Background to the Student Loans Company's (SLC) adverse publicity about spying on 'vulnerable' students. More openness from the SLC about how they are making decisions is needed urgently and a simpler approach would help. All students should have an equal chance to study to fulfil their full potential. This should be the motto of the SLC etched deeply into the foundations of the whole organisation.
When news broke this week that the Student Loans Company (SLC) had started ‘spying’ on students who were claiming student loans  on the basis that they were estranged from their families, it seemed that they had stooped to a new low in their already low reputation. Questions were asked about the logic behind their move. It appears that SLC had singled out at random 150 students who were in receipt of full maintenance loans because they had declared they had no family to support them. Of these, 81 were deemed to have misrepresented their situation. The SLC had trawled through their social media posts to see if any had some communication with their family.
By the 8th of August, the SLC had retreated a small way and promised to review their processes . But this fell short of restoring the loans to 44 of the students still affected. This was despite not having completed an inquiry into the circumstances. Becca Bland, of the Charity Stand Alone, who had raised the problem in the first place , called the SLC’s actions “a hostile and aggressive measure against some of the most vulnerable students in the UK, who lack family capital and are already financially disadvantaged”. It would seem that the practice adopted by the SLC would not have come to light without the actions of Stand Alone.