All quiet on the Eastern front: Cash concern for some following loan freeze

Bulgaria embassyBulgarian and Romanian students fear losing their student loans after the government forced a nationwide freeze on students from Bulgaria and Romania claiming.

A Student Loans Company (SLC) investigation has led to thousands of students from Romania and Bulgaria being stripped of vital loans and maintenance grants.

Some have even been told to start repaying money because Student Finance England is under the impression that they have quit their course.

Although York’s Romanian Society has said that no Romanian students at the University are believed to be affected, Vision has learned that some Bulgarian students fear losing cash following the freeze.

“I, personally, am not (yet) affected by this; I hope I will also not be,” Viktoria Dimitrova, a second-year Politics with International Relations student said.

“When I was applying, me and most people I know applied through an agency which has made a list of good universities for the preferred degree, so that might be one reason why there is ‘concentration’… Moreover, me, and all Bulgarians, have come to this country to receive what we possibly can’t in our own: proper education and possibilities for a better future.”

Prospective students have also come forward to slam the government’s move, claiming that it is “outrageous”, “discriminatory” and has put them off applying to York.

One anonymous prospective student said: “I find this absolutely outrageous and, quite frankly, I am fed up by the abnormal use of the unfair and negative rhetoric used so far.”

“Why is this happening only to Romanians and Bulgarians you may ask? I will tell you why! The single reason why some university loans for students from these two countries were frozen was only based on the grounds of their nationality. We live in the 21st century for crying out loud!”

“These actions and policies implemented by the British government are more than ridiculous and can only be defined as discriminatory!”

The move comes in response to a surge in SLC claimants from those two countries coming to study at British institutions.

A source told the Daily Telegraph that only a quarter of Romanian and Bulgarian students had confirmed their right to three year residency in the UK – a test deemed critical to be able
to claim.

The SLC has said it will not provide funding for Bulgarian and Romanian students until they have proved their right
to stay.

But NUS International Officer Daniel Stevens slammed the government for failing to provide enough communication to students affected by the move.

He told The Independent: “The lack of communication from the government to affected students is unacceptable. This situation is disrupting people’s lives and has inevitably led to much confusion. The government needs to take this situation seriously.”

All concerned students are encouraged to speak to university support services.