NUS launches petition to ban payday lenders from universities

Payday lenders should not be able to advertise in colleges or universities, the National Union of Students (NUS) has claimed.

The body thinks these…

Payday lenders should not be able to advertise in colleges or universities, the National Union of Students (NUS) has claimed.

The body thinks these high-risk credit options do more harm than good and so learning centres are being urged to remove any mention of them on their grounds.

So far, three establishments – the University of Northampton, Northumbria University and Swansea University – have signed up to the NUS' campaign, with many more expected to follow suit as they do their best to offer students good financial advice. 

The catalyst for the movement was a damning report from the Office for Trading, which found the majority of payday loan websites contain misleading information and offer money to vulnerable people. 

Indeed, research by NUS discovered three per cent of students have taken out a high-risk loan to make ends meet, with this figure rising to six per cent when it comes to over 21s. 

University attendees are also three times more likely to turn to a payday loan if they are carers or a dependent adult, highlighting how this demographic finds it particularly hard to manage their finances while in third level education.  

NUS has launched a petition and is encouraging students who are worried about their university's stance on payday lenders to sign it.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said universities should be doing their utmost to protect students from "predatory payday lenders", as students could find their debts spiralling out of control if they use this option. 

"Citizens Advice found 64 per cent of loans come without any financial checks and three in four people go on to struggle to pay it back. The industry is in dire need of a transformation from feckless firms to a responsible short-term credit market," she added. 

Speaking to the Journal, Professor Andrew Wathey, vice-president of Northumbria University, stated his institution has thrown its backing behind the campaign because of the eye watering rates, which can leave "vulnerable borrowers in difficult".

By James Francis

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