Religion as a barrier to the use of student loans for higher education: A community‐based participatory study with Somalis living in England

Alija Avdukic (Lead / Corresponding author), Fawad Khaleel, Ahmed Abdullah, Abdulbasit H. Brawe

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Abstract

The unwillingness of the Somali community to finance higher education has largely gone unnoticed within the academic literature and government policy documents. This study explores the role of religion and the influence of Shari'ah scholars on the use of interest-bearing student loans within the Somali community. In the absence of any theoretical framework on this topic, we explore the multiple socioeconomic factors that may influence the attitude, perception of need, motivation and action of using student loans for higher education, by proposing the UK Somali Muslims Acceptance of Interest-bearing Student Loan Model. This is also a community-based participatory study that actively involved Somali community members in exploring and interpreting the results. This was achieved through regular consultations with the sampled Somali Muslim communities within the UK. Our results contribute to the broader debate on the effect of cultural, religious and social values of marginalised communities on inclusion and widening access policies for higher education. The findings reemphasise that people sharing the same location do not necessarily share the same level of opportunities for higher education because of the intersectionality of race, religion, gender and class. The results also show the complexity of the issue of exclusion and the atheoretical nature of student loans as a financial instrument for improving financial inclusion and widening access to higher education among Somali residents in England.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages35
JournalBritish Educational Research Journal
Early online date20 Dec 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Somali Muslim community
  • ethical religious values
  • student loans
  • widening participation

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