The government today has announced a policy that will allow top scoring universities in the UK to raise tuition fees (1). This means that top scoring universities will be able to charge more than the set £9,000 per year fees. Until the launch of this policy maximum a student would pay for a bachelor degree was £27,000 for an average three year degree, with longer courses such as medicine facing up to £45,000, which is in itself a staggering sum of money to burden someone with for simply wanting to train properly to perform their job well. These maximum fees have increased over the last few years thus (2) –
Year 1998 2004 2010 2016
Tuition Fee £1,000 £3,000 £9,000 £ ???
Government Labour Labour Coalition Conservative
The median earnings for a person living in London is £19,000 a year (3), and remember that this will be pushed up significantly by the higher earners, and that this will be higher than those not living in London. So, if a university course costs more than twice the annual income of a Londoner, how can a single parent afford to help their child attend university? They can’t. This means that a newly qualified doctor will leave higher education with £47,000 debt, including interest of 0.9% per year (4). This is before including accommodation, food, transport and books. Therefore, many students will be paying back their student loan for 30+ years, which would take them into their fifties (5).
University attendance is still the greatest opportunity for social mobility available (6). The chances of a student who received free meals at school accessing an Oxbridge university course are 2000 to 1, compared to a privately educated child of 20 to 1 (7). Thus, if the rich are more likely to attend the top universities, they are more likely to obtain high paying jobs. Therefore, the wealthy stay wealthy, and the poor stay poor.
Firstly, I would like to live in a society where everyone is educated to a high standard. There are no losers when we live in a country where everyone has strong language and analytical skills. Secondly, education should be free for all. We live in one of the most economically advantaged societies in the world. In order for not only the wellbeing of the populace, but for a strong economic future we should all have an education that allows us to play our role in society. Thirdly, the decisions of politicians are preventing the poorest from advancing into high paid jobs.
The key points to take away from this are
- University fees will be higher than they were
- All of the major political parties have increased tuition fees
- The poorest in society will not be able to help their children financially
- Students will be paying off a massive amount of debt until they are a just over a decade away from retirement
2 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuition_fees_in_the_United_Kingdom
3 – http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/sep/02/housing-market-gulf-salaries-house-prices
4 – http://www.studentloanrepayment.co.uk/portal/page?_pageid=93,6678642&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL
7 – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-30939926