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Tuition fees - are they a deterrent to going to university - Read our hot topic debate

By The Citizen  |  Posted: April 14, 2014

Comments (2)

Tuition fees - have they put people off university? Here two people have their say.

Dan Seamarks, 18, Gloucester, Year 13 Student, Churchdown School Academy

‘Tuition fees’ – perhaps the most controversial two words associated with universities nowadays.

In 2012, the Government allowed universities to charge up to £9,000 for full-time courses, an increase of over 166 per cent. Fundamentally it’s wrong.

How can any course, or indeed any product, be worth £3,000 one day and £9,000 the next? It boggles me.

Regardless of political jargon like ‘added incentives’, the Government made university another source of poverty, well for the students, not the institutions. The cost is clearly out of line with current financial trends. The scale of debt made me consider whether it was worth the extra years of education. But with the threshold for repayment at £21,000, nine per cent taken from your pay and the loan wiped after 30 years, it’s obvious that the Government are just wasting money.

Does it bother me that I’ll be chipping away small amounts of this money in 2043? No, but that doesn’t make it right.

While the Government was fundamentally wrong in raising fees, at a time when the country was financially unstable, the financial side of university has not deterred me or the majority of students I know.

Councillor Barry Kirby (Labour, Grange and Kingsway)

I was the first member of my family to go to university. I was fortunate to be sponsored by the Army to attend the Royal Military College of Science where I studied for an engineering degree that has allowed me to work for some of Britain’s world leading aerospace and defence companies and establish my own business.

University changed my life. While I accept studying for a degree is not for everyone, for many young people university provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to study and gain the skills for their future career.

Many now feel it is quite simply too expensive and sadly we as a country are now seeing the consequences.

The Tory-led Government’s policy of trebling tuition fees to £9,000 has been disastrous. When the policy was first introduced, applications slumped and it remains low for young people from poorer backgrounds. Labour’s proposal is to lower the tuition fee cap to £6,000. It would be an important step towards a more progressive system with wealthier graduates asked to pay more but at the time of the next election, if we can afford to go further then we will.

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  • lindlolly  |  May 06 2014, 5:02PM

    It has alwaysed surprised me how the countries try to solve their problems at the costs of their citizens in the times of crises. Most people are head over heels in debt nowadays, starting from mortgages, car and student loans and finishing with consumer loans from the companies like SterlingStore.co.uk (http://tinyurl.com/o5onv8y), but when a country needs money it burdens its citizens even more.

  • uk_socrates  |  April 14 2014, 6:10PM

    The main issue is that a huge amount of jobs now "require a degree". Basic jobs in marketing or administration or the media industry or health industry now require a degree. The only jobs that don't seem to require a degree are jobs in call centres, retail outlets, restaurants and hotels. Whatever happened to training people on the job? It is scandalous that were happy to spend billions on submarines, missiles, and all sorts of pointless and expensive wars, but when it comes to educating the future generation, we instead force them into debt bondage. Also as someone who has a degree, I think a 3 year degree could easily be made into a 2 year degree. (A huge amount of time is spent essentially waiting for the next module, there was also times where Powerpoint lectures were painfully slow and boring, and frankly I found better educational lectures on Youtube for free in HD, there was even times where lectures just failed to show up). Example: http://tinyurl.com/qfyamnr Also this fetish with constant essays needs to end. Also a degree doesn't necessarily even mean a better job these days. There are people working in Costa and Starbucks who have degrees!. (They would have been financially better off doing a college course in bricklaying or plumbing at a local college). The only good thing is that virtual learning is now more accessible. Sadly online universities are STILL ridiculously over priced. But in the future I think it will be possible to complete a lot of degrees online in maybe 18 months for say £500-£800 total cost. Particularly a lot of knowledge based courses that require hardly any outdoor/ or messy practical work such as History, Business Studies, Marketing, I.T, App Design, Foreign Language, Philosophy, R.E, and so on.