Those students who constantly bang on about university fees in the UK being £9,000 a year have now been silenced. No longer can they shout in demonstrations, protests and marches that the government is allowing universities to charge this amount, despite there being no tangible benefits to the majority of undergraduate students. 

Instead, they must now complain that university fees are £9,250 a year. 

This increase has been in the pipeline for quite some time, and it has to do with universities arguing that fees should rise in line with inflation. However this proposal was going to be discussed by MPs but has apparently been sneaked out on the government website.

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This BBC article describes how opposition members have labelled the move as ‘shabby’ and ‘avoiding scrutiny.’ 

Now this small increase may not seem troubling but I want to point out two things. The first is the government has suggested that this increase is simply the first round of increases. It is as if they are getting university students used to the idea of fee increases until they perhaps become a yearly occurrence. It is a bit like your household bills, they offer you a great deal at the beginning and then through small annual increases, you find yourself paying substantially more within a couple years. Currently many would argue that the UK student loan system is amazing compared to other student loan systems across the world. I remember this was what we were told when I was doing my A-levels. Let us put aside for now, my opinion that debt is bad, no matter the terms and conditions. The other danger is that as fees increase, I fear the student loan system may struggled to cope with demand. There may come a day when it will break, and students will forced to turn to even greedier loan companies.

The other point is that I fail to see what universities have done to warrant such drastic increases in fees. Perhaps it has something to do with universities feeling as though now they have the cash, they can expand their buildings, which of course leads to a greater capacity for students, which leads to more money. This influx in money will not result in any difference to the vast majority of degrees and the quality of their teaching. Ask a student or even lecturer who has been at university for the past few years, and they will most likely tell you that they have not seen any personal effect of the increase in tuition fees. I certainly haven’t. This also has a lot to do with the reduction in Higher Education Funding Council’s contribution to universities.  With the increase in fees,  the government almost completely reduced the amount of money universities received per student. So whilst everyone else was better off,  the student was left in the lurch. If the government wanted to behave more responsiblly and truly cared about education, they should have considered reducing university gradually and not simply cut off the HEFC grants.  

The government claims that universities will have to prove they are providing excellent education in order to warrant further fee increases. That sounds like nonsense to me. A mere gimmick to appease the complaining hordes. Hopefully people will begin to realise that this path the government has set out is a dangerous one. The public didn’t seem to care when the fees were raised to £9000, most simply dismissed students concerns as entitled teenagers. Perhaps they will wake up and see that its time to put some grit on this slipper slope before we all sink into a US style system that cuts the feet off young adults before they have even had the chance to stand up. 

Until Next Time

A Worried Student

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11 thoughts on “Sly Government

  1. Very well written and you make good points. I just wanted to point out that university revenue did not triple when the fees went up. In fact the government withdraw other funding so it’s virtually the same as before and significantly less than it was years ago. I’m not trying to be picky because I hate the financial burden being placed on students and am happy to be challenged to give students a great experience. It’s also true that many universities are in severe financial difficulty and believe me it’s not because the lecturers are paid a fortune!

    I’m enjoying reading your blogs and am learning a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been interested reading your posts on student fees. We had our country just about brought to its knees in 2016 through a”fees must fall” campaign across our major universities. In our case the concept of student loans cannot even be considered when we have high unemployment and many families waiting for students to graduate to help support their siblings or put food on the table.

    It will be interesting to see how tertiary education is addressed by countries in the future. It ought to be among the top priorities since there are many problems that the current working generation and political/economic systems are leaving behind for your generation to solve, my university student daughter included.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the argument for complete free education is a little unrealistic in today’s climate but at the same time they shouldn’t be so high. They should be on a gradual reduction rather than a gradual increase.

      Yes definitely, unfortunately higher education is becoming a side agenda for governments, its as if they feel the universities themselves will sort out the issues and problems.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Worse still is he Australian govt has been miscalculating students earnings and just before the holiday season they sent off heavy duty letters demanding refunds and stopping their payments … for the Govt’s mistake?!? YET OUR MPs are ripping off the system as they claim bottomless travel expenses … but let’s squeeze the students a bit more?

    Some students here accumulate debts as high as a large mortgage ….

    Liked by 1 person

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