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Who should pay for education?

11:48 UK time, Thursday, 25 November 2010

A scheme aimed at getting more children from poor homes into England's universities has been scrapped. Should students pay for their education?

Universities UK (UUK) head Professor Steve Smith says without higher fees the number of student places would have to be cut, as teaching grants are axed. Prof Smith is calling for the government to say which subjects it plans to subsidise.

His comments come a day after students and pupils protested against fees and university budget cuts in central London and in university towns and cities around England and Scotland.

Should education be free? Should certain subjects should be subsidised? Are you a student or lecturer? Were you involved in the student protests?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 9

  • Comment number 1.

    The people that are using it!, they will benefits from the opportunities it generates and in turn make more money than the people without it

  • Comment number 2.

    the taxpayer through the goverment? did this really need a HYS?

    also why do scotland get free degrees whch england pays towards yet we have to pay and we give scotland more money than we get back? isnt that itself a deficit? giving more to scotland and wales than we get back?

  • Comment number 3.

    We, the taxpayer, should pay for education of Doctors, nurses, surgeons, engineers, scientists, for these are the people who will innovate, build, care for and shape the future of this country. Students who want to study sport, media, graphics, art, David Beckham etc.. should pay their own way.

  • Comment number 4.

    The State.

  • Comment number 5.

    It's a very sad fact, but the students themselves will have to pay.

    They should also pay for the criminal damage they caused around the country yesterday.

  • Comment number 6.

    It is all very well saying that tuition fees must rise. But it is getting to a point where it is not worth going to university. It has been said that a person with a degree can earn £100K over their working lifetime than someone without a degree. So to my simple mind if it is going to cost at the proposed charge of £9000 per year for tuition fees alone plus living costs through the Student Loans company, buying of books and field trips. Then ,I cannot be bothered to work out the figures, the average student will be leaving university with a debt of some £50K - £70K. On top of this there will be interest on that loan, pushing the whole figure towards £100K. So what is the point of university. Why would anybody want to put themselves through a stressful time at University to be followed after they have graduated and are earning £21K a year, to a lifetime of repaying a loan that is continually accruing.

    I can forsee our young people being enticed to places like Germany, the U.S.A. or even Australia to do their degrees. The BBC has a report on this today.

    The U.K. will be the loser overall. We will have lost a pool of talent. All we will have left is Upper Class Twits who have only been taught how to rule and lead. All our industries will be run and controlled by foreign companies employing cheap immigrant labour.

  • Comment number 7.

    I reakon fully subsidise proffesions like enginering,science, healthcare etc. but say law, accountancy and any other practice that designs ways of ripping the people off should have to pay alot

  • Comment number 8.

    We need engineers and scientists not namby pamby lawyers, accountants and others with "media studies" non-degrees. All technology subjects should be free with charges only made if the grad drops out. All others should be made to pay the full tuition and incidental oncosts with a markup to subsidise the tech subjects

  • Comment number 9.

    Who should pay?

    Individuals AND the country should pay.

    The system, to my mind was pretty fair as it was and didnt need changing.

    The students should be proud of themselves for their actions so far, and should continue, and up-scale their protests until they get the government to back down.

  • Comment number 10.

    ~Who should pay for education?

    For children up the age of 18 doing GCSE's & A level's, the tax payer should pay.

    For grown adults who CHOOSE (choose being the operative word) to opt into higher education, and go to university; they should pay themselves! Just as if I want to study a professional course for furthering my career, I have to pay for it.

    I'm sick of the "I want education for free for life" brigade who think the world owes them a living. It doesn't.

    You want higher education, YOU pay for it. End of.

  • Comment number 11.

    2 Things:
    (1) Graduates will tend to get higher-paid jobs and therefore pay more tax anyway. So they will be paying for others to go to University
    (2) We all pay for different things through our taxes - some we agree with , some we don't

    We could completely abolish the concept of "society" and have a nation where we pay no taxes and we only pay for what we personally need at the time we need it. It was tried before and is known as the "Stone Age"

    My point is that if you want a modern higher education system then those of us in work have to help pay for it otherwise we'll only have education for the rich and not for our children

  • Comment number 12.

    Yep, Education should be free. It is our right to get education. I am happy for Govt to increase my tax if necessary. No one, and I repeat, No one should have to pay any fees (let alone £6000 or £9000) whatsoever. Think about a graduate entering his/her practical life with at least £30000 debt. AND no, its not the point that students dont have to pay right away. The POINT is that they have to. Debt is wrong. Simple!!!

  • Comment number 13.

    As a struggling taxpayer I cannot afford to pay for the education of other parent's children especially since most graduates will be attracted by the idea to emigrate to find work overseas. If they want a university education they should be adults and pay for their own continued education, and not be a parasite on the backs of the taxpaying public.

  • Comment number 14.

    The people who benefit from the education should pay for it. This means the country that the people work in should pay for the education as it is the country as a whole that benefits from a skilled workforce. That said the idividual should also contribute as they also directly benefit from receiving this education.

    Simply put there should be a balance between what the tax payer contributes and what the student contributes.

  • Comment number 15.

    Here we go again :)

    I believe education should be free (including university). I still think we're pushing to many through university so I have no objection to cutting Uni places. I'm sure there are degree subjects that could be moved to an alternate higher education qualifiaction such as HNC or HND so they would still be available.

    As this is unlikely to happen should there be subsidies for certain subjects?

    No probably not as who would be qualified to determine course's future value and by definition the future value student who takes them?

  • Comment number 16.

    Whoever benefits.
    - The country benefits from a highly educated workforce - we are being told that every day.
    - Graduates may earn more money than non-graduates but they are also taxed appropriately and thus automatically feed back more money into the national coffers through their income tax.

    Conclusion?

  • Comment number 17.

    Of course education should be free but let's be realistic it's difficult to achieve. Have the government looked into alternative ways of funding university education? of course not. The overwhelmingly unpopular 'sledgehammer to crack a nut' approach of tripling tution fees is doomed so why not think of some alternatives?
    Here's a few suggestions
    Why not increase overseas student fees to subsidise UK student fees?
    Why not charge different tution fees for different degrees, the most useful to the UK economy subsidised by the least useful?
    Why not charge student tution fees in all countries in the UK?
    Why not base tution fees on ability to pay?
    Why not use the Open University method of distance teaching on other university degrees?
    If this mess isn't sorted out soon we will regress back to the dark ages where university education was not for the brightest students, but only those whose parents could afford it.

  • Comment number 18.

    Is it worth a short article explaining the financial outcome of these changes should they go ahead?

    A quick calculation here tells me that for a graduate who studied under the new scheme, who is now earning £30k/year, would pay around £65-70 per month, out of a total net salary per month of around £1800. Less than 4% of net earnings.

    Given that debts will be wiped out if they're not repaid after 30 years, this would entail ~£25,000 paid back over the lifetime of the debt.

    Hardly seems a fortune to me!

    It strikes me that many of those protesting haven't bothered to think about the impact these changes will have. Those who claim they won't be able to afford to go to university clearly haven't done the maths. They won't have to pay a penny in fees until they have a decent job, earning a decent wage.

    My 2 cents. All calculations very approximate!

  • Comment number 19.

    There is a flaw in the government's argument that cutting public funding of education is necessary because of the deficit. The big problem in this country is not the level of the government's debt but the level of debt owed by the private sector (households and companies). Reducing education funding may lower government debt from what it would otherwise be but it will increase private sector debt, which is by far the bigger problem.

  • Comment number 20.

    Society should pay for a good primary and secondary education for all. University education should be free but only available for the brightest 5% - 10% of the population, not 50% (i.e. everybody currently functionally literate and numerate).

  • Comment number 21.

    What a silly question! Students ALREADY pay for their own education! I was lucky enough to be one of the last ones that, as my parents have a very low income, I was actually paid for by the government. I still have about £16000 in students loans to pay for my accomodation etc. My brother was not so lucky he has about £25000 of debt to pay back for his degree fees and loans. I did English and History and plan on being a teacher but I can't really see the point in teaching in this country as no one wants me here. My degree is apparently worthless and no one thinks that we should encourage people to teach the next generation (who are to be denied degrees or jobs anyway so what's the point)

  • Comment number 22.

    Who should pay for education?

    We should all pay.

    Myself and anyone else over 30 had their tuition fees payed by the state.

    We've had our free ride, and now we're expecting the next generation to pay £30,000 to get what we had for free?

    Thats the the kind of smug 'I'm all right Jack' hypocrisy that sums up everything thats wrong with modern society.

  • Comment number 23.

    At University there are 3 types of student:

    1. Foreign student, head down works very hard.
    2. British Student majority, having a laugh and doing just enough.

    Guess who had to pay most for their education. Foriegn students know and respect the value of a good education. Our students because its "free" do not respect the value or that someone has to pay for it.

    Give a students the choice of sitting in Lectures, watching loose women or having fun smashing up the place, we all know which they would choose. Yesterday was more evidence of that.

    Basic education is free however higher education should be chargeable as it would stop the massive amount of first year drop outs that occur. On my course well over 30% of students drop out over the first two years. This is tax payers money wasted funding these people.

    Unfortunately higher education is seen as an easy avenue to avoid work and avoid taking responsibility.

  • Comment number 24.

    why not just reduce fees and increase taxes?

  • Comment number 25.

    Primary and secondary education are mandatory and should therefore be paid for by everybody in their taxes. Tertiary education is a matter of choice and should be paid for by those who choose to take that option insted of going out to work. Their earning potential will be higher for their degrees so why should everybody on lower pay subsidise them? Looking at the rabble protesting about fees lately, these people are unfit for tertiary education anyway and would be better served working for a living until they realise they don't have a right to everything their hearts desire for FREE. I paid for my own Bachelor's degree and I paid for my own Master's degree and I am proud that my achievements cost nobody but myself any money. It made me really work for it too!

  • Comment number 26.

    Every citizen should be entitled to a free education up to the age of 18. Afterwards if you want to go to University you should have to pay for it yourself.

  • Comment number 27.

    We should return to the system of 30 years ago - dramatically reduce the number of places available, allocate the places on merit only (not privilege) and have state funding for tuition and student grants.

  • Comment number 28.

    the Students should pay for all eduction they recieve in FE or HE

  • Comment number 29.

    This coalition of the right are intending to hand education over the market. As both the Tories and the Lib-Dems are adherents of the small-state model, the fact that the end result will be higher education being the preserve of the rich, troubles them not a jot.
    It was recognised in the 1870s that a nation's competiveness was dependent on a skilled labour force ,which was why the State become involved in the provision of education.
    Of course a free-marketeer will support an employer sourcing skilled labour from abroad or just moving his operations abroad.

  • Comment number 30.

    Couple of point before the usual arguments kick-in.

    - Its the 21st Century right? Civilisation should be advancing due to massive technological innovation. Something is failing us if we are looking to reduce the availability of all forms of education. You might want to consider the role of Mr Banker.

    - Media, graphics, art etc. bring in lots of cash to the economy - who is going to draw up the A and B lists? (Gove? - oh dear).

    - The David Beckham et al. argument is spurious as this represents a minute (insignificant) element of the budget.

    - The fact that you are going to have a £30K+ debt hanging over you will put off many poorer students.

    - We are a wealthy country (honestly) - dont believe them when they tell you that there is no other option.

  • Comment number 31.

    We pay for education for all through our taxes, however it is not free and it is not a right. It is given as an investment into the future by assuring that school leavers have sufficient knowledge and skills to make a contribution to society and hence the economy.

    We should not pay for further education that will not be of benefit to the economy i.e Political Science, Philosophy, Divinity, Social Work, Dancing, Ecology, and the like. If you want to do these you should pay for them yourself.

    We should not teach people of limited ability in schools with normal or gifted intelligence as this generally slows everyone down. We should weed out those that are destined for manual jobs or unemployment before high school, using a secondary education curriculum designed for that purpose. Students with higher asperations would recieve better education without the distractions of the socialist dogma that has dragged down education standards for years.

    Education primary, secondary and further should be a national service and not a breeding ground for anarchistic animals as seen in the last two or three weeks.

  • Comment number 32.

    Pensioners.

    They had free NHS care, dentists, generous benefits, full employment, low house prices, mortgage tax relief ad infinitum and now they want to continue sucking money out of the state while denying those opportunities to their own grandchildren. Their greed beggars belief.

  • Comment number 33.

    The education funding problem would be solved if fewer people were encouraged to attend university. In many cases human capital will be increased more by on the job training and experience than by studying something only loosely related to the job one eventually takes up. I am all in favour of those with genuine academic interest in their subject going to university but this should not be confused with vocational training.

    Let's get back to what university used to be about -- academic study motivated by pure curiousity in the subject rather than job training.

  • Comment number 34.

    Education up to the age of 18 should be paid for by the tax payer. Education after that should be paid for by a combination of a) tuition fees, b) sponsorships and c) bursaries / scholarships.

  • Comment number 35.

    The state should pay for those on low incomes to take vocational course such as science and technology. Those who choose non-vocational courses such as the spice girls and David Beckham subjects and those who have the finances should pay for the rest.

  • Comment number 36.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 37.

    2. At 1:01pm on 25 Nov 2010, scotty1694 wrote:
    "the taxpayer through the goverment? did this really need a HYS?

    also why do scotland get free degrees whch england pays towards yet we have to pay and we give scotland more money than we get back? isnt that itself a deficit? giving more to scotland and wales than we get back?"

    England is pretty much like Germany in the Euro,generate all money just to give it to other countries with champagne taste and lemonade pockets.

  • Comment number 38.

    Well, the students should pay. That's a shame, but you can thank successive governments - especially those like the last Labour administration - hell bent on getting as many people as possible through the university doors. As a consequence of this dumbing down policy (quantity, not quality), degrees are now worthless bits of paper that employers are taking less and less interest in. Thus we have more graduates who earn less during their careers and so have more difficulty paying off debts. University should be for the elite; life is not about "equality" and not everyone needs a degree. Degrees should be made to be worth something again.

  • Comment number 39.

    Various studies claim the average graduate will earn about £100k more in their lifetime than non-graducated. Now, that sounds a lot when you first see the figure.

    Another way to express this claim is : "The average graduate will earn £50 a week more than a non-graduate".

    Hmm, not such an impressive claim now, is it ?

  • Comment number 40.

    It has always been the system in The USA that you pay tour way through college/universtity good do it here.

    This would give students experience of work, the real world, which would be a wonderful asset to those going into politics, the current bunch have never worked and know nothing about real issues.

    The only problem right now, and for the forseeable future is there are no jobs.

  • Comment number 41.

    The beneficiary. The whole country benefits from a standard education level of its population and so that baseline should be paid for by the population.

    Above and beyond that baseline should be paid for again by the beneficiary which is a company or person. If it is worth a company to send you to university or training then they should pay, if your doing it in hope of a job but no promises then you yourself pay it.

    I should not be paying for a kid to have a new car just as I should not be paying for them to avoid work for a few years.

    I will point out however that this situation is not the fault of students but 100% the fault of labour for devaluing the degree.

  • Comment number 42.

    Hold on why should I as a tax-payer pay for somebody elses education...I'm not in charge of their welfare & their life & what they do with it is of no relevance to me..next people will be suggesting I should pay for Foreign students to come over & pretend to study aswell...how dare people suggest the tax-payer..if you want an education you or your family should foot the bill! & stop acting like Animals & showing your true colours when something doesnt go your way..too many spoilt people in Britain.

  • Comment number 43.

    A lot of people here are calling for the education of "doctors, surgeons" to be paid for by the taxpayers because they "are good for society". I'm not entirely sure why a person earning £30K a year should be subsidising the education of a doctor who will earn £100K+ a year, especially when they are also paying taxes for any healthcare they receive anyway.

  • Comment number 44.

    Its strange that those who benefitted from free tuition fees prior to 1997 are not saying that they are prepared to cough up £27000 to cover the cost of their education! No ALL they can say is that their children will NOT have what they enjoyed, and to think that those same people who benefitted CREATED the problems that are forcing rising tuition fees!!

    I think that ALL those who benefitted from free degree tuition fees should be retrospectively charged a minimum of £27000 to cover the cost of their education!!

    Lets see just how fast the new fees would be scrapped then!!

    It makes my blood boil to see the beneficiaries of a tuition fee free education calling the future of this country scroungers and anarchists all I can say is keep up the protests you are in the right and have my FULL support.

  • Comment number 45.

    In the past when far fewer people went to university we could afford to have the state pay for those fortunate few. Now that so many more go on to further education that is not an affordable option.

    So what choice do we have? Simple- those who gain directly from further education through increased wages should contribute towards their education.

    Until the age of 30 I worked in retail earning £12000 a year. I then went to university and got a computing degree and £14000 of student debt and now earn over £33000 a year. I made an investment in my future and am now gettting the benefit, although I have to pay back about £150 a month in student loan repayments. If I had gone back to working in a low paid job I wouldn't have had to pay back any of the loan. What's unfair about that?

  • Comment number 46.

  • Comment number 47.

    Yes but incentives and grants should be available for Science degrees,bio science,engineering,and technology.

    Grants should be available for the long term unemployed (two years or more between the ages of 40-65 for 100%)to help access into work.

    This will not include medicine although direct sponsored entry for suitable candidates should be given to long term unemployed with guarantees of jobs for up to one year.

    Education should not be front end loaded and tax relief on fees should be given to those wanting to undertake study whilst working partime or get back into the workplace after illness.

  • Comment number 48.

    I doubt whether peoples views have changed much since the last time there was abn almost identical HYS question a few weeks ago.
    Most people believe there's some magical difference between GCSE's and post GCSE qualifications that mean the latter should not be paid for by the state.

  • Comment number 49.

    8. At 1:09pm on 25 Nov 2010, Bob wrote:
    We need engineers and scientists not namby pamby lawyers, accountants and others with "media studies" non-degrees. All technology subjects should be free with charges only made if the grad drops out. All others should be made to pay the full tuition and incidental oncosts with a markup to subsidise the tech subjects
    ---------------------------------------------------------

    Bob, I write as an accountant with an IT degree.
    Way back, I recall an IT lecturer one day saying words to the effect of 'Accountants, two a penny..', ie the future is brighter if you are an IT-er than an accountant.
    Years later, I know of no unemployed accountants.
    But I have met plenty of IT people who were either unemployed or left IT entirely.
    Agreed we need more scientists, engineers, etc.
    But the demand for lawyers & accountants will always be there, because the training is hard & the exams rigorous.

  • Comment number 50.

    There seems to be lots of attacks on the arts, graphic design and media studies as subjects which do not benefit the country.
    Who do you think work in advertising, fashion design, product design, wallpaper design, greeting card publishers, medical illustration, technical illustration, book illustration, TV graphics, ceramic, jewelry, logo design and hundreds of other related 'arts' based jobs.
    Look around you and most of what you see has been designed....it does not just happen.
    We are so used to design that we are blind to appreciate that its the designers that persuade you to bye a product....you can produce as many things as you can but without it being attractive to the eye or touch they will stay on the shelves.

  • Comment number 51.

    A certain level of contribution from the student seems reasonable - however what a lot of people forget is that if the degree leads to the graduate having higher earnings, they will be paying more tax and national insurance over their lifetime than without the degree.

    I was one of the lucky ones - tuition fees were introducted the year I began my degree (1998) and my parents were low earners so we didn't have to pay. However, I still came out with £11k debt ('maintenance loans' for rent and food, etc) that I am still paying off 9 years after graduating. It will take a lifetime to pay off the £30k plus that most students look like owing now!

    My degree was worth the debt though - my first job (ACA training contract) paid around £6k more per year than if I hadn't had a degree and opened up a world of possibilities - including a secondment to Australia. It has also meant that I have paid more tax and NI over my working career than I would have done without my degree. Surely my c.£1k per month deductions over a working lifetime (and likely to rise) is more than enough to cover my education as well as contributions towards healthcare and any pension (if any) that I will get at retirement?

    So ultimately the tax payer should fund higher education because, in the long run, the students will pay back the costs through their higher tax and NI contributions that result from the higher earnings.

  • Comment number 52.

    Given the antics of some of the idiots on parade yesterday we are educating the uneducatable at vast expense. The criminal element should be dealt with harshly.

    We need to get past the idea that everyone needs to go to University. There is no point in some of these degrees (Media Sudies, Photogrpahy etc)and if they get shut down then so much the better.

    Realism time....pay for what you have or don't have it. Don't expect me to pay for you to doss about for 3 or 4 years partying at my expense and come out with a degree in waste disposal.....

  • Comment number 53.

    Hang on a minute, yesterday the universities said that not having thousands of foreign students would destroy universities in the UK .... now its their inability to charge billions extra in fee's

    There are too many universities, and far far too many rubbish courses, for students who would never have gone in the past (check your local town hall for where they end up) .... the drop out rates (and the amount of thuggery being caused on our streets) are a good clue as to how unready for university many students are now ..

  • Comment number 54.

    This is an odd question...?

    Education should be done in schools up to 18 years old and should be free???


    Training at university should be a partnership between the benificiary and the state (if they stay).In china if you don't pass you will need to pay back all the grant you receive....why not in this country? as long as pass rates are kepted at 70% by law!

  • Comment number 55.

    We'd not be in this mess if it was not for Labour's fantastic idea that 50% of people should have a degree.

    Because of this stupid brain-wave, Labour destroyed higher education in the UK.

    So the way to fix it is to go back to the numbers before Labour's ruinous social experiment.

  • Comment number 56.

    11. At 1:14pm on 25 Nov 2010, 45minutewarning wrote:

    2 Things:
    (1) Graduates will tend to get higher-paid jobs and therefore pay more tax anyway. So they will be paying for others to go to University
    (2) We all pay for different things through our taxes - some we agree with , some we don't

    We could completely abolish the concept of "society" and have a nation where we pay no taxes and we only pay for what we personally need at the time we need it. It was tried before and is known as the "Stone Age"

    My point is that if you want a modern higher education system then those of us in work have to help pay for it otherwise we'll only have education for the rich and not for our children

    ------------------------

    There is a problem with this assessment. Point (1) used to be correct but now it is wrong. Students going into uni and leaving with debt to find there are no jobs. If they get the job they want it doesnt pay as high as advertised. And most importantly the prices of labour are based on the price to hire people. With imported workforce who will work for far less (skilled or not) we cannot compete.

    So while a degree is becoming the entry level requirement for some jobs, the actual wage associated is falling.

  • Comment number 57.

    The Vice Chancellors benefited from state funded education (both fees and means tested grants) yet now expect (in cahoots with politicians) their children and grandchildren to incur enormous debts to gain the same privilege they got for free.

    There are several inconsistencies in the fees proposal:

    1) it is claimed that graduates earn, on average, an additional £100K in their life than non graduates. Firstly, this figure applies to graduates of the past when there were much fewer of them. Secondly, anyone who incurs a debt of £50K (fees plus living costs) to gain a return of £100K over a 40 year period has been very badly advised. That is a very poor investment return.

    2) It is claimed that the low paid are subsidising the better off to fund them through university. This isn't true, any more than the well paid are subsidising those out of work. The low paid are barely covering (if at all) their own cost to society let alone anyone else's. I don't have a problem with that: We pay our taxes according to our means and parliament decides how that tax gets spent. The moment we get into a debate about who's taxes are funding other people for some public service we don't use ourselves right now, then we are on a slippery slope to societal breakdown.

    3) It is claimed that those who do not earn a lot won't have to repay much or anything. Do we know how many this may apply to? If the government is going to write this money off, then this means the public is still paying for this education AND not getting a decent return in terms of taxes paid on higher than average earnings.

    4) Graduates of my day, paid for by the state, have felt a moral obligation to society to repay that through economic contributions to the UK. In my own case the taxpayers of the Heath and Wilson/Callaghan governments have seen a very high rate of return on that investment in me. But graduates of the future will see no such obligation. Instead of being A&E surgeon, medical graduates will want to become plastic surgeons (possibly in California); Maths and physical science graduates will want to become investment bankers; others will simply move abroad for whatever deal they can get. How does this help the UK economy and society?

    5) Graduates that can command a premium on their skills will simply transfer their loans to their employer either as higher salary or cash to repay the loans. That cost will simply be transferred to their customers (ie us) so society indirectly picks the tab up for the higher paid graduates as well as the low paid ones. This does not sound a great deal for the taxpayer.

    6) The government must still advance the loans in the first place. Where does this money come from? Clearly it's an off balance sheet debts as the debt is notionally incurred by the students. And if it gets written off it then goes against the balance sheet of UK PLC.

    7) It is claimed the fees are paid by graduates not students. I'm afraid this subtlety is rather lost on students. They just know that if they go to university they get a high debt. What happens to students who don't graduate? Does the debt get written off immediately (I somehow think not!)?

    So, it really isn't clear this new fee regime satisfies any party, except, perhaps the VCs who can claim it as a victory and set fees to reflect their prestige and that of their institution and then retire.

    Like other policies, it is not clear how adding to debt solves a debt problem!

  • Comment number 58.

    Taxpayers should pay for a fully funded, free at the point of use, education system for everyone in this country up to and including an undergraduate degree level of training - be that academic or vocational equivalence.

    Everyone should have the opportunity to realise their potential - and cramming kids into classes of 35 to 'watch' a science experiment performed by the teacher (because there isn't enough equipment/supervision for the kids to try themselves) isn't going to inspire any youngster to take education seriously.

    Or we could just give up the notion that education (especially at primary and secondary level) isn't really about teaching out children anything. It's about having babysitters so that both parents can go out to work to earn enough money to pay their mortgage/rent and bills and keep 'economy' ticking over for shareholders.

    But wait...if we don't educate the young in this country and we continually put obstacles in their path for advanced qualifications, just who exactly is going to keep the 'economy' ticking over and pay the taxes needed for the pensions and social care needs of those who have retired? If most of the kids these days only grow up to earn minimum wage (if it hasn't been abolished) how much would we have to tax them?

    As has been said before - it's unseemly for the parents of today to be borrowing money from their children.

  • Comment number 59.

    YES!!!

    Students should pay for their own education, I object strongly that I as a taxpayer am expected to pay for someone else's child to get a further education. Having seen how the great unwashed, behaved at yesterdays riots, I would willingly close down every University in the UK until these morons learned how to behave.

    We the taxpayer have now got to pick up the bill for all the vandalism that the yobs have created.......and these are our future. NO THANKS!!!

  • Comment number 60.

    Its just sad and unjust that the generation imposing these punitive fees on future generations all benefited from free University education and therefore the attractive salaries they now earn! However, the financial situation the country now faces means that it is impossible for the taxpayer to fund free University education for all.
    Subjects of academic and scientific benefit to the country should be part-funded by the State, as it will ultimately benefit from good doctors, scientists etc. Nothing/hobby degrees, such as media studies, should be fully funded by students.

  • Comment number 61.

    28. At 1:29pm on 25 Nov 2010, noblesid wrote:
    the Students should pay for all eduction they recieve in FE or HE


    Says someone who appears not to have benefited from education upto age 16!

  • Comment number 62.

    I have not studied at a university and have no children. I am willing to pay the increased income tax neccessary to fund suitable students through their studies, providing the very well paid and very rich businesses all pay their share, with no nonsense about tax havens being accepted by the tax authorites. At present far too many people are attending univesities - just look at the jobs graduates get when they eventually find something. Let's keep university education for those who can really benefit from it - and make sure they have a full productive learning experience, unencumbered with fears of a lifetime of debt.

  • Comment number 63.

    23. At 1:26pm on 25 Nov 2010, Slave to the System - I am not a number wrote:
    At University there are 3 types of student:

    1. Foreign student, head down works very hard.
    2. British Student majority, having a laugh and doing just enough.

    Guess who had to pay most for their education. Foriegn students know and respect the value of a good education. Our students because its "free" do not respect the value or that someone has to pay for it.

    -------------------------

    And the third kind??? Do they know the difference between two and three?

  • Comment number 64.

    Jesus, I already seemed to be paying more and more to subsidise the wasters of this country so I may as well get my wallet out and fund all these students wanting to get a degree in Harry Potter or whatever the latest fad degree is. The students complain that it creates a division of class with only the rich able to afford a further education. It's actually gong to create a division between the taxpayers and those who want everything for free.

  • Comment number 65.

    The people that are using it!, they will benefits from the opportunities it generates and in turn make more money than the people without it

    ----------
    Would you apply this philosophy to Nurses,Teachers,Paramedics and the many other necessary occupations which don't pay particularly well but now all require a degree?

    I would suggest that the person who benefits most from a competent nurse or teacher for example isn't the degree holder it is the patient or student.

  • Comment number 66.

    22. At 1:26pm on 25 Nov 2010, Jack Napier wrote:

    Who should pay for education?

    We should all pay.

    Myself and anyone else over 30 had their tuition fees payed by the state.

    We've had our free ride, and now we're expecting the next generation to pay £30,000 to get what we had for free?

    Thats the the kind of smug 'I'm all right Jack' hypocrisy that sums up everything thats wrong with modern society.

    --------------------------------

    I hear this argument every time but it assumes what you got for free is the same as what they get now. Back then you got it free but it was worth something. Someone with a degree had drive and ability. The qualification was a promotion that you could do the job and were capable.

    Now it means nothing of the sort. It now means your an entry level job seeker with as much hope as everyone else. There are jobs where experience trumps degree qualifications because they are worth so little. But the price keeps rising.

    So the only solution is to reduce the number of students and re-value the degree.

  • Comment number 67.

    Students have every right to protest about this, and if they protest aggressively then so be it. The government isn't afraid of placards and peaceful demonstrations.

    How can the government invest 8 billion to railways, offer 7 billion to Ireland and still say that higher education is no longer affordable. It is absolutely hypocritical.

    We pay taxes in the UK for public service in the UK, and definitely not so businesses can get an easy ride and get away with massive tax evasion.

    I hope that students continue to protest until this government understand that they work for us as much as we work for them.

  • Comment number 68.

    If the Government wants everyone to be Educated too a standard so that they can go looking for Jobs that don't Exist then the only way forward is for Education to be for ALL FREE, since afterall NO ONE currently in Government had to pay a single penny for THEIR Education, therefore - Why should anyone whom is in Education now have to pay today.

    If Members of the Governments Millionaires Club think paying for your Education is so good for everyone, then lets be seeing these very same Elitist pay back what it cost them to be Educated. Otherwise:

    The Motto here should be, lead by example and not by the Greed of being RICH.

    As for the Lie/Dems, they ALL should NOW stand down and allow People to Vote again in By-Elections whereby any would be MPs' can be elected that DON'T break their Pledges to their Voters.

  • Comment number 69.

    27. At 1:29pm on 25 Nov 2010, Rowan wrote:
    We should return to the system of 30 years ago - dramatically reduce the number of places available, allocate the places on merit only (not privilege) and have state funding for tuition and student grants.

    -------------------------------------

    Good plan.

  • Comment number 70.

    The government on behalf of the tax payer, with the recipient repaying their debts through the higher taxes on their future earnings or in full if they emigrate within a twenty year period or fail to take up a job related to that course.

    Funding should only be given to courses which are approved by the government based on their future skills predications and only given to those who best qualify for the course.

    Any other courses should be self-funded and maybe we go back to the HNC/HND routes.

    Of course this all relies on high employment in the future and therein lies the problem because without doubt many a graduate will remain unemployed unless the politicians start doing something positive about creating jobs.


  • Comment number 71.

    We should return to the system of 30 years ago - dramatically reduce the number of places available, allocate the places on merit only (not privilege) and have state funding for tuition and student grants.

    --------------
    By 2020 30% of all occupations will be degree only. If you want to be a Nurse , Teacher,Social Worker, Accountant,Management Trainee etc you don't have any choice .

    If we are going to cut the number of places this has to be done in combination with employers both private and public.

  • Comment number 72.

    Every two months I pay in tax an NI the amount that the state paid to educate me (via grants and course fees); quite clearly it was a good investment for them, and I have been in work for twenty seven years (my wife has a similar story). Neither of us would have a degree if the state hadn't paid us while we studied.
    Therefore it make sense to view this as a state investment in young people (rather that a tax on working people). I would agree that some courses don't lead to employment and that maybe should be looked at.
    Incidentally, its nice to see engineers highly regarded by HSAers; in my twenty seven year career as an engineer I can assure that you that British employers view engineers as expendable cogs with little value to their businesses.

  • Comment number 73.

    With three times as many graduating as back in the 80s, how can we ask the nation's youth to mortgage their futures, for a peice of paper that is no longer a gold standard?
    Instead of turning the clock back so only the wealthy benefit from further education, why not slash the places so funding per student can rise?

  • Comment number 74.

    I have no objection to the government cutting places at University, but I do have an objection to the fees being increased so dramatically. There are far too many students at University anyway.

    Whatever happened to normal Colleges and Technical Colleges that took on students doing the more vocational courses, leaving Universities to concentrate on academic desgrees.

    Any student who comes from a poor or deprived background should be offered a free scholarship as long as he/she has the intelligence and the right qualifications for the course.

  • Comment number 75.

    Taxes should pay for education.
    So simply raise taxes on the very wealthy, put in another Tax tier say 70% at £100,000, and we could pay for a free education for all.
    And pay of the debt at the same time.

    Its not rocket science, but we made need rocket scientist one day, and judging from yesterdays activities the ones keen to get into explosives where the ones on the streets, we should be channeling that exuberance through education, not pushing another generation on the scrap heap like Thatcher managed when I was those students' age.

  • Comment number 76.

    I'm Ok with the state (ie my taxes) paying if we return to the sensible numbers at uni 30yrs ago, which was affordable. If society wishes everyone to go to Uni then its unaffordable for the state to pay. I have 2 children at Uni at present. One lives at home, works 20hrs per week in a local office, spends very little and has only a small debt. She is studying dentistry and will hopefully find work and pay off her loan when graduating. My other child is studying history,(and in my personal view, isnt really uni material), chose to go to London which is obviously expensive, doesnt work, spends his holidays at various festivals and is in debt upto his eyeballs. So how much debt you have is upto you. All I can say is that it hasnt cost me a penny. It was their choice and its their debt. How anyone can say that uni will only be for rich kids I dont know. I support my children in many post 18, but financially they are responsible for themselves.

  • Comment number 77.

    University fees should be means tested, those that can afford to pay should pay. Increases in taxes on the rich will pay for those that cannot afford to go to university.

  • Comment number 78.

    At 1:09pm on 25 Nov 2010, Bob wrote:
    "All technology subjects should be free with charges only made if the grad drops out. All others should be made to pay the full tuition and incidental oncosts with a markup to subsidise the tech subjects"


    Which is fine but who exactly is going to teach your children to read and write, to understand Shakespeare (an author people in Britain should be proud to learn about)or to understand what Britain has achieved in this world if no one is to be encouraged to do classical subjects such as English or History?

  • Comment number 79.

    In some professions, Nursing being one, standards appear to have dropped since they became graduate only entry. Any nurse training in the 1970s had a rigorous training, difficult exams and could qualify able to run a ward to a high standard (clean, patients fed, cleans and cared for). Nurses now graduate with almost no ward experience, expect that "dirty jobs" are beneath them (they're graduates, right!), and have no concept of caring for patients.

  • Comment number 80.

    "13. At 1:20pm on 25 Nov 2010, Confuciousfred wrote:
    As a struggling taxpayer I cannot afford to pay for the education of other parent's children especially since most graduates will be attracted by the idea to emigrate to find work overseas. If they want a university education they should be adults and pay for their own continued education, and not be a parasite on the backs of the taxpaying public."

    Unfortunately if they borrow money to 'pay their way', as intended with the new scheme, and then emigrate you'll still be lumped with their tuition fee debt as a taxpayer because the student will not be pursued overseas for the debt. It will be written off after they've been abroad for a couple of years.

    I know several people who have emigrated almost immediately after their degrees (in medicine, dentistry, engineering) and have paid virtually nothing back from what they borrowed in student loans - and now they don't have to.

    Ultimately the British taxpayer has paid for another country to benefit from a highly trained and qualified graduate.

    I'd much prefer it if the taxpayer had paid and received some long-term benefit from our graduates.

  • Comment number 81.

    10. At 1:12pm on 25 Nov 2010, stu wrote:
    You want higher education, YOU pay for it. End of.
    ---------------------------------------------------
    You want a good education system.
    You want doctors and nurses and a health system fit for purpose.
    You want a legal system that works.
    You want houses.
    You want construction of essential services and infrastructure.
    You want a credible financial system.


    You pay for it.

  • Comment number 82.

    Churchill once said that the greatest argument against democracy is a 5-minute chat with an average voter.

    The greatest argument against free university education is 5 minutes with your average uppity, hedonistic, whiny, middle-class brat who think that the average Joe taxpayer that they despise sooo much, owes them a free 3-year orgy of drink and vandalism (with an odd lecture thrown in when they can be bothered to get up in the afternoon), just so that they can leapfrog him on the career ladder. Free education, like free speech, sounds fantastic, but when you look at the people that take advantage of these things you wonder why we bother.

    For the record, I funded my own degree with my own money and whatever I could cajole out of my employers.

    My own thoughts are that the State should fund, via bursaries, certain degrees in which there are skills shortages, or that are in certain specified subjects. These could include science, engineering, social work, teaching, and, if necessary, media studies as well. These could be applied for using a fair process that relies on intelligence and suitability, not just exam results (to avoid all the places being taken up by rich dimwits, or those that attended selective schools). Other subjects should be charged for as appropriate by the university, paid for by the student (via a loan if necessary), and be subject to their usual admittance criteria.

  • Comment number 83.

    I think it best to withold comments from this discussion. It was probably suggested by the coalition in order to narrow the debate on education, its value, the future of our country, to a simplistic discussion on cost.

    Who should pay for education? Next - Health, next - transport , next - whatver comes to mind.

    And the usual sheep on HYS will do the coalition's work, arguing for cut backs (sorry BBC, reforms is your word) and limited entitlment.

  • Comment number 84.

    We should have a system of scholarships. If your family income is below a threshold you should apply for and fight for a scholarship to cover all your costs in taking a three year degree. If you are in fact in the top percentage of the brightest people and prove it through scholarship 'entrance' IQ based exams and you want to study art then you should be able to. What this country needs is not necessarily plentiful maths, science and biology graduates but bright people who have been trained how to 'learn' and master difficult intellectual concepts. The training to be a brain surgeon or an astronaut comes when you stop being a school kid and enter the adult world...whether that is at 16 or 21! And looking and listening to some of the kids on the rampage in London lately you have to think that discouraging these very average teenagers from attending uni has to be a good thing. Alma mater ever said to me was wash behind your ears...the London yobbos have clearly to be told to dry there as well!!

  • Comment number 85.

    For people saying that students should pay for the fees, do they not understand that the debt bestowed upon graduating students will make the system exclusive to those financially better off. This will drive the class system further apart and make high paying jobs only available to those who can afford the education needed for entry.

    You cannot expect people to earn their way out of a low income existence if you make higher education unavailable to them.

  • Comment number 86.

    The student. Obviously.

    Haven't we had this question before?

  • Comment number 87.

    the gap between rich and poor has debased the importance of student education.There is a need to put an end to the English version of keeping the best for themselves and use the democracy available for educational needs to help students unable to contribute to their fees.
    The government is tracking back wards instead of going forward,if to listen to the high claim fees voiced by universities.It is time for universities to step down from their high kingdom of rule on finance and tighten the spending order of their dream world of competition.

  • Comment number 88.

    Most degrees could be completed in about 18 months instead of 3 years if you used the time better. Students seem to spend most of the first year and a half partying before knuckling down for the final push.

    Why do I also want to contribute to courses that are meaningless in the working world and will have no benefit to society or the economy?

    On that basis I'll pay provided it is for 'proper' degrees in subjects like medicine, engineering etc, and the courses have learning 5 days a week with trerm time on the same basis as schools.

    Otherwise pay for it yourself.

    p.s. I am doing an Open University Degree AND I'm paying for it myself.

  • Comment number 89.

    I'm sorry to see the 'the technical people should go free and others should pay/subsidise the engineers, doctors etc' posts above. I agree that sport, some media and graphics subjects and so forth have been getting wholly out of hand; but the Humanities are vital and must be kept in balance - the very title spells out why. We don’t spend our lives on the surgeon’s table, in the GP’s office, or making use of the latest high-tech gadget: there’s rather more to life than that!

    There needs to be a back-pedalling, at speed, of Tony Blair's 'everybody must go to university' spiel, with his target of 50% by soon. University isn't necessary, nor even desirable, for a whole range of satisfying ways of making a living. And you don't need a degree to be a nurse. Certainly, some aspects of nursing require a level of knowledge; but nursing comes down to basic care, of which (from my own observations during my Mum's recent hospital stays) there is precious little left. Yet nursing cures far more people than doctors, considered across the board (from major surgery to children's upset tummies).

    As for who should fund university courses: the state should. Maybe in the short term students should continue to make a contribution (definitely no bigger than the one they make now, and preferably less: my own daughter is struggling with her debts now); but I do wish people could unhinge their thinking from 'the student benefits and nobody else does' and appreciate the comments of Darwins Chimp at 6, above.

    The nation benefits from university education of its young (in appropriate subjects: not sport and leisure!). That's you and me. If people can't afford to go and learn to be doctors, you and I will suffer when we need their services. If they can't afford to become engineers, we shall have to buy in skills - very expensively - from abroad. Good grief, we risk becoming a Third World country, economically and technologically speaking! If they can't afford to study English literature and the performing arts, our lives will be the more impoverished. (That's just a throwaway example: for heaven's sake let's not get side-tracked into the merits and demerits of English as a subject per se!!)

    People discover, design, create things every day that benefit them, personally, not one whit but benefit tens of thousands of others a great deal. So who's the beneficiary here?! And that all supposes that students will leave and fall into really-well-paid jobs in the first place. Many students are unable to find work - my daughter spent her first year out of university working at B&Q, but with unemployment continuing to rise, even jobs like that won't be available. So their education will end up costing them nothing, except the worry and burden of responsibility of the debt; and the state will recoup nothing. And despite David Hewitt's tricksy semantics, debt is exactly what it is: it's a sum of money that the investor expects to be repaid. Other graduates will find work, but at too low a salary to ever start paying back. In that case, the nation may well benefit from their studies, but they themselves most certainly won't.

    The point was well-made on Young People's Question Time last night, by Ed Byrne, that higher education is being ruthlessly made subject to market forces (David Hewitt seemed delighted to be able to agree) when the decisions that take young people to university in the first place, and the fine-tuning of which university, where, and offering precisely what, are about as far removed from market forces as it's possible to get.

    David Cameron wants to create a survey of happiness because 'not everything can be measured by GDP'. He needs to join up his shattered thinking, put his money where his mouth is, and prove it.

    We benefit, all of us. We should pay.

    And while we're at it - the LibDem policy of no fees is a dream for the future; but, having pledged to abolish fees, every LibDem MP should vote against them, whether it will make a difference or not. Not just abstain - vote against. A promise is a promise: dishonouring it, if they want to retain even the smallest shred of credibility, is not an option.

  • Comment number 90.

    With regard to the protesting students and school pupils, they are doing no more or no less than other groups have done in the past and still do, in order to show how strong their feelings are with regard to the increase in Uni fees, and good luck to them. Unfortunately their numbers seem to have been infiltrated by the normal rent-a-mob idiots who are making the situation bad for the genuine students with a grievance.

    When the Lib Debs say that they can't do anything about it because they did not win the election, that is just a cop out as far as I am concerned. The Tories didn't win the election either but that hasn't stopped them. Whether the Lib Dems like it or not they are part of the coalition government, Nick Clegg is even the deputy PM, so as such they have a responsibility to their electorate to keep to the pledge they signed.

  • Comment number 91.

    Another HYS was asking if people agree with the cap on skilled workers from outside the EU.

    Most agreed that we should have the cap - some thought that it should be zero.

    Well if that's what you want, you need to train people to do the skilled jobs. And you have to pay for that.

    You either pay to train people to do the jobs or you employ skilled people from elsewhere. You can't do both!

  • Comment number 92.

    Sure, "free" education has to be paid for. We all pay for it, through taxes and all the imaginative ways that governments have of extracting money from their citizens. But education benefits all of society, not just those who are directly on the receiving end of it. It benefits everyone in society that we have a well-educated, creative and independently-minded population. To reduce these skills to a cynical calculation of the bottom line is wrong both socially and morally.

    OK, you want to charge HE students the full whack? Why stop there? Let's charge secondary school pupils the full cost of their education as well. And let's not leave primary school pupils out of this either - why not make them pay the full costs of their education as well? If anything, teaching someone the basic skills of literacy and numeracy is far more important and far more enabling to the individual than any university course. As for those toddlers in early years - well, all of that paint and craft paper doesn't come cheap. Make 'em pay!

    We should get ourselves out of the mindset that universities are elitist institutions to which only the sharp-elbowed middle classes should be entitled access. As a country and as a society, we should consider education in its entirety from early years to graduation. We should not make any distinction at any level about the ability to pay for it.

    I am shocked and appalled at the alarming number of mean-spirited, heartless and selfish individuals posting here who are unable to think beyond their own tiny little world and their own self-absorption.

  • Comment number 93.

    Those idiots that go round smashing things up what a load of useless individuals , bring back conscription or the birch if they want to behave like morons then they should be treated like them ; I suppose the taxpayer foots all the repair bills ?

  • Comment number 94.

    The Big Problem is the way the Cuts and the Underlying Problems have been handled from day one.

    People can clearly see many better off will continue benefiting greatly while those less well off suffer, it's perceived as Not Fair, which fuels the trouble, which will just get worse.

    In the Students case it appears obvious the better off teaching staff 25K and above (overall a great many, some on 65K+) will not suffering at all relatively speaking, it's staff and pension costs that largely dictate the cost of education, to present fairness cuts should first fall here.

    The same logic can be applied to all areas.

    We should not forget that low pay and excessive credit partly led us to where we are now, but it seems (to most) that none of those responsible are suffering at all, if anything they are reaping greater rewards (bankers and government policy makers).

    The other main cause, runaway public sector growth, excessive pay, pensions and poor efficiency, this traces back to government policy makers, isn't this where the pain should first be seen to inflicted?

  • Comment number 95.

    42. At 1:37pm on 25 Nov 2010, bestoftherest wrote:
    Hold on why should I as a tax-payer pay for somebody elses education...I'm not in charge of their welfare & their life & what they do with it is of no relevance to me..next people will be suggesting I should pay for Foreign students to come over & pretend to study aswell...how dare people suggest the tax-payer..if you want an education you or your family should foot the bill! & stop acting like Animals & showing your true colours when something doesnt go your way..too many spoilt people in Britain.


    You could argue why should the taxpayer fund the unemployed who chose to leave school with no or poor qualifications and so are unemployed because of it? Why should the taxpayer fund NHS care for those who do not care for their health? Why should non-car drivers pay for roads? Why should those living in low crime areas pay for policing in areas of high crime?

    In each case (and most others where taxpayers fund services they do not themselves use) the argument is social cohesion and investments for the common good of society. A highly educated workforce is a pre-requisite to compete in the global economy in the 21st century. The whole country benefits as well as the individuals and the individuals return that investment in the higher taxes they pay and economic prosperity they bring to others.

  • Comment number 96.

    bestoftherest wrote "Hold on why should I as a tax-payer pay for somebody elses education... what they do with it is of no relevance to me ..."

    So, the surgeon who rids you of your cancer, the engineer whose bridge you travel over in your car designed by other engineers and designers, the plumber who fixes your pipes, the artist who inspires your daughter ...

    none of them deserves your help?

    Good luck on your island of one.


    Student protests? Good luck to them!

    Nothing in this land was earned without protest, even violent protest. Votes for women, ridding ourselves of the iniquitous 'Poll tax' ...

  • Comment number 97.

    1. At 1:00pm on 25 Nov 2010, Poddy100 wrote:
    "The people that are using it!, they will benefits from the opportunities it generates and in turn make more money than the people without it"

    Yes, and being higher earners would pay more tax and thus end up paying for it anyway. Although I went to university when it was free, I reckon I have paid back the fees many times over through tax. Did you pay to go to school?

  • Comment number 98.

    If the government wishes me to support my own child through her education - and she's smart enough to benefit from university if she so wishes - will they please take their hands out of my pocket so that I have the wherewithall to do so!

  • Comment number 99.

    It's not mandatory to go to university so students should stop their bleating and pay. Alternatively they could try something radical like getting a job.

  • Comment number 100.

    Every company that has an indian call-centre to serve UK customers should pay. Every company that takes on one of the "skilled non EU migrants" should pay. And companies that do 90% of business in the UK but have their HQ elsewhere should pay. All of these companies are taking away jobs from these graduates and other people which in turn gives the government a reduced tax revenue.
    We need to keep young people in education as there are no jobs for them. Apprenticeships need to come back as well, for those that do not want to go to Uni.
    Comprehensives have been a failure. If everyone that wants to go to Uni needs a A*A*A* exam to even get a place, then something has gone wrong. How come so many students have AAA degrees when they leave school. That cannot be right? My daughter is 15 and she was pushed last year to decide what she wants to study (other options weren't even considered by the school). How can anyone decide at that age and be expected not to change their mind? This is far too much pressure too young while on the other hand not giving pupils a balanced education in a broad range of subjects. It has all gone wrong and sadly it is too late for most kids in this country who are now not able to work as there are no jobs and not able to go to Uni, as it is too expensive and most likely impossible to get a place. Stupid. A generation with no future - and they wonder why pupils are so lacklustre about school....

 

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