Readers' reactions

March 5, 1999

Recently in The THES..Linda McGowan agued that government policy is deterring mature student from going to university

Ian Brown, Undergraduate, University of Sheffield

I am a first-year undergraduate at the University of Sheffield, in my thirties, married with three kids and a mortgage. It is not easy, my wife is having to work long hours and I am having to work long hours in part-time jobs to help keep us going. All this is detrimental to study.

Last year I completed an access course, along with many other mature students. While inevitably many students drop out of that kind of course, what was interesting was how many completed it and yet decided not to take up the unviersity places they were offered.

Most cited financial concerns as the reason. In my experience it was those from working-class backgrounds who were more likely to pull out.

My worry is about what will happen when I complete my course. If I do get a job I will have to start paying back my student loan as soon as I start earning above Pounds 10,000 a year. While a young, free and single student may be able to do this, with the responsibilities I have it will put us in severe hardship.

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