Muslim students urged the federal government to keep its promise to provide interest-free, Islam-compliant student loans, as it revealed that nearly 100,000 students had dropped out or self-funded their studies as a result of lack of funding. alternatives.
A coalition of MP Stephen Timms, Lord John Sharkey and various charities and Muslim organizations – including Muslim Census, National Zakat Foundation and Islamic Finance Guru – called on the pm to supply alternative funding to students by September 2022.
In Islam, paying interest – or “riba” in Arabic – on loans is considered ineligible, making it hard for many British Muslims to pursue advanced schooling without regard for their faith.
Currently, student education loans from 2012 are susceptible to rates of interest determined by inflation and income.
An interim study published by Muslim Census last week found that nearly 10,000 Muslim students per year haven't attended university or have self-funded their studies since 2012, due to the lack of Alternative Student Finance (ASF).
Among those students is Annesa Mariyam, who threw in the towel an interest-bearing loan in 2022 and has struggled considerably since. She said The independent: “I could not betray my faith and my beliefs – the same beliefs of a large population in England – and remove the eye rate loan. I couldn't go to college.
“I must have suffered the effects of being employed as an unqualified teacher within an underfunded private school, being paid considerably less because I was unqualified, but I expected her to complete exactly the same. work and have the same knowledge of the subject.
“Fortunately, I've now found a method to enter the tech industry with self-study and the help of an apprenticeship.”
Other students, like Hana Yousuf, also chose not to visit college due to rate of interest loans. She said: “I dropped out of sixth since i know I could not get a student loan, so I didn't see the point in doing my A-Levels.
She then undertook an apprenticeship and has since completed levels 4 and 5 of her education and training diploma, that is equal to her third and fourth year of school. But, on her this past year of university, she finances it herself.
“I've saved my money in the last 4 years to help purchase my final year of college, but I'll continually be working alongside my studies to support myself and be able to purchase the rest of my gap year.
Ms Yousuf wanted to study psychology first and said, “If I'd had the option, I probably would have selected another field, however i had to pick the cheapest option.”
Amina Madaci is currently going for a year off to give herself time to decide if you should take out financing. She said: “I have kept my options open, but if the government doesn't introduce interest free loans it puts me in a strange financial situation because it means I'll need to balance a large amount of work with education. “
In a 2013 speech then Pm David Cameron said: “Never again should a Muslim in Britain feel unable to visit college because he cannot get it. an education loan simply because of their religion.
As an effect, a framework was created in 2022 by government officials and Islamic financial advisers, however the plans were unsuccessful.
In home of Commons, Mr. Timms said: “Eight years back the government made a resolve for introduce alternative student loans. Promise still not kept, preventing many Muslims from entering higher education
“The interest of Riba is forbidden in Islam, as it was in Christianity until the Dark ages. Some young Muslims postpone college until they have saved up to pay their tuition fees. Some, with heavy hearts, remove financing and feel bad forever. Others don't attend at all – this is the reality of young British Muslims today.
Universities Minister Michelle Donelan responded, “We will provide an update on alternative student funding as we conclude the post-18 education and funding review.”
This update is anticipated in November.
Sadiq Dorasat, co-founder of Muslim Census, said “it is clear this real question is very important to Muslims” as their survey received almost 40,000 responses when they would normally expect several thousand.
Regarding his hopes for the government's response, Mr Dorasat said: “First of, we would like there to become recognition from the impact from the delay weight loss than 100,000 individuals have been severely affected over the past nine years. last years.
“Second, ideally we want dates and plans for implementing an AAF so people can begin planning for their future. “
Ms Madaci, who hopes to study English Literature, said: “For others, where it isn't a problem on their behalf, it would definitely place them at an advantage over me when it comes to academic performance as well as basics like mental health and wellness. being.
“I really think having ASF is needed so many people and university attendance rates would thrive. I speak with respect to many, many others that I know who are and in a scenario much like mine.