May. 25th, 2013
09:31 am - Are Student Loans Really a Tax?
I've been doing a few back-of-envelope calculations, and they don't make pretty reading. As maths and I have an uneasy relationship, I'm happy to have my figures and assumptions corrected - I only hope they're wrong.
Student fees at most English universities are £9,000 per annum. For a three-year degree, that adds up to £27,000.
For students starting now, the interest rate is 3.5% plus RPI. RPI varies a good deal, but if we look at it over the long term I think it's reasonable to take 3% as an average figure. So, for back-of-envelope purposes, the loan is charged at 6.5% compound interest.
Of course, the interest begins to accrue from the moment the first loan is taken out at the beginning of the first year of college, so by the time the three-year degree is finished, we can expect almost £2,000 worth of interest to be added to the loans themselves, making a total of £29,000.
This is a best case scenario, in which the student's living and accommodation costs are fully-funded by parents, bar work, etc. In reality, all but a very few students will need to supplement the fees loans with other loans to cover these costs. For most students, these extra loans will amount to many thousands of pounds, but to make the maths simpler let's say that our student has waalthy, generous parents and a fearsome taste for part-time work, and gets away with borrowing just £1,000. Total debt at the time of leaving uni with that precious 2.1? £30,000.
People who defend this system often justify it by pointing out that the money doesn't have to be paid back at once, but only when a graduate's income exceeds a certain amount (currently £21,000). After that, you pay 9% of your income over that sum. They don't often mention that interest will be mounting up throughout that period.
In the current climate I think it's reasonable to expect our student to take a couple of years to find a job that pays over £21,000. By that time the interest on the £30,000 will have bumped the amount up to £34,000. In other words, there will be around £2,000 per year (and rising) to pay in interest alone. How much more than £21,000 will our graduate need to earn just to service the interest - i.e. to stop the amount they owe from rising?
Well, £2000 is 9% of (about) £22,220. So, that's the amount above the threshold they will need to earn to keep up with the interest on their loan: requiring an actual salary of £43,220p.a. But of course, they won't earn that much immediately (quite possibly they'll never earn that much - the average salary in the UK is well under £30,000). To keep it optimistic, let's stay that our whizz-kid takes just another two years to get to this break-even point. By this time of course it is no longer the break-even point because meanwhile the loan has climbed to £38,000 and they'll actually need to be earning more like £46,000 to start paying it off. Never mind, let's be implausibly generous and give them a salary of £46,000 in their mid-twenties.
So, within four years of uni our lucky graduate is earning £46,000 (it took me till my late forties to earn that much) and is ready to start paying off the loan rather than just servicing the interest payments. Let's give them a successful career. Promotions follow, and soon they're earning £56,000. On that salary, they will be paying over £3,000 per year towards their loan, though only £900 of that will go towards paying off the capital (at least at first - the portion going on interest will of course decrease over time). At that rate, the loan would be paid off in another 23 years - around half a working lifetime.
That, of course, is pretty much the best conceivable case - a case in which virtually no loans for accommodation or living expenses are incurred during college, and in which a secure, very well paid job is obtained within a short time after graduation. For the vast majority of students, neither circumstance will apply. As far as I can see, anyone who is not in the top 10% of earners (i.e. more than £50,000p.a.) has effectively no chance of ever paying off their loan, at least through the government's preferred method of taking it out of earnings. They've very little chance of even servicing the interest on the debt. For them, the graduate loan scheme is actually a lifetime extra 9% income tax.
It's not actually a graduate tax, of course, because graduates like me (and the ones who introduced the scheme) don't have to pay it. It's really a punitive tax on the young.
May. 24th, 2013
08:39 pm - Another Readaloud Chapter!
Wow, after a loooong hiatus, we have another new Readaloud chapter! Go--right now--and listen to Mariah reading Chapter 6 from The Thief.
In this chapter, our intrepid travelers enter the Sea of Olives, poor Sophos gets whacked while sparring with Ambiades (who is jealous over a cloak), Gen steals a comb and receives a well-deserved punch, and the Magus tells the story of Eugenides and the Sky God's thunderbolts. Gen, meanwhile, is happy with his gutter slang and half-swallowed words, bless his deceitful little heart. Whew, Mariah hangs in there with a long chapter and reads with feeling and verve.
You must be a member of the community to access the Readaloud post. Take a look at the post if you'd like to claim a chapter for your own. Clever Mariah also found this awesome site that allows you to record straight from your computer with no special equipment--you don't even have to set up an account. It's super easy! vocaroo.com
07:25 pm - Best Birthday Stash Ever
My birthday was a few weeks ago, but my sister told me my present from her was coming late because she didn't want to mail it.She was sending it with my parents. Well, they arrived with it today and it is the best present ever. You can see pics here. My nerdy bookish heart is rejoicing.
04:11 pm - Wanna hang out in the Big Apple?
I’m heading down to New York in a few weeks to meet up with my editors, and I’d love to see some of the NYC area bloggers and other bookish folks while I’m there. It’s too short notice to arrange an official event, but I thought maybe we could all get together at a casual eating/drinking spot and just hang out? I will still bring swag, and will be happy to sign books of mine if you bring them along.
I’m free in the evening of Thursday June 13th. NYC book folks, let me know if you want to join me (and if you have any suggestions for good locations)!
Originally published at another world, not quite ours - Megan Crewe's blog. You can comment here or there.
Spoilery for the entire series - seriously. And you really don't want to get spoiled for this if there's any chance whatsoever that you might read it.
I remembered something about book six (The Broken Fortress) and re-read it, and...
...how the hell did Hale do that? I don't think I've ever come across this particular use of foreshadowing before, or at least not the way she did it.
( Read more...Collapse )
Crossposted to http://rachelmanija.dreamwidth.org/1109
03:13 pm - Kinetic abstract
21/52 for the group T189 alphabet challenge
The set theme was: K is for Kinetic
This shot was taken by tossing my mobile phone in a darkened room. To prevent damage, I ensured that it would fall on the bed, which was covered with a soft blanket.
I'd quite like to try this again with some coloured lights in order to get a more colourful image.
Locations and times - what is it in me that meets them all, whenever and wherever, and makes me at home?
Forms, colors, densities, odors — what is it in me that corresponds with them?
- Walt Whitman
View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.
View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.
Learn more about Poetry Friday.
09:30 am - To BEA in New York!
I’ve never been one for big cities. In some ways, I think of it as an extension of my introversion. Big cities = too many people, too much going on, and I get twitchy just thinking about it.
But I’ve watched my fellow authors do the occasional New York trip to visit with editors and agents, and it’s been strongly advised by a number of folks that I do the same, especially with the relative success of Libriomancer.
So when I received an invitation to moderate the Adult Book Bloggers Panel at Book Expo of America in New York, I was happy to say yes. I’m even happier now that I’ve been chatting with my panelists, including Sarah from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books — the woman responsible for making me do this — along with Mandi from Smexy Books and Rebecca from The Book Lady’s Blog.
My BEA schedule, excluding meetings and such, looks like so:
- 5/29, 11:15 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. — Book Blogging Panel.
- 5/31, 3:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. — Signing at the SFWA table.
- 6/1, 12 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. — “Meet the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America,” with myself, Jeri Smith-Ready, and Leanna Renee Hieber.
I am both excited and a bit intimidated. I’ve been to NYC once in my life, helping a friend move, and that was more than a decade ago. On the other hand, I’ll be spending time with a lot of great people, and attending an event devoted to the awesomeness of books. How can you not love that?
So blogging will be light to nonexistent next week. This will be my first time at BEA, and my second time in NYC (the first was more than a decade ago, helping a friend move, and I didn’t see that much of the city). My plan is to try to have fun, hopefully collect some books, and shamelessly gawk at everything.
Wish me luck, and if you’re going to be at BEA, then I hope to see you there!
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
09:07 am - At the food van
Actually, it's not a free-standing van, it's a trailer, towed behind another vehicle, and it has a generator at the front to power the grill, the refrigerator, the water in the sink, etc.
Paris let me take photos of it all. Here she is at the window, talking on her cell to a customer.
And here is the same view from inside! It's a whole little world in there, a tiny, efficient kitchen.
Here's the menu, in case you're wondering what a person might be ordering.
( more peeks insideCollapse )
Thank you, Paris! And here's hoping for a brisk business all summer!
Our perceptions of the latter part of the twentieth century however have been distorted by Robert Leeson’s comments in“The Spirit of What Age,?’The interpretation of History from a Radical Standpoint”, in Children’s Literature in Education (1976) he writes that he sampled around two dozen books (check).
I find that fourteen lean towards the Royalist side, some horizontally; five are in the increasingly familiar area of ‘conflict of loyalties’, and the other four we may be said to do justice to the Parliamentary side. (176)
Because Leeson does not give his breakdown I cannot accuse him of an outright distortion but I suspect him of including earlier texts such as Children of the New Forest, which was adapted for television in 1955, 1964, and 1977 and later in a rather distorted version in 1998, but by my figures the post war result is as follows:
(I have not included the 40s but honours are even to Trease and Lane).
1970 (inc Leeson)
One of the “neutral” titles is Ronald Welch’s For the King (1969) which, if not read carefully, for all its ambivalences and disdain of the Royalists, might be classified otherwise, but it is clear that by the 1970s the trend has swung solidly towards Parliament or to neutral, and if we discount Sally Gardiner’s I, Coriander (date?) which is a fantasy and not particularly interested in historical veracity, it has stayed that way.
This entry was originally posted at http://treaseproject.dreamwidth.org/4823.h
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