Re: @Dan 55
The SLC needs to go all together.
In it's place I would propose the following.
(1) Scrap tuition fees. Payments to be made from central government funds,
(2) Allow students to claim benefits, including housing benefits, at age 18-21, something Osborne scrapped. Benefits should be means tested, as currently, for those students who work. With the requirement he introduced for 18-21 year olds to enter apprenticeship, employment, education or training, there isn't any more work involved in tracking this age group anyway.
(3) Introduce a blanket 'graduate tax' of 2% on the standard band, 3% on the higher rate and 5% on the top rate, the modified PAYE tax code being verifiable by checking against the CV / person spec of the job, and through a register of graduates against their NI number. I've run the calculations based on figures from the National Audit Office and at that rate, given the pay enhancement and career progress of graduates, this scheme would return 1.5 times as much to the treasury as the SLC does as well as the consummate savings of lower levels of administration.
(4) Persons not graduating would be required to repay their tuition fees only by way of setting an HMRC tax debt.
The difference between this and the old (pre-1988) system of student grants was that under the old scheme the maintenance grant was means tested against the parent's wealth and that process was carried out by the local authority of the home address of the student. The post-2012 system does means test the parents for the living expenses, and that is carried out by a centralised organisation. The system I propose would have no need to means test the parents, but any income by way of a gift or voluntary payment would have to be declared if it amounts to more than a quarter of the Universal Credit or Job Seekres entitlement for ALL claimants of benefits, and as usual any savings amounting over £6,000 would have to be declared. There's the question of what to do about those who go overseas, or EU students returning to their home country, but e.g. the US imposes income tax on overseas earnings, and if we remain with EU ties, these could also include some sort of reciprocal tax or repayment arrangement.
Of course, there's some fine tuning on this, but the whole idea of effectively a not-for-profit bank set up by government to manage something which, at the end of the day, only arises from a capitalistic philosophy no more valid than any other theory of government and society, gives me the heebie-jeebies.