Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Student Loan Directors Quit

The heads of customer services (Martin Herbert) and information & communication technology (Wallace Gray) at the Student Loans Company (SLC) have resigned.

In a report published at the start of this month it was revealed that only 5% of calls to the company were answered at the peak of the delays in payments earlier this term. Some of the board members of the SLC were apparently only finding out the extent of the issues that students were facing due to the SLC's failures through news reports or the Facebook Groups set up by students facing financial difficulties when their loan payments were not forthcoming.

Earlier this month, before the report was published, Liberal Youth Scotland (LYS) staged a protest outside the offices of the SLC in Glasgow. They called on Ralph Seymour-Jackson, Chief Executive of the SLC and Michael Hipkins, Director of Student Finance strategy for the government. It appears that the two people whose departments are at the heart of the fiasco of student finances these past three months have fallen on their swords, whereas the overseers who should have taken action sooner to step in to correct these issues are to escape scot-free and to oversee the next appointees in these positions.

It is small matter as many students have had to drop out of University. Either because of a direct effect of not getting their student loan in time at the start of term, or later on when having still failed to recieve it, thier University hardship fund was already used up in paying for others before them to cover the absence.

The apology from the deputy chief executive doesn't even go far enough. He promises:

"We are determined to do whatever it takes to ensure processing and payments are faster next year, so that we can deliver the service that students and their parents have every right to expect."

Going faster is not much of a promise considering the effects of this year. Students deserve a promise for next year that the SLC will ensure that processing and payments are made ON TIME next year, not merely faster. They have 9 months to be able to ensure that, six of which will be checking the errors in the current system and three of which will then be the processing of the actual requests and claims that are required. Anything less after this year will not be acceptable to anyone


  1. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



  2. Thanks for the nice comments :)

    Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah or whatever.