Is a UK student loan considered debt

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.

Re: Is a UK student loan considered debt

Postby Tsetan » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:11 am

I would do that in a heartbeat, but student loans, as far as I know, are not discharged with bankruptcy. I is true that I am not obligated, just by having these student loans, to actively seek employment. Also, the feds insure the lender will be repaid in this program, thus I do not feel it would be stealing if I did not pay on them as a monk. Now the feds have to get the money somewhere, but frankly, I do not feel any moral issue, personally, with them repaying the lender. The feds do not mind using my money to pay to bomb people in foreign lands, thus I'm not sure I'd mind them paying my loan so I can cultivate compassion 24/7 as a monk. I'm just thinking out loud right now... All this stuff is very arguable of course.
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Re: Is a UK student loan considered debt

Postby Tsetan » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:36 am

On the other hand, one's poor use of funds does not justify theft... I also feel that as long as I am obeying the rules of this student loan program, I'm ok. There's nothing saying i cannot ordain and make no money...
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Re: Is a UK student loan considered debt

Postby Annapurna » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:15 pm

Tsetan wrote:I would do that in a heartbeat, but student loans, as far as I know, are not discharged with bankruptcy. I is true that I am not obligated, just by having these student loans, to actively seek employment. Also, the feds insure the lender will be repaid in this program, thus I do not feel it would be stealing if I did not pay on them as a monk. Now the feds have to get the money somewhere, but frankly, I do not feel any moral issue, personally, with them repaying the lender. The feds do not mind using my money to pay to bomb people in foreign lands, thus I'm not sure I'd mind them paying my loan so I can cultivate compassion 24/7 as a monk. I'm just thinking out loud right now... All this stuff is very arguable of course.


Yes it is.

The money came from some folks.

It's the anonymity of the "givers" that makes you feel wishi washi about returning the money.
You would feel quite differently if you knew you would owe it to your neighbor, and he had told you that you can pay him back once you start earning your own money.

Right?

If you had to tell your neighbor that you are not going to pay him back, this would be much harder to do than telling an institution:

You can do what you want, but to ME, it wouldn't feel right to accept any kind of support, where I am expected to pay it back once I am able to, and then to cop out and say ha ha, I am outta here.

I know that is a hard choice of words, but this is how it appears to me.

so I can cultivate compassion 24/7 as a monk


Cultivate compassion with the givers of your loan as a start.
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Re: Is a UK student loan considered debt

Postby Tsetan » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:03 pm

That's a fair critique. I would be surprised if I'm ever able to fully, or even partially repay the loan before 25 years passes however. I'm inclined to call the loan company and talk to them, give them my thoughts very upfront and see what they say. Paying it back is this difficult because of the interest, the total borrowed, and my income just cannot generate this kind of money, it is not realistic, especially in these times. I didn't know this when I took the loans. There's no desire to leave anyone high and dry.
I'm not willing to do anything at all suspect or quasi-ethical, so probably best I consult with the loan granter themselves, see what they tell me is ok and not ok.
I'm very interested in what others think here, this is helpful!
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Re: Is a UK student loan considered debt

Postby Annapurna » Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:48 pm

I would not call them, I would speak eye to eye. That minimum of respect shows your sincerity and would make a better impression.
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Re: Is a UK student loan considered debt

Postby Tsetan » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:12 pm

Hmmm that's an interesting thought- I'd much rather speak to someone face to face. I'm not sure where they are but I'll investigate. I have to talk with someone who administers this stuff and is in charge.
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Re: Is a UK student loan considered debt

Postby Annapurna » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:23 pm

:anjali:
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Re: Is a UK student loan considered debt

Postby Tsetan » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:52 pm

Interestingly, "nun" and "practitioner" are listed in the USA occupational outlook handbook,under "A177 Religious workers, other" listed as an official occupation. Not sure if this is relevant to our discussion, but interesting.
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Re: Is a UK student loan considered debt

Postby miggyG » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:25 am

How to deal with student debt? I's simple, don't go to University. Hopefully in the future the likes of the some universities will make education free for everyone.
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Re: Is a UK student loan considered debt

Postby Mawkish1983 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:14 am

For some people, university is an appropriate path whatever the cost.
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Re: Is a UK student loan considered debt

Postby Alobha » Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:12 am

marcpiano wrote:Hi all,

Is a UK student loan (ie through the Student Loans Company rather than a private arrangement between an individual and a bank) considered a debt for the purposes of fulfilling the pre-requisites for ordination?

Its repayment is linked to earnings (so if you're unemployed, you don't pay it back until you gain employment) and it is automatically cleared after 25 years.

Thanks in advance!


Well. A debt is something that is given to one with the condition that one gives it back later. The debtee here is nice enough to wait until you have the means to give the money back, but still the idea that it is given back is there.

It would be blameworthy to ordain while having this kind of obligation and unknowledgable people may be inclined to think that monks use the monastery to escape their financial obligations and are thus unworthy of support and respect. Talk to the debtee about it. If it so happens that they're fine with your decision and agree that becoming a "spiritual worker" has it's very own worth too, they may give you a verbal confirmation that you're free to go?
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Re: Is a UK student loan considered debt

Postby James the Giant » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:59 am

If I knew a bhikkhu had a student loan, personally I would not consider him a properly ordained bhikkhu, despite the legal loopholes which enable him to not pay it back. It's against the "spirit" of the rule. I certainly would not respect him as much as a proper debt- and obligation-free monk.

In fact, that's what I'm doing this next twelve months, earning money to pay back my student loan. Working hard, 6 days a week, heaps of overtime, moved to a different country where the wages are better, etc.

(I know the OP may have been and gone, it was more than a year ago that he first posted. But since the thread was revived, well, I may as well chime in with my two cents.
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Re: Is a UK student loan considered debt

Postby Mal » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:37 pm

James the Giant wrote:If I knew a bhikkhu had a student loan, personally I would not consider him a properly ordained bhikkhu, despite the legal loopholes which enable him to not pay it back. It's against the "spirit" of the rule. I certainly would not respect him as much as a proper debt- and obligation-free monk.


In what way is it against the "spirit" of the rule?

The monk would only have an obligation if he earned a certain amount of money, otherwise he has no obligation.

If the student decided to ordain after, or near he end of, his studies, then I can't see any problem.

If the student planned to go to University before ordaining then that is more problematic. The student should then, perhaps, discuss his situation with all interested parties. If the student does this, and the "loan" provider decides to go ahead then, again, there is, surely, no problem.

If he was shown to, truly, be in debt could he even be a monk?
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Re: Is a UK student loan considered debt

Postby Buckwheat » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:12 pm

5heaps wrote:ignore your student loans, they're highly immoral.


This is a rather unwholesome sentiment.
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Re: Is a UK student loan considered debt

Postby James the Giant » Thu Oct 04, 2012 12:02 am

Mal wrote:In what way is it against the "spirit" of the rule?
The monk would only have an obligation if he earned a certain amount of money, otherwise he has no obligation.

The point is that he is a debtor. He has a debt. He is a debtor and the rule is quite clear on that point:
"A debtor should not be given the Going-forth. Whoever should give it: an offense of wrong doing." — Mv.I.46.1

Whether he is obliged to pay it later, or when he reaches a certain level of income, he still has a debt and is therefore not eligible.

Mal wrote:If he was shown to, truly, be in debt could he even be a monk?

Yes, he remains an official bhikkhu. So I guess I was wrong there.
"Any bhikkhu who gives any of these applicants the Going-forth incurs a dukkaṭa. However, the applicant does count as having properly gone forth; if fully accepted he is properly accepted and need not be expelled." from the Buddhist Monastic Code http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... .ch14.html

Mods, maybe this thread could be merged with the debts mega-thread over here? To save on people saying stuff that has already been said, as I probably just have.
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Re: Is a UK student loan considered debt

Postby Mal » Thu Oct 04, 2012 1:51 pm

James the Giant wrote:
Mal wrote:The point is that he is a debtor. He has a debt. He is a debtor and the rule is quite clear on that point:
"A debtor should not be given the Going-forth. Whoever should give it: an offense of wrong doing." — Mv.I.46.1

Whether he is obliged to pay it later, or when he reaches a certain level of income, he still has a debt and is therefore not eligible.


Have the ordination rules taken into account UK student loans?

The UK student loan only becomes a debt under special circumstances.

The dictionary definition of debt is "the state of owing money".

A bhikkhu can never be in "the state of owing money" on a UK student loan, because he is, and never will be, earning any money. Therefore, for him, the UK student loan is not a debt.

UK politicians are happy about "low earners" not paying back the loan - probably because (like me) they had a full student grant in their day!

The student loan should be thought of as a tax on high earning graduates, because, in practice, that is what it is.

If it "had to be" paid back "whatever" it would be an immoral tax that would have every right thinking person in the UK out on the streets campaigning against it(I certainly would). It would mean that students could not take low paid social service jobs, or become bhikkhus, or do charity work, or become housewives, or do anything else other than get a high paying job, because they would be slaves to paying back the student loan.
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Re: Is a UK student loan considered debt

Postby James the Giant » Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:25 am

A loan is a loan. A debt is a debt. Anything else is playing word games, trying to weasel a way around the clear and simple rule.
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Re: Is a UK student loan considered debt

Postby Mal » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:23 pm

James the Giant wrote:A loan is a loan. A debt is a debt. Anything else is playing word games, trying to weasel a way around the clear and simple rule.


Blimey mate, you don't expect us poms to make anything clear and simple do you :)

I'm a UK tax payer and my money has been given to students as a "student loan". But I'm happy for students to go off and be monks and never repay me. It just isn't a loan!

If a friend loans me five pounds, I must pay him back, whatever. A UK student loan demands new moral reasoning.

Phew! As I'm not a monk with a student loan, or a monastic rule setter, I think I'll stop stressing myself with this, and hit the cushion...
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Re: Is a UK student loan considered debt

Postby Buckwheat » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:43 pm

Yes, it is so unfair that one would have to repay their loans.... so unfair :cry:

Ask the senior monk under whom you would want to take dependence. His opinion is the only one that matters, because he will either say "yes" and you get to become a monk, or he will say "no" and you will have to find a job for a few years before you can become a monk. One can still practice meditation and find a job near the monastery to keep close contact with the monks. It wouldn't be the end of the world, so let it go, brother. Be honest with the senior monk and accept his decision.

BTW - you could almost certainly become a monk in many non-Theravadan traditions.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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Re: Is a UK student loan considered debt

Postby Mal » Sat Oct 06, 2012 1:08 pm

Buckwheat wrote:
Ask the senior monk under whom you would want to take dependence. His opinion is the only one that matters, because he will either say "yes" and you get to become a monk, or he will say "no" and you will have to find a job for a few years before you can become a monk.



Or you can find another senior monk.
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