Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Why student fees make sense

For most students when they are asked about student fees they are usually quite happy to criticise them without fully thinking it through. It is true that other countries pay far less when it comes to higher education. It is also true that if a Scot was to study in his homeland it would be free, yet if you were from anywhere else, it would cost. That by all accounts does seem completely ridiculous but I do believe that by shouting at politicians and universities about the £9,000 fee (not all courses) you need to take a step back to realise why they are doing it.

Firstly, they're not doing it to put us in massive debt and to cover the problems certain bankers have made in the last 10 years. The simple truth of the matter is so that universities can improve.

It is a common misconception that the actual study fee goes to the government. It doesn't! It goes to the university you are attending. That means that they can invest and improve so that when you apply for a job in the future they can look at the uni and go 'that's a good university'. It isn't going back into a complicated system which the government uses for benefits, the NHS, paying the EU or some other matter people love to moan about.

I am very lucky to be at a university that has clearly invested extremely well over the last 10 or so years. Coventry Uni has shot up the league tables since I have been here and in my first two years it has been voted Modern University of the Year 2014 & 2015. This doesn't just come from well planned lectures and good grades.

Yes the quality of the teaching and the classifications of degrees does have an influence, that's why Cambridge and Oxford are always up the top. However, it is not always what you have on a piece of paper that gets you a job or whether you went to fancy balls and have a sophisticated and frankly irritating accent and opinion on the world.

Ed Miliband has recently announced he will lower tuition fees to, if I am correct, £6,000 a year if he is voted in. This is probably a way for him to get younger voters to vote for him as everyone else has given up. Furthermore, he is willing to make these changes DESPITE last year having one of the highest recorded amounts of applications for university study. I can't see the logic in making this change if the money is not deterring students to going to university. He claims he didn't have that debt when he finished his degree and we shouldn't either... But to be honest Ed, you didn't have to worry so much about the money when you came out.

I do believe lowering tuition fees is a good idea if  the current fees raise a real question on the possibility of someone going to uni. It is clearly not doing that at the moment and to be honest if you have gone to any student finance talk, you will be aware that it does not cripple you when you start working and that paying back is doable.

I am not someone who has a wealthy background and has no money worries whatsoever. The idea of paying £££'s back when I am older is a horrible thought but I knew that was going to happen when I was applying to study. It is easy to moan and say 'we shouldn't have to pay'. That is right, but you don't have to go to uni to get a decent paid job. Going to uni is a sacrifice and a risk but it is one I have always been willing to take. And if it means that I have to pay back a fraction of my salary when I'm older so that universities can improve now then so be it. If putting yourself in debt is such a big problem then don't go to uni, simple as that. If you are at uni now and moaning then question how your university is funded and where the money comes from to pay for the academic professionals. Nothing is free in the world and if I am to spend a lot of money on something, my education isn't a bad investment, especially when I haven't had to pay a penny until uni.

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