Usury seems like an archaic word and many wouldn’t even know its meaning. Part of the reason for that is that debt- the taking of a loan with interest, or the lending of money with interest- is pervasive. From credit cards and mortgages to store cards and payment plans and more, we borrow to get ahead, we borrow to exist
Consequently and in spite of measures such as ethical lending schemes, we don’t often consider the moral issues associated with debt.
For prospective university students in the United Kingdom- and certainly in other countries like Australia and America with lengthy histories of financing higher education by student loans- debt is a particularly hard hitting reality. Only an elite few today can study university without taking out a loan to do so. The entire higher education system has itself been set up with the expectation that individuals can and will finance it by borrowing.
For some students however, borrowing to finance education and in particular usury are potent, contemporary ethical concerns that engage their human rights. For those students whose religious or ideological stance forbids the practice of borrowing or lending money, higher education might well be out of reach. The pressure and expectation to access higher education via loans is, we argue in this hard hitting analysis, discriminatory, ensuring that discrimination in universities persists before some students even get to the door.