Practical Options Toolkit
For those wishing to attend university without taking up student loans, please consider some of the following options in our toolkit below.
Finding a prospective University located close to home can significantly lower living costs in terms of accommodation, food and travel and therefore eliminate the need for a maintenance loan. This will help to significantly lower cost barriers in accessing higher education.
Fee reductions / waivers
Fee reductions / waivers are offered by most universities to attract students by reducing the tuition fee either partially, or in some cases by the full amount.
In many cases, they will allow for annual fees to be capped at £3000; a big reduction from the standard £9,000 annual fees.
Fee waivers are granted at the discretion of the university to those with valid reasons. We know of several university students who have been granted fee reductions on account of their scriptural aversion to taking interest based loans.
Application must be submitted with the university and each university has its own application procedure.
For more information search for fee waivers with your potential University online.
Work funded part time university course / Higher level apprenticeship
Working whilst studying part time can be an excellent way to earn cash to fund your studies, whilst a relevant field to your chosen degree will also allow you to learn about your strengths and weaknesses whilst providing you with an invaluable insight and experience for your career post-graduation.
Also, many employers are offering higher level apprenticeships to college leavers, (those who have finished A-levels) which can lead to a professional career, as a chartered accountant for example, without the need for a degree.
Scholarships are extended to students who meet the criteria for excellence in academic achievements.
See the available scholarship for your chosen subject through the scholarship search portal.
Further information on waivers, bursaries and scholarships can be found on the complete university guide website here.
A bursary is a non-repayable grant provided by some universities and charitable organisations to support students with low incomes by contributing to their living costs, or to pay for books or equipment they need whilst they study.
See the offerings from your prospective university for amounts and eligibility.
The government no longer offer bursaries to students from low-income backgrounds.
For potential support for those who are eligible for Zakat, please look into the National Zakat Foundation Scholarship fund.
Qard Hassan, is also an emerging interest free student loan provider, further information can be found here.
Support from family / friends
Family and friends can also help with interest free loans / support.
Scriptural (Shari’ah considerations)
Many Muslims are struggling with the student loan issue due to the prohibition of interest as evidenced by the large number of responses to the government consultation on this matter in September 2014.
To help clarify the Islamic position, we have provided below a summary of the three main scriptural (sharia) positions on this issue, and provided links to supporting edicts (fatwa).
(1) Student loans are impermissible:
The current student loan system is impermissible, as it amounts to an interest based contract (ribā) which is prohibited. See Al Qalam’s overview and research paper for the Islamic viewpoint on student loans.
(2) Substantial Hardship
This view also holds the position that student loans are impermissible due to the prohibition of interest. If an individual student is suffering substantial hardship as a result of not going to university, then some Ulema under the ruling, “Necessity legalises the prohibited,” have given permission for one to take a student loan. See a detailed breakdown of this position here.
Given many jobs are available which do not require a university degree, many scholars do not accept the necessity exemption can be applied.
(3) Student loans are non interest based
Another view holds the existing interest based model is actually permitted as although student loans constitute interest on paper, the underlying structure of the contract more closely resembles a silent partner investment contract, known as mudharabah. For a breakdown of this view and for further information see here.
A further breakdown of the mudharabah contract can be found here.
In September 2014, the government undertook to introduce an alternative takaful based university fee funding structure by September 2016 as outlined here, but have not yet done so, and have repeatedly refused to commit to a date when this model will eventually be introduced.
We feel these delays demonstrate a lack of urgency on the part of the government in addressing the plight of those students currently unable to benefit from a university education.
The Bright and Halal campaign therefore seeks to encourage students to lobby their Members of Parliament to work to introduce sharia finance for funding university tuition fees by September 2018.
In order to encourage the government to prioritise the introduction of this scheme as quickly as possible, we suggest one of the following two actions.
Write to your MP
A personal letter (not a cut and paste template) always works best. This website has sufficient information for this letter to be easily composed. The key points to mention are:
(1) The government consultation in September 2014 indicated an alternative finance university tuition fee model would be introduced in September 2016
(2) Please can the government prioritise making this happen and recognise the negative impact on many Muslim students of not being able to benefit from a university education.
(3) Encourage your MP to submit a written question to the Universities Minister in this regard.
Visit your MP
Find out when your MP is holding a local surgery and visit them to voice your concerns. A face to face meeting is more likely to elicit support compared to an email.
You can find details of your local MP here.
For further support or information, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2019 Halal Student Loans