University Professors Want You To Pay £9,000 A Year Fees, Here's Why
The Debrief: Labour are allegedly planning to drop fees to £6,000 a year but a coalition of universities’ professors don’t want this to happen…
There’s been speculation that Labour will soon pledge to lower university tuition fees to £6,000 a year (down from £9,000 a year). On the face of it, woo, go Labour, this is great! However, a group of university vice-chancellors have pleaded with the party to give up on it, even if it’s just a tiny glimmer of an idea.
You might wonder why on earth this is, after all, when the Coalition decided in 2010 to raise the tuition fees from £6,000 a year to £9,000 a year, there was widespread fury from students and student groups. The Lib Dems had reneged on the one big election promise they’d made – to keep university tuition fees low. The long-term result? The Lib Dems are now polling at 5%.
But Universities UK, an organisation of university vice-chancellors across the country, has today claimed that Labour’s alleged plan would leave a £10 billion debt in the university system.
In a letter to The Times, Universities UK explained that, in the absence of other funding, ‘cuts to universities…would damage the economy, affect the quality of students' education, and set back work on widening access to higher education’.
Sir Christopher Snowden, who penned the letter, continued: ‘Any move to limit the number of students attending universities as a way of reducing costs would remove opportunities for young people and those seeking to return to education, and act as a barrier to economic growth.’
Basically, they’re saying that a lot of young people want to go to university and the only way of really funding it is for them to pay using the current student loans system, because without it, the university wouldn't be able to teach them, and then what good would it be?
The way the government should help students, the letter explains, is easing costs outside of fees: 'A better way of supporting students, especially those from poorer backgrounds, would be for the government to provide greater financial support for living costs.’
This means schemes like not having graduates pay any of their student loan back until they’re earning £21,000 a year. That sort of thing.
The NUS told The Debrief: ‘NUS welcomes any policies that signal a move away from the market, but any proposals from all parties would have to be judged on their fairness and sustainability. What we do know is that the current model of university tuition fees is entirely unsustainable and we need genuine alternatives for students.’
‘We agree that there should be more focus on maintenance support as students are the throes of a cost of living crisis.
‘Forcing debt onto students as a way of funding universities is an experiment that has well and truly failed. We need a new deal on higher education funding for the next generation of students.’
Maybe that gives all the parties a bit of time ahead of the election to think about what the real solution to student fees could be…
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