Freeze Tuition Fees
Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced the coalition’s plans to allow universities free reign over tuition fees. Although the Liberal Democrat party, of whom Cable is a member, had made a key election pledge to prevent the increase in tuition fees for British students, the coalition is in danger of neglecting its promises in a surprisingly ill thought out proposal to help the government cut 80% of its education funding.
Whilst no student or future student wants to be saddled with the prospect of crippling debt at the age of 18, very few alternative suggestions have been presented directly to Vince Cable and the cabinet.
Here are a few:
•Take a closer look at school funding. If I remember correctly, my own secondary school had a modern foyer and reception, plasma screen televisions in the corridors, interactive whiteboards…and textbooks from the 70s. Head teachers and Principals need to have their spending closely monitored; Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) could be made responsible that the school is fully functional from the ground up. This could also be applied to the newest Academy Schools
•Schools in ‘Special Measures’ can still go on to nurture fantastic students. The nature and criteria of ‘Special Measures’ needs to be made clear to parents and the public to ensure that schools are not attempting to cheat the system by applying for more funding than they should
•Viable alternatives to university need to be created. It should no longer be held that unless one is educated at university, one is not educated at all. Each year around the time of A Level examinations and results, numerous adverts depicting the advantages of apprenticeships, work experience and diplomas are televised, but they do not seem to really exist. This needs to be addressed
•Quality, not quantity. University should no longer be portrayed as just a ‘rite of passage’ – Sixth Form and College students are adults, and must show their commitment to their studies should they wish to gain university places. The bottom 10% of British universities are still underperforming as they had done when they were polytechnics, draining resources and acting as a ‘mop’ for young people. Their degrees could be converted to college diplomas, and the UK’s position in International league tables would be increased
•Demand funding from Scottish students. As someone with Scottish blood, even I can see the unfairness of British taxes funding the Scottish education system with no monetary return. This would take an incredible amount of pressure off of students from the rest of the British Isle
•Regulate ‘philanthropy’. After the government’s calls for private funding for the Arts sector (a system that thrives in America), the same could be applied to Education in the short term. The bitterness that the country still feels towards those who perpetuated the banking crisis should be fairly addressed, and high-income sectors such as banking could become representatives or ambassadors of selected institutions without the need for privatisation
I hope that these points illustrate the fact that alternatives do exist; they need to be hammered out by a committee of university representatives from across Britain and made publicly accessible.
Thanks for this idea. We’re looking into what we can do to help.
We’ll update you soon.
Rosslyn Rose commented
I have 1 child in Uni now and another one hoping to go in 2 years. If this change happens as the review suggests, then he is going to be disappointed as I won't be able to afford to send him. We are just scraping over the £25000 pa and struggle as it is for day to day life. University life should be accessible to all students who want to improve their education and the prospects of a good career. The long term benefits will be less educated people and more on the dole queue. Middle income families (come on, be real, middle class never really disappeared) always struggle more as they don't earn enough to not worry so much about how things are paid for, but earn just a little to much to have extra state support. So come on Cameron, it's the middle income families that are more likely to keep you in power!!
Bethany Lowe commented
I wonder how we can et them more attention?
Get your friends to vote!!
Bethany Lowe commented
People are talking as if the Browne report has been implemented (and as if the 80% cuts to the sector are a fait accompli). But the MPs have yet to vote on it. Can we do something to lobby them to vote against it? Specially the LibDems of course, who will be mostly against it strongly in principle but encouraged to not upset the coalition...
(I would prefer not to emphasis middle-income families as such, it is the poor students who will be afraid of racking up massive debts - as I understood the plan, the money was taken off their earnings afterwards.)
Those students to start a course at the current tuition rate will not know how much the university will charge when the cap is lifted therefore we will have a situation of student trying to change universities mid course because the one they are at is charging more than they can afford.
The effects on students leaving university with large debts with relationship to getting mortgages or business loans to set up a small business as not been thought about. Mortgage debt caused the credit crunch university student debt will prevent the country from getting out of the recession and may cause a recession that will last for decades.
If you fail to get your degree you may not be able to afford to retake a year and not be able to gain the job you need to pay off your debts.
Megan Shore commented
We should be able to chose where we go and what we study based on our potential, not on what we can afford. This plan will only create a divide in the university system between rich and poor which we really do not want.
My brother has been financially held down by the old system, so this new system is going to make the depts even worse for us by making us pay so much more.
Callum Christie commented
This is one of the worst idea's i've ever heard! I agree very strongly with my good friend Tim Lawson here, that it will completely alienate the poor, and completly demolish the fair system we currently have!
Tim Lawson commented
The raising of university tuition fees will only alienate the poor, and this will lead to continued privilege for the rich alone.
Surely this isn't the way to a more equal and fair society.
Nick Jessup commented
This idea of uncapped tuition fees will destroy the opportunities of the working class and make universities such as Oxford and Cambridge even more elitist. This plan must be stopped.
john reynolds commented
This was the image the LibDems were sending out to young voters and students during the election campaign .
This is an armageddon issue for the LibDems.
In my view the Browne proposal is a start but needs some important modifications. Where my brother works as a lawyer new graduates start on £55k. A relative is a recently qualified teacher who earns 22k. In my view it does not seem fair to make the teacher pay more than the lawyer because it will take them a lot longer to pay off their debt/loan.
We must put pressure on the LibDems to improve Browne's proposals.
Dave Nimmo commented
I think this is the most serious damage that the coalition is going to do to the country's infrastructure so far. Lord Browne's plan would make university the preserve of the rich.
Plans to provide bursaries for "poorer students" will leave those just above the threshold with massive debts and would likely be whittled away over time in any case.
The Liberal Democrats have stood on the issue of tuition fees for a long time and we need to target them in the hope that they still have any spine left in them.