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I went through a really difficult period of time’

I went through a really difficult period of time’

I went through a really difficult period of time’

The Muslim Census found that four in five of muslim students who do take out the student loan feel they have compromised their faith. She’s regretting it a lot. It’s affected her mental health, Hana tells me.

Hana didn’t immediately abandon the idea of university. She started doing an apprenticeship at a nursery, supplementing her income with 15 hours of work at Pri of going to uni and was committed to saving the money until it was possible. Reflecting on this period of her life, she says: I think it was very childish of me to think I could save over ?27k in such a short amount of time.

Hana began a Diploma Level four and five in education, the equivalent to two years at university. Now, she’s been able to get onto her third year and is working alongside her education to fund it.

Umayr also looked at alternatives to university education, eventually earning a degree apprenticeship in software engineering with BT. The apprenticeship is sponsored and involves Umayr working alongside his studies. I’ve found it really enjoyable working in the technology industry for a big company like payday loans Iowa BT, he tells me. I was one of the fortunate ones.

While Hana and Umayr sought different paths, Asha refused to let go of her dream to go to medical school. Encouraged by David Cameron’s commitment to changing the tuition fee system, Asha got into Exeter University in 2014, deferring her place for two years.

When she began medical school, there was still no alternative student finance, so Asha started working night shifts as a carer (36 hours a week) on top of her full-time medical degree. Luckily, a couple months into her first year, she won a ?5k scholarship. But she still had to work on the side to fund her studies. It was really tough, but I thought to myself, if I just get through this year then next year the government will have made it available, Asha tells me.

The uncertainty continued into her second year, but fortunately a further ?8k of her fees were waived. Again, this took the pressure off, but Asha knew it was a short term fix. She kept working and working, the stress and exhaustion inevitably taking its toll on her. Asha didn’t have time to go home and see her family and felt stuck in a cycle of staying up for days or being unable to get out of bed at all.

I went through a really difficult period of time, she said. I avoided people in general. I didn’t hang out with people because I didn’t have the energy or the time. And I’d feel really guilty about that too.

A review into student finance is due to be published later this month. Hana, Umayr and Asha are hopeful for change

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Asha used to believe that if you worked hard, you’re entitled to an education. She’s since changed her mind. I realised it doesn’t matter how hard you work, you’re not entitled. You have to make peace with that and try and do as much as you can, she says.

One of Hana’s friends took a loan out to do a PGCE qualification

After her second year, she took some time out, obtained another scholarship for her fourth year, and is currently on another year off before her final year. But someone as hardworking as Asha never really takes time off. She’s spent her free time campaigning for changes to the student loan system and is starting to see some progress being made, eight years after David Cameron promised change.

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