and you can’t tax people abroad.

Wrapping up (at speed due to time constraint on speakers)

The system is a graduate contribution system and should be called so, but don’t do that in isolation. Give people a guarantee of what can change and what can’t change.

You want to make changes, fair enough. That’s politician’s remit, but be really up front for example – it will be wiped after 30 years, the interest will be related to inflation but we might change it exactly the proportion it relates to inflation. You will repay 9% above the set threshold but we may change the threshold.

Call it a contribution system, lock it in, give people respect so they know exactly what they’ll sign up to. People might understand it better, might respect it better and might start to understand your argument a little bit better about it being shared between the individual and the tax payer. Right now the system is broken cos it aint a loan, and we call it one. 

If you managed to read through all of this, well done, its not easy in the transcript form. After that, then as well as the Ministers statement there was 40 minutes of often robust Q&A and debate, hopefully it did some good. 

 

Why cutting the student loan interest rate will only help richer graduates…

This weekend the papers have been mooting that Theresa May’s Government is looking to cut the English and Welsh student loan interest rate – now at a 6.1% headline rate for those who began uni in or after 2012 – in order to appeal to the youth vote.

I find this frustrating. Not because I object; I’ve always believed on principle that student loan interest shouldn’t be higher than inflation – charging students for their education is one thing, charging them for the financing of their education is a step too far.

Yet if the Exchequer has limited resources to finally shell out something to relieve student loan pressures, cutting the interest rate is far from a priority – in fact, it’s poorly targeted.

Student loan interest rates change every September, based on the RPI rate of inflation the prior March. For this 2017/18 academic year, the rates are as follows:

– While studying: Interest is charged at RPI + 3% (= 6.1% for this academic year)
– From the April after leaving: Then the rate is RPI (3.1%) for those earning under £21,000 and RPI + 3% (6.1%) for those earning over £41,000. Those in between are charged on a sliding scale.

Do note I write students are CHARGED interest, not students PAY it.

That’s because student loan repayments solely depend on what you earn, not what you owe.

Graduates repay 9% of everything earned above £21,000 for the shorter of 30 years from the April after they graduate, or until they clear what they borrow (see my five things every student and parent should know blog).

So if someone earns, for easy maths, £31,000 (ie, £10,000 above the threshold), they repay £900 a year, regardless of whether they owe £10,000 or even if they (absurdly) owed £1,000,000. The same is true of the interest rate: at £31,000 earnings, people repay £900 a year regardless of whether the interest is 3.1% or 500%.

In other words, what you borrow and the interest rate have no impact on annual repayments. Instead, all it changes is whether or not you’d clear the loan plus interest within the 30 years.

Who would cutting the interest rate would actually help.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, it’s currently likely only the highest earning 23% of graduates will clear their debt within the 30 years.

So they would definitely save money from an interest rate cut (as would some who earn a little less than them as they’d now join the club of those who’d ‘clear within the 30 years’.)

Yet those who earn less will feel no change whatsoever from a lower interest rate. In other words, cutting the interest rate ONLY HELPS THE HIGHEST EARNING GRADUATES. Lower/middle-earning graduates are unlikely to gain as they won’t clear much more than their actual borrowing – never mind the interest – within the 30 years.

In fact, for a good percentage of lower-earning graduates, student loans are interest-free (full info on this in my Will you really pay 6.1% interest? guide).

The real horror is the freezing of the repayment threshold.

Contrast that to the Government’s real student loan horror this year – the April 2017 freezing of the repayment threshold at £21,000 until at least 2021 – when it was supposed to rise with average earnings.

All students earning over the threshold will repay more each year than they would’ve done – a real hit especially for lower and middle-earning graduates. And in the long-run that hurts almost every graduate EXCEPT higher earners (see why high earners gain).

The problem here is one of psychology. The interest rate seems scary so we hear large cries – even though in practice it doesn’t affect most. Freezing the repayment threshold is complex so we hear little – but it affects millions. Reversing that is a far greater priority for graduates.

To make policy just to appease fundamental misunderstandings is wrong. The sooner student loans are renamed a graduate contribution system, the sooner we can start to be rational and protect young people who need help, rather than illogically prioritising helping those who don’t.

So to summarise, cutting interest rates – while not bad – should be far from top of the priority tree.

For graduates, unfreezing the repayment threshold is a priority. For current students, interest rates have no practical impact – what does is the fact that many don’t have enough money to live off.

The priority there should be money to give bigger, fairer loans for living and to clear up the poorly operating hidden parental contribution system.

PS: I originally bashed out a slightly shorter version than this on social media over the weekend, in case you think you’ve seen it before.

Related past blogs: 

Is your student loan being sold? The answers we must get from Government

Scrapping of student grants – what it means & how bad is it?

Labour’s plan to cut tuition fees to £6,000 is financially illiterate

Panicked about interest on your student loan statement? For many, it’s nonsense!

Viral letter about mis-sold student loans due to retrospective interest hikes is well meaning but wrong