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'At 18 I didn't understand implications of my student loan' - 2 years after graduating interest totals £4,000

Calls for more financial education

There are calls for young people to receive more financial education, especially with the high levels of debt some students owe when leaving university - having taken out loans to pay for their £9,000 a year tuition fees.

Nearly half of all young people - now go on to higher education. If Labour or the Greens win the election next month university tuition fees of more than £9,000 will be scrapped.

Other parties propose to restore maintenance grants, waive repayments for teachers who stay in the profession or even just abolish tuition fees for certain subjects. However the reality is that tens of thousands of young people currently leave University with huge debts, of typically more than forty thousand pounds.

Claims that interest on student loans "scandalous"

Interest charges can mean the debt is higher than expected

Student loans have been in the news headlines after the Labour Party released more details of its plans to scrap university tuition fees starting from September 2017, should the party win the General Election in June.

Meanwhile an ITV Meridian investigation reveals that the sum of debt owed by students could be a lot higher than they initially think - because of interest charges which start from the day the loan begins.

This is the first of two special reports from our Social Affairs Correspondent Christine Alsford.

The report contain interviews with: Estelle Clarke, campaigner and expert; Tom Woolf, Founder of EdAid; Jessie Hamil-Stewart, a first year student; and David Tyler, a Financial Advisor. There is also footage from a Student Loan information film.


Beekeepers try to take the sting out of falling numbers of vital wildlife

Few creatures are more vital to our survival than bees - pollinating the world's fruit and vegetable crops.

Yet in recent years their numbers have fallen alarmingly which makes a traditional market that takes place every year in Sussex all the more important.

Andy Dickenson reports and speaks to beekeepers Jonathan Cootae and Brian Hopper, as well as president of Sussex Beekeepers Association, Amanda Millar.

Schools stage demonstrations over funding cuts

Dozens of schools in Brighton and Hove have been staging demonstrations against cuts in government funding.

Campaigners joined teachers to unfurl banners, detailing the money they say they'll lose under a new system of school budgets.

Protesters claim that each school could be almost £200,000 worse off . That's nearly £500 per pupil. They're also concerned there will be bigger classes and fewer staff.

That's disputed by the Government. They say they're putting record amounts of cash into education. Malcolm Shaw reports.

GCSE students face memory tests for new exams

Half a million students will sit tougher, reformed GCSEs in English and Maths this year. Exams for 16-year-olds start next week and are supposed to reflect a much more rigorous and demanding curriculum. Some say they will reflect rising standards. But many headteachers say the new exams have been introduced too quickly and involve too much rote learning or memorisation. So is it change for the better or worse? Our social affairs correspondent Christine Alsford reports.

Interviewees: Joe Were, English teacher; Simon Graham, Headteacher; Chris McGovern, Campaign for Real Education; Stuart Ramsey, Assistant Headteacher; Helen Jones, Deputy Headteacher.

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