Government whitepaper makes provision for Shariah-compliant student loans
Friday, May 20th, 2016
The government, this month, published a whitepaper in which provision for making available Sharia-compliant student loans is outlined. This has been an area of great concern for Muslim students and their families since the introduction of university tuition fees under the Labour government nearly fifteen years ago. Dealing in interest, whether giving or receiving, is deemed a major sin in the Shariah, preventing many Muslim students from perusing higher education.
On page 41, the whitepaper states:
“We will introduce an alternative student finance offer to support the participation of students who feel unable to take on interest-bearing loans for religious reasons, particularly some Muslim students.”
The paper further states:
“The 2014 consultation demonstrated the real need for a new option for students who feel unable to use interest-bearing loans. Support for the proposed model of alternative student finance came from the education sector and wider religious groups, alongside Muslim students. This support was re-affirmed in response to last year’s Green Paper.
“Alternative student finance should allow those who might otherwise have been deterred from or restricted in their participation to benefit, alongside their peers, from higher education. It has the potential to support participation from Muslim students and therefore to help meet the Prime Minister’s clear commitment to increasing the number of BME students going to university.”
MuslimView commends this positive step in assisting those who wish to maintain the principles of their faith whilst achieving and fulfilling their educational goals.
The original consultation paper from 2014 can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/sharia-compliant-student-finance
The recently published white paper in which the provision is laid out is titled “Success as a Knowledge Economy: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility & Student Choice”
Martin Lewis, creator of website http://www.moneysavingexpert.com, writing on his blog last year, said that an alternative system was needed – “A Generation of Muslims not able to go to university”. Money Saving Expert looks at how Shariah complaint student loans will work compared to traditional student loans.
What are white papers?
White papers are policy documents produced by the Government that set out their proposals for future legislation. White Papers are often published as Command Papers and may include a draft version of a Bill that is being planned. This provides a basis for further consultation and discussion with interested or affected groups and allows final changes to be made before a Bill is formally presented to Parliament.