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Will higher university fees create elitism?

10:48 UK time, Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Students in universities in England face tuition fees of up to £9,000 per year from 2012 under government proposals to be announced today. Will this deter people from higher education?

The plans which follow Lord Browne's recent funding review could see institutions charge £6,000 per year with an upper limit of £9,000. Universities charging this higher amount would have to do more to help students from poorer backgrounds gain access to these courses.

The changes will mean many arts and humanities courses would become dependent on fee income, rather than state funding.

Ministers claim the changes will mean a sustainable funding system for universities. Student unions have warned that MPs will face a "huge backlash".

Will these changes stop you from going to university? Are you worried about education funding for your children? Do you work in higher education? Do you think the government's plans the best way to fund higher education? Will certain courses suffer more?

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

Comments

Page 1 of 9

  • Comment number 1.

    Will higher university fees create elitism? No.

  • Comment number 2.

    So essentially, what the government is saying is that, if you live in England and you aren't from a wealthy background, you're not going to go to university.

    Right now my son is 8 years away from making a decision about studying for a degree, but if this trend for raising fees in higher education continues then by the time he is ready it's going to be around £15k a year to study. There is no way a single parent like me could afford that, and there is no way I'm letting my child get into £45k of debt before he's even got a job!

    How come Scotland are able to provide free university places? Don't we pay for them too?

  • Comment number 3.

    It will only deter those students who aren't ambitious enough to get themselves into massive debt on the promise that they might just earn more money once they have graduated.

    But then nothing is guaranteed in life and it is more likely they will end up working in a call centre.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2010/sep/22/call-centres-rise-graduate-applicants

  • Comment number 4.

    This seems a very fair price to pay for further education, which is entirely optional.

    It's about the same cost as an average second-hand car, which parents happily fork out when the time comes. Elitizm has nothing to do with it.

  • Comment number 5.

    It is irresponsible NOT to invest in the future.

    It is unfair to continually increase the burden on prospective students and their families. In the US, where privately-funded tertiary education is the norm, you start a 'college fund' for your children before you actually have them! Parents in this country have not been given the lead time to save up to support their children in gaining an education, as it has long been the accustomed practice for the state to pay its share in ensuring well-educated young people are ready to take their place in the future workforce.

    By moving away from this model so quickly, the government is yet again reneging on its obligations to the citizens of this country, obligations it has been paid - through taxation - to meet.

  • Comment number 6.

    Day light robbery by the so called leaders...they ought to hang thier heads in shame!

  • Comment number 7.

    naturally it will, there are thousands from university who are in the wrong job, many who are unable to get jobs. increase prices and the less well off cannot afford, graduate jobs balance out over a few years and the rich stay rich

  • Comment number 8.

    Of course higher fees will deter people from going to university. That's a no-brainer; first lesson of the 'A' Level (never mind degree) economics course, supply and demand.

    Sure the money can be borrowed, but borrowings have to be paid back, with interest. It won't stop everyone from applying, but far fewer will be willing to run up massive debts with which to start their careers (facing the prospect of the property ladder, marriage + children, etc.).

    And, of course, the people most deterred with be the students from poorer families, to the extent that any 'assistance' (grants, scholarships, etc.) doesn't compensate.

  • Comment number 9.

    Well, many people seem to want a considerable reduction in the numbers going to university. It looks as though this is going to happen, which means that Britain falls even further behind in the education stakes. Will there be any point in studying hard at school, if university becomes out of reach? I forecast a move to studying in foreign universities, where costs can be considerably lower, though how this would benefit Britain I do not know. The country will have to rely on the wealthy to run it for the benefit of all, and you know, I'm not sure that's going to happen.

  • Comment number 10.

    No it won't bbc. It just means that we might actually get decent courses attended by REAL students.

  • Comment number 11.

    Kuradi Vitukari wrote:
    Will higher university fees create elitism? No.

    ---------------------------------------------------
    Shouldn't that read is a pigs backside pork or; is the pope a Catholic.

    University education at this cost means that only those who are able to start their working lives live with debt of £27,000 in fees , plus £12,000 in accomodation fees plus living costs of forr example £12,000 (based on current Income support levels for a single person.
    So that's the total of £51,000 in debt before you start.

    And that won't mean education for the elite?

    There we are then.

  • Comment number 12.

    Will higher university fees create elitism?

    Of course.

    Just think of how much parents are prepared to pay to send their children to schools such as Eaton, Harrow or Rugby.

    Universities like Oxford, Cambridge and LSE will be able to charge similar fees and wealthy parents will pay them.

    I'm sure that there will be more scholarships available for the poor-but-super-bright kids, just so these Unis can hang on to their reputation for academic excellence, but in these days when so many kids are getting three 'A's at a-level i suspect they'll be ablle to stuff their institutions with 70% super rich kids to 30% scholarships.

    So for all intents and purposes the increase in tuition fees will make higher education far more elitist than it is now.

  • Comment number 13.

    I don't see what everyone is complaining about, its only right that the privillaged few get a good education and good jobs. We've tried basing our system on fairness and equality and we've ended up with masses of people with degrees claiming unemployment, and we have to import workers from outside the country to work in our factories.

    We need to go back to the good old days when the rich had their jobs (well paid) and the poor had their jobs (poorly paid, exploited and greatful for a warm meal), and nobody was told that they could do better for themselves and the term "social mobility" did not exisit. Clearly this government is the one to do it.

  • Comment number 14.

    It should never have got to this, TB's insistence on more people going to university was an unsustainable nonsense, it did of course help his unemployment figures. University should be for real studies, my daughter dropped out of doing Art, disappointing, but is not the end of the world and she does have a job now, my son, however, wants to be a doctor and he should be encouraged, more money should be allocated to people wanting to study for proper professions.

  • Comment number 15.

    "1. At 10:55am on 03 Nov 2010, Kuradi Vitukari wrote:
    Will higher university fees create elitism? No."
    ======================================================

    Any rationale to support that strange statement???

    You might be right, but on the face of it you're talking nonesense!!!

  • Comment number 16.

    In before someone mentioning polytechnics or the old gem 'Students today are stupid'.

  • Comment number 17.

    This at the moment doesn't have any effect in Scotland but if the Labour party get back in at Holyrood you can bet your bottom Euro that they will follow the English lead. I think this is a big mistake. It is difficult enough for young English students to get out of the debt they are saddled with at the present time without giving the green light to treble that debt. It is also now nigh on impossible to get that first rung on the ladder of employment in a semi descent job without that degree. Who's fault is that? The Tories(I include New Labour) and their rich corporate bed fellows. What is needed is for a British Government to give big business a kick up the backside and force them to start giving people apprenticeships, on job training and accept HNC and HND and stop getting misty eyed over University degrees. Give the young of this country a chance and don't cripple the future generations with record levels of debt.

  • Comment number 18.

    Let's link 2 news items of today. Capping immigration is supposedly creating a shortage of qualified workers in the UK economy, yet we have all these graduates who cannot find work because they are not adequately qualified. Conclusion, a university education does not benefit the country or prepare young people for work.

    Why should taxpayers funds be used to keep young persons at school free to study what they like without consideration to future employment. If a young person wants a useless degree then that person or the family should pay for it themselves. School leavers should grow up and be ready for the real world.

  • Comment number 19.

    Higher fees will of course deter many, how many want to start work with a huge debt at a time when they are starting to take on their own house and family commitments. The multi millionaires in the cabinet and supporters of the Tories are pleased, there will be less competition from the plebs for places and they will be able to pay the fees in one go out of their pocket money. Does anyone really think that Cameron and Osborne have a clue what these fees mean to the average family, after all university is cheap when you have been paying Eton school fees for years
    As for the Lib Dems do they really think any of their loyal supporters will be able to accept this betrayal. Their election promises meant nothing

  • Comment number 20.

    Why won't governments put up income tax to support education, health, putlic services and so on? Instead of putting tax on things that can fluctuate (i.e. VAT - we can always stop going shopping), do it the sensible way and make sure there are sufficient funds to support the necessities of life: education, health and social services...why are politicians so afraid to do this?

  • Comment number 21.

    Why is it that time is moving forward, and yet we (England) seem to be going back in time.

    Increasing University fees is ludicrous, having money doesn't make someone a better academic, and even students do get through uni, the debt they will have with them will never be paid off. Better still, what bank is going to lend this money, in the banks eyes a student is a high risk to lend to! Even people with high income are refused loans. The Government really planned this well, or are they just seeing £ signs walking around instead of real people.

    German students only have to pay €500 per semester, how can they afford to do it and we can't, especially considering the English like to rub in everyone elses face how quickly our economy is recovering!

    A better idea would be to identify what industries we need graduates in and make those courses free (most likely science and engineering). This would put a stop to having so many Business/Marketing/Economics graduates unemployed and be of real benefit to England's economy and industries. Everyone likes to say how proud they are of England and being English, how about studying a subject that will actually benefit your country, rather than just yourself!

  • Comment number 22.

    I do hope not.

    I find it quite objectionable that "the jewel in the economic crown" (George Osbourne's words not mine) is being further part privatised by an elitist class which in their time would have received grants to go to university. As it stands this government has stated that it is not fair to leave a huge debt burden on our children & grandchildren in the form of the national debt, however on the other hand they are actively encouraging these exact same people to shoulder debts of at least £30K, & in many cases far more for their education. It should also be noted that the £6,000 per annum which many universities are likely to charge will only cover the funding gap by means of the withdrawal of government funds, in essence the students will face paying twice as much as is currently paid with no increase in facilities or resources.

    There has also been no mention of post graduate studies and the fees entailed, given that some vocational careers require post graduate degrees this is a further kick in the teeth for those who want to better themselves.

    There is also this bizarre argument that most students will not pay off their debts entirely within the 30 year period, so whats the point? Reading between the lines the government are essentially storing up more problems for 30 years time when they will have all retired on their huge pensions while tending to their duck moats and houses.

  • Comment number 23.

    2. At 11:00am on 03 Nov 2010, Richy wrote:
    "How come Scotland are able to provide free university places? Don't we pay for them too?"

    Not another one of you....

    Scotland gets 50% of Scotlands GDP returned to it for public spending (significantly less than Northern Ireland, Wales or the North of England recieve... The NW of England gets about 80% of its GDP back as public spending). How Scotland chooses to spend this money is up to Scotland. If they fund "free" university places (and English students pay a fraction of the fees they do in England... just £1800 a year to study in Scotland too) something else doesn't get funded. For instance "Free" parking in Scottish hospitals meant a couple of million came out the drugs budget to cover the car park maintenance.

    I live in England now but grew up in Scotland and the standard of Public services in Glasgow are well below English standards, mainly because of the cost of providing school and medical services to people living in the middle of nowhere. Get sick in Glasgow and you get an ambulance. Get sick on Orkney and they need to send a plane.

    I really hate the 'we pay for X in Scotland' which seems to presume Scots pay no tax too.

  • Comment number 24.

    9. At 11:11am on 03 Nov 2010, Raymond Hopkins wrote:

    Well, many people seem to want a considerable reduction in the numbers going to university. It looks as though this is going to happen, which means that Britain falls even further behind in the education stakes. Will there be any point in studying hard at school, if university becomes out of reach? I forecast a move to studying in foreign universities, where costs can be considerably lower, though how this would benefit Britain I do not know. The country will have to rely on the wealthy to run it for the benefit of all, and you know, I'm not sure that's going to happen.


    The UK was falling behind in the education stakes even when the number of graduates increased. It is the quality, and not the quantity, of graduates the country should be concentrating on.

  • Comment number 25.

    Raising fees is downright criminal, on top of the job situation which is dire. The government are planning to put students in a position with a mortgage like debt hanging over their heads and no jobs available.

    I am an ex-student who has graduated and come out expecting to find work, this is near impossible, there is no chance I will get a job associated with my degree in accounting within the next two years minimum.

    I would like Iain Duncan-Smith to stand in front of me and tell me there are jobs available, and I would call him a flat faced liar, its ridiculous.

  • Comment number 26.

    At 11:11am on 03 Nov 2010, Rinc3wind wrote:
    No it won't bbc. It just means that we might actually get decent courses attended by REAL students.

    ___________________________________________________________________________________________
    Real students presumably meaning those with access to money, and I don't mean the borrowed stuff?

  • Comment number 27.

    Make no mistake the spending cuts (no longer funding arts and humanities courses) will result in many universities going out of business, and a return to the situation where only the wealthiest 10% of the population can go to university. As a knowledge economy we need an educated population if we are to compete with other countries - we already have a lower proportion of our young people going to university than most developed countries. This is an incredibly short-sighted decision, which is not supported by most universities (but only the elitist Russell Group appear to get media coverage on this topic). University education is not training for a job, it encourages critical thinking, questioning, independent research and initiative, and problem solving; skills which society and employers need. Denying our young people an education is a backward step for the country.

  • Comment number 28.

    They should make it cheaper to go to university but harder to get in. That way, the tuition fees wouldn't need to be so high because nobody is paying for the useless "media studies" and other chumpy subjects.

  • Comment number 29.

    When the time arrives in the Cameron household, will the fees cause much anxiety? Of course not, Mummy and Daddy will comfortably be able to pay from their inherited wealth. What about the Osbournes? Oh no problem, that can be paid for from the trust fund set up for Georgie boy by his father to avoid paying income tax. It's the same for the offspring of the other fifteen or so millionaires in the Cabinet. Meanwhile, all across the country brighter but less advantaged offspring will be told by their parents that they will not be afford to help them and it's too much debt. If you are rich, debt is a convenient way of life; if you are poor, it is frightening and restricts choice. Of course this will be elitist; it is designed to be. We've got to get back to the old days where state educated pupils were excluded from Oxbridge and the better universities so that the chump offspring of Cameron and his ilk will once again rule the roost. What a waste it will be of genuine talent denied opportunity by inherited, largely undeserved advantage.

  • Comment number 30.

    Will higher university fees create elitism?
    Yes I think it will
    Poorer students will not want to saddle themselves with this amount of debt

  • Comment number 31.

    8. At 11:11am on 03 Nov 2010, Chris mather wrote:

    Of course higher fees will deter people from going to university. That's a no-brainer; first lesson of the 'A' Level (never mind degree) economics course, supply and demand.


    I assume that you failed 'A' Level economics as this has nothing to do with supply and demand.

  • Comment number 32.

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

  • Comment number 33.

    The government have been telling us since May that it isn't fair to leave future generations with a lot of debt that is why they are taking the actions they are in the budget. Why are they now proposing to put millions of students in the future into massive debt?

    Which is it?

    This is the down to the greed of the Bankers - our children are now suffering. This will help maintain the power in the hands of the wealthy.

    Oxbridge and other top universities may only have wealthy applying - there will be many poorer but more able students who do not apply. This will surely dilute our top Universities in that they will not necessarily be getting the brightest in the country. Indeed they may be forced to accept substandard students just to bring in the fees!

  • Comment number 34.

    While I don't agree with the rise in tuition fees I do think that some are going to University because they feel obliged to go. There should be more investment in Trade colleges and real apprenticeships that teach some of the core skills needed to actually get a job. Having just graduated as a mature student I saw some who couldnt cope with the structured learning and others who, to be frank, just saw it as one long party! For those coming out with a low degree and no hope or desire to get a job anytime soon their loans are never going to get paid back which makes it unfair on others who are desperate for the funding.

  • Comment number 35.

    "
    8. At 11:11am on 03 Nov 2010, Chris mather wrote:

    Of course higher fees will deter people from going to university. That's a no-brainer; first lesson of the 'A' Level (never mind degree) economics course, supply and demand.

    Sure the money can be borrowed, but borrowings have to be paid back, with interest.
    "

    I wish someone had told Gordon Brown that.

  • Comment number 36.

    8. At 11:11am on 03 Nov 2010, Chris mather wrote:

    And, of course, the people most deterred with be the students from poorer families, to the extent that any 'assistance' (grants, scholarships, etc.) doesn't compensate.


    If anything, the financial crisis has shown that poorer people are not deterred by going into ever increasing debt.

  • Comment number 37.

    ‘Will higher university fees create elitism?’
    No, but it will help to perpetuate it. Elitism is, of course, a dirty word in this day and age but if we could actually turnout graduates that were truly elite that would be something worth paying for. Unfortunately the education system has been used to try and engineer a political ideological vision of how life should be; it hasn’t worked and the result is that vast swathes of mediocrity have been churned out of our universities and society as a whole is now paying the price for that.

  • Comment number 38.

    Hopefully a higher fee will ensure a better quality of courses, in turn providing better skills that will actually be of benefit in a work environment. If this happens then those who truly wish to study should be willing to take a loan to pay for their education with the knowledge that they will be able to secure well paid employment and the capacity to repay their loan. That's how I completed my degree and 8 years on I've paid back my University debts and have a higher income than my peers from school who did not attend University - including the ability to afford a mortgage which many are unable to.
    Speculate to accumulate...

  • Comment number 39.

    I hope it does create elitism. The elite will be the ones who have money to throw away or are actually gifted and confident of their abilities.

    Who would want to doss around at uni for such a high debt? Only those who want to do the work and those who are sure they can make the education pay will go to uni. Just as it should be.

    Palming kids into uni to keep them off the unemployment statistics was stupid at the least.

    Maybe the degree will get its reputation back as a real qualification and not some mass produced gcse

  • Comment number 40.

    At 11:20am on 03 Nov 2010, Confuciousfred wrote:
    Let's link 2 news items of today. Capping immigration is supposedly creating a shortage of qualified workers in the UK economy, yet we have all these graduates who cannot find work because they are not adequately qualified. Conclusion, a university education does not benefit the country or prepare young people for work.

    Why should taxpayers funds be used to keep young persons at school free to study what they like without consideration to future employment. If a young person wants a useless degree then that person or the family should pay for it themselves. School leavers should grow up and be ready for the real world.

    _____________________________________________________________________________________
    I have no desire to argue about what constitutes a useless degree, but it seems that now even useful degrees will have to be paid for by the young person or family. Is this what everybody wants? Besides, if somebody is willing to pay for a 'useless' degree, might it be assumed that universities will offer such courses? It would seem to be a proper response to market forces, after all.

  • Comment number 41.

    It saddens me that those of my generation who had univerisity fees paid by the state and had means tested grants to attend the best universities in the country (and have repaid that investment many times over in taxes and economic activity) are now telling our own children and grandchildren that they cannot have this privilege. I do not think I could have gone to two of the top 5 universities in the world if my parents had had to pay or I had to incur huge debt to do so. Neither could many of my contemporaries who did not come from wealthy backgrounds.

    The argument that "postmen subsidise the wealthy" as Gove used on the radio this morning is nonsense. A postman's tax and NI barely (if at all) covers the services the state provides him anyway so he's not subsidising anyone. If we all decided we'd only pay taxes for those things we did or expected to use then we'd argue we are all subsidising each other (hey, isn't that what paying taxes is for?). We pay taxes according to our means and what we consume as determined by parliament and the state uses those taxes to provided services for the public good. Providing world class universities to ensure future economic prosperity for all (including the postman who benefits from the economic propserity and public services created, funded and staffed by graduates) is such a public service.

    Not only is this generation passing on OUR debts to our children and grandchildren but we are now adding considerably to their debts and making it even worse for them. The argument "only graduates pay and only if they earn above £21K" is dubious too: this opens the state up to paying anyway and has this been costed?

    Fortunately I can afford to pay for my children to get the benefit of university education that the state afforded me 40 years ago, but this really will put off those who are now in modest means from going to top university.

  • Comment number 42.

    Please excuse me for mentioning it BBC, but we have elitism already as a peer around your board room and executive suites would demonstrate. And do the chattering classes have that much trouble forking out the support needed for their average son or daughter viz a job between terms, a cheap car for travel, a better than average opening once graduation is over, and so on?

    The key group affected by this change have just had the gamble made even more risky, even more unlikely, even more the greater of two evils. Never mind though we can always fill their places with elites from abroad.

    I thought it was important for society to reap the harvest of talent by properly cultivating it during the WHOLE of its growth period.

  • Comment number 43.

    At 11:20am on 03 Nov 2010, Confuciousfred wrote:

    If a young person wants a useless degree then that person or the family should pay for it themselves. School leavers should grow up and be ready for the real world.

    I studied a degree in accounting with finance, I am prepared to do any job to get where I am, how can you say that people are not prepared to grow up and be ready for the real world; I have been waiting for this real world you talk of for 6 months...

  • Comment number 44.

    4. At 11:09am on 03 Nov 2010, milvusvestal wrote:
    This seems a very fair price to pay for further education, which is entirely optional.

    It's about the same cost as an average second-hand car, which parents happily fork out when the time comes. Elitizm has nothing to do with it.

    -----

    You'd pay £27,000 for your average second hand car?

    I think you may be alittle out of touch with average earnings in this country.

  • Comment number 45.

    as someone with no kids I dont see why I should support or subsidy other peoples kids. they already get free education until they are 18. My step son has just started Uni and when I asked him would he be working (even PT) he said "no chance" too much having fun to do. So really why should I work 6 days a week for way below the so called "national average of about 25,000 PA and subsidies basically a 3 year party ! They should be paying there own way, they are adults after all.

  • Comment number 46.

    As a medical student currently studying in London, I will leave after my 6 years of training with over £50k worth of debt. If you increased the fees, I wouldn't be able to afford to go to Med School, and as someone from a working class background who is trying to climb the so called 'social ladder', this Gov. would have condemmed my hard work and dreams to get to where I am today. Of course this increase in fees will create elitism, who cares about ability when you have money to buy your places.

  • Comment number 47.

    Given that the middle income in this country is so low how can middle class families afford to support their children through University if the fees go up? The poor will get help(quite rightly) the rich will get first choice as usual the middle classes will struggle as usual.

    This suits the oligarchs that really rule our country. Our government will bow down to them not to public opinion.

    Capitalism is best for the wealthy it gives them more power.

  • Comment number 48.

    "Will higher university fees create elitism?

    Unfortunately not!

    The only thing that will create elitism is to go back to a system in which:

    1) 'A' Levels are really hard to pass

    2) Only about 6% of school leavers go to uni

    3) University admission goes back to being extremely competitive

    Univerity education is meant to result in excellence - not to churn out graduates for jobs that don't exist. The UK needs to wake up and smell the coffee, - most of the jobs done by graduates don't need a degree - a couple of 'A' levels will suffice in most cases.

  • Comment number 49.

    Gove points out that most students going to top universities usually earn lots of money. But he also points out that most students going to top universities are from rich backgrounds. But students from rich backgrounds who do not go to top universities also usually earn lots of money. So, the main correlation is between earnings and background, not earnings and education. Therefore it does not follow that the price of a top university education should be assessed by looking at the future earnings of those who currently go there.

    I would add that Gove also seems unaware that tuition fees are not the only cost to students. One reason why people from poor backgrounds do not apply to top universities is simply because it is much cheaper to live at home with your parents and go to the local college.

    There are other issues, for example poor students may prefer a course which is targeted at a job, rather than the more academic versions of the same subjects offered by top universities. An academic qualification means you will need extra practical 'on the job' training for example as an intern. A poor student may not be able to afford this, besides it is seen as something that requires 'connections'.

    There is also the matter of the ethos of old universities like Oxbridge. It is often remarked how religious minorities are under represented in applications - yet what would you expect, since they are all named after Christian saints and look like churches! To Christians they are dreaming spires, to Muslims they could have been designed deliberately to say; not for you.

  • Comment number 50.

    Interesting question....as overseas students have been paying for the last 10 years, £8000.00 plus a year to study here and go home with 1st class degrees, then just maybe it might make our students sit up and take notice.
    Further and Higher education has never been cheap at any time. If one pays a load of dosh to achieve what they would like to do in thier lives then so beit.
    If on the otherhand one spends a load of dosh to waste 3,4 or even 5 years of their life, then they deserve all the things that are open to them.

  • Comment number 51.

    19. At 11:21am on 03 Nov 2010, Lucy Clake wrote:

    As for the Lib Dems do they really think any of their loyal supporters will be able to accept this betrayal. Their election promises meant nothing


    The election manifestos of both parties went out of the window once the coalition was formed and an agreement reached. I suggest that you read the section on eductaion which includes the following sentence:

    "If the response of the Government to Lord Browne's report is one that Liberal Democrats cannot accept, then arrangements will be made to enable Liberal Democrat MPs to abstain in any vote."

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8677933.stm

  • Comment number 52.

    "The changes will mean many arts and humanities courses would become dependent on fee income, rather than state funding."

    Which in turn, may mean that there are fewer graduates with degrees in under-water basket weaving wondering why their 'qualification' hasn't impresses any potential employers sufficiently to get them a job.

    I've heard people say: "The subject matter of a degree is irrelevant; the mere fact that an individual has a degree tells a potential employer that (s)he is worth employing."

    Nobody ever produces any evidence in support of that statement.

    If you were an employer of doctors, would you expect your employees to be medically-qualified, or would a degree in flower arrangement be a suitable alternative?

    If you were hiring engineers, why would you think somebody with a degree in Creative Arts would be a suitable candidate?

    There will always be a demand for graduates with degrees in the Humanities and in the arts, but perhaps the supply should match the demand more closely.

  • Comment number 53.

    If you want to attract an indiidual's attention, grab their wallet. Quite simply, higher fees will demand more serious applicants to the university process, and thus strengthen the calibre of future UK graduates.

  • Comment number 54.

    i think this is the tory's ploy. To make the oford's and cambridge's of the world only availible to the top tier of society. Granted Education at university level should be funded as its a choice not a right to be educated pass high school level. I do however agree that this may bring University education back to earth with a reduction in the many pointless course that have been going around for the last 10 years... maybe a level students may think twich about a media or american studies course if they need to fing £45k to study it with no prospect of employment after it.

    The tory government will do anyhing to get a tier system back into UK life with the rich being in controll and the poor almost destitute.

    Unless you study medicine, engineering / law etc then uni really doesnt offer the career prospects it obce did, and unless you get a 1st or a very good 2:1 then no employer will look at you, we have a glut of degree graduates which makes the degree a bit meaningless

  • Comment number 55.

    At 11:20am on 03 Nov 2010, Confuciousfred wrote:

    Why should taxpayers funds be used to keep young persons at school free to study what they like without consideration to future employment.

    __________________________________________________________________________________________
    It's a wise person who can forecast what future work needs will be, but this might be acceptable if, after studying only what the government of the day decides shall be studied, there will be guaranteed jobs available on qualifying. It would be an odd country that dictated just what university studies anyone could take.

  • Comment number 56.

    20. At 11:22am on 03 Nov 2010, Lionwillow70 wrote:

    Why won't governments put up income tax to support education, health, putlic services and so on? Instead of putting tax on things that can fluctuate (i.e. VAT - we can always stop going shopping), do it the sensible way and make sure there are sufficient funds to support the necessities of life: education, health and social services...why are politicians so afraid to do this?


    Because even though people moan about University funding and say that it should be paid for by the tax payer they don't really want it to come out of their own taxes.

  • Comment number 57.

    Over the past decade the University sector has expanded but with no apparent economic benefit - too many ex-Polytechnics and FE Colleges became Universities offering in generic degree courses (business studies etc.) without any defiend career as a result

    Hopefully the increase will deter those students undertaking such courses thus releasing funds for more relevant of academically rigourous courses. The alternative for such students is vocational training or simply work

    As for the creation of elitism - if this is intellectual elitism this is not necessarily a bad thing as long any savings from the cessation of unnecessary courses are made available to support students

  • Comment number 58.

    Where are the LibDems where is there honour and principles? All sold out for a taste of power. We saw how they congratulated Osborne at the end of his devastatiing budget. If they had stood by their principles they could have formed a government themselves in a few years given that many are sick of the state of our Politics and the high level corruption there is in this country.

    It is clear that truition fees rising will maintain the balance of power in the hands of the wealthy - the Tories know what they are doing despite playing the 'it's nt fair that people that don't go to Uni should pay for those that do' .The Tories are very good atmanipulating the public to blame eacother they did with the Private v Public sector. It detracts from the massive bonuses the Bankers are going to pay themselves again shortly after bringing near ruin to our country. Would our children now be facing a lifetime of debt (which the Tories are saying they are making the cuts to avoid! not on ideological reasons) if we hadn't had to bail out the Banks because of their greed? NO

    Bankers bonuses would be very useful to the Universities and benefit the country for the future.

  • Comment number 59.

    This policy seems to be based on the fact that graduates earn a lot more during their working lives, so can afford an additional tax. This is certainly true for people retiring now, who would have graduated in the 1960's, when about 5% of the population went to university. A degree really did allow access to the top-paying careers. But 50% of youngsters now get a degree. There is no way that the great majority of them will earn hundreds of thousands more during their working lives.

    I would encourage anyone considering university to also get part-time and holiday work, to start to offset the debts before they graduate.

  • Comment number 60.

    At 11:24am on 03 Nov 2010, Magi Tatcher wrote:
    9. At 11:11am on 03 Nov 2010, Raymond Hopkins wrote:

    Well, many people seem to want a considerable reduction in the numbers going to university. It looks as though this is going to happen, which means that Britain falls even further behind in the education stakes. Will there be any point in studying hard at school, if university becomes out of reach? I forecast a move to studying in foreign universities, where costs can be considerably lower, though how this would benefit Britain I do not know. The country will have to rely on the wealthy to run it for the benefit of all, and you know, I'm not sure that's going to happen.

    The UK was falling behind in the education stakes even when the number of graduates increased. It is the quality, and not the quantity, of graduates the country should be concentrating on.

    ___________________________________________________________________________________________
    Can it be guaranteed that there will be sufficient numbers of quality graduates under the current proposals? It will be interesting to see.

  • Comment number 61.

    These policies are just wrong on so many levels it is frightening! Our nation is destined to sink into the mystic swamp as an increasingly rapid rate! What future for our children - it's a sad day for this country - when we expect our children to pay for the errors of our parents!

  • Comment number 62.

    Whats the difference between the Condoms and all the others in Parliament?
    Answer - none. They are all as corrupt and the same as each other in reneging on promises and ripping us all off.

    Bliar, Clown, Cameron and the other phoneys should be caged for the good of us all

  • Comment number 63.

    This will be a nightmare of a day for Britain when the government of the people continues to act in an oppressive manner towards its own people. The poor is paying for all the economic crises in this country, and the argument is that ‘students will not pay anything’.

    The government is cutting down its spending and funding because it wants to limit its debt. However, at the same time in a double standard manner, this government is also sending the message that it is ok to spend money one does not have to young people who will potentially be responsible for the running of this country in the future. The government is saying that it is ok for students to have a debt of about £50000.00 by the end of this degree.

    Cutting spending to education will prevent people from poorer background to have a reasonable quality of education to enable them to make that positive contribution to this society and economy. In addition, this will mean that the same elite groups whose parents can easily pay off their education bill will continue to dominate and rule is this kind of discriminatory manner.

    Currently, Britain see the in flock of foreigners coming to this country to sustain the workforce and economy due to gaps in the current system which will include funding and learning structure across the educational system. If Britain continues in this aggressive manner, it will soon have to encourage foreigners to also come into this country to run the government, as these current policies by this coalition government will inhibit proper education for its citizens, as well as other area of daily livelihood in this country.

  • Comment number 64.

    People are constantly going on about fairness. I wanted to read mathematics at St John's, Cambridge but I'm not clever enough. There's nothing I can do about that. If you can't afford a place at university it's too bad, think of something else. Move on. Stop complaining about fairness. We all live in a very unfair universe. I for one don't want to pay for anyone's university place other than my sons, if I can meet the payments/

  • Comment number 65.

    No. It will just hopefully stop the people who go for few years of drinking and getting up late and come out at the end with a media studies or dog walking degree .

  • Comment number 66.

    A couple of things.
    Firstly, why is it "everyone's in this together", except Cameron, Clegg, Osbourne, Cable and the university system.
    Secondly of course it will add to elitism. The people who will pay are the middle classes on £22,000 to about £75,000 ish; those who are high fliers will do what high fliers do now and salt away their earnings via some tax loophole.
    I haerd someone say this morning that fees are only going up to £6000 with exceptional cases only going up to £9000. That's a bit like 'we'll only kill you a little bit'. If anything else was virtually doubled or trebled, I doubt we would hear the word 'only' anywhere.
    Where were the LibDems when we needed them. Oh yeah. They were in Vichy.
    (little WWII joke there)

  • Comment number 67.

    29. At 11:26am on 03 Nov 2010, meddleman wrote: What a waste it will be of genuine talent denied opportunity by inherited, largely undeserved advantage.

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

    Spot on.
    Our household income with 2 in fulltime employ is £34,000 (gross).
    My son has just began a 4 year course of Engineering at Cambridge and I asked him how he thought he would have managed to go to uni with the sort of debt being toted. He laughed and said he couldn't have gone.

    He is lucky becaause he is already 18 and there; however he is not unique. There will be many talented individuals who will be unable to go to Uni and their talents will be lost to this country. On the flip side there will be the offspring of those on high incomes who will be able to attend and prosper further.

    It is shortsighted and grossly unfair to those young people who work hard at school, only to then be denied access to higher education on the basis of cost alone.

    Elitism has never gone away, but it is surely here to stay when this agenda is followed.



  • Comment number 68.

    While I respect the opinions of others, I think that the people in support of the increase aren't aware of the resulting economic violation; a lot of young people from working class and even financially disadvantaged households could be the figures that our country will require in the future. In fact, the majority of my sixth form teachers, for example, were not at all from privileged, financially strong backgrounds yet they are intelligent, fantastic at what they do and above all university-educated.

    So with this increase, we will have a shortage of teachers, engineers, social workers, senior managers, accountants, you name it. Thus, public services will diminish and the economy could ground to a halt. I'm expecting someone to refute this comment by stating that a lot of these courses could be replaced by free or low-cost vocational schemes, but at the end of the day they simply cannot.

    Just because one is from a more privileged background does not render one more intelligent.

  • Comment number 69.

    32. At 11:28am on 03 Nov 2010, Kuradi Vitukari wrote:
    "Or equally they may end up going on to find a way of generating clean and free energy, finding a cure for all Alzheimers or understanding why women can't drive."

    Or at least a cure for Alzheimers.... thats in the pipeline eventually.

    Clean and Free energy is impossible as it violates the laws of physics.

    Women can drive fine... what some women have a problem with is parking and thats partially due to less spacial reasoning ability than men. Its a well know problem in the Royal Navy that a higher percentage of female officers have problems plotting a course for their ship in relation to the paths of other ships than men. (although given that the submarine service is 100% male and we've had 2 nuclear subs hit the same sandbank of Skye in 5 years and another of our nukes hit a french sub in a million cubic miles of Atlantic I doubt the women would do any worse than the men!)

  • Comment number 70.

    I find all this talk about it 'deterring the poor' rather interesting. It would certainly have deterred me from going to University - I guess that means I'm also poor, despite being raised in a comparatively General-Studies-Friendly environment. Which is fantastic news, because now the world has to feel sorry and care for me.
    The mathematics is what concerns me most. At £9,000 per year for tuition, plus £6,000 per year for accommodation, food and living expenses, a BA in History shall now cost £45,000 to study. And this £45,000, according to the BBC report, shall be paid back at 9% of a £21,000 per annum salary. That's £1,890 per year in repayments, with 'penalties' for overpayment.
    £1,890 is 4.61% of that £45,000 debt. The BBC report states that this loan shall accrue interest at an above-inflation rate. Government inflationary target is 2%, so let's assume for the moment that they're able to keep it at 2%, and assume that portion of our 4.61% is swallowed by inflation, leaving 2.61% per year to cover both the 'above inflation' portion of the loan interest, and capital repayment.
    The point is, whatever the 'above inflation' portion is, the minimum duration of this loan should the graduate's salary remain at the base repayment eligibility level is 38.31 years. And THAT assumes zero 'above inflation' contributions. Every 0.5% of additional interest the government claims increases the time taken to repay that loan by nine years.
    Not only this, but for the duration if this debt, that 'graduate' is essentially paying an extra 9% Income Tax in terms of their quality of life.
    Now, I realise that ultimately the system needs financing - and that some would argue it is fairer that students finance it themselves than receive subsidy from the tax system - but, that being the case, what motivation is there for talented students to go to an English university when they can attend equally prestigious universities elsewhere in the EU and the money they save in tuition is more than enough to offset any increase in living costs? Further to this, why should any graduate feel any obligation to remain in the UK and permit our economy to benefit from their skillset, if the state has had no notable financial role in their higher education?
    Lastly, what moral authority do Ministers and Members of the House of Commons, who received their degrees completely free at the provision of the state when my parents were paying two-thirds of their income in taxation, have to make such massive changes to the university system? Granted, this last question can be asked of all politicians on both sides of the House who have voted to introduce and increase tuition fees over the past decade and a half.
    I'm assuming these are questions to which the coalition government has already devoted significant thought and consideration, and I look forward to hearing their answers in the days to come.
    ---
    P.S. This is a fee cap increase, not a mandated fee increase. Presumably, then, responsibility for the fee levels set by individual institutions lies entirely with those institutions themselves, with Vice-Chancellors being as culpable as government Ministers, and as liable to having their cars egged. Food for thought.

  • Comment number 71.

    At 11:24am on 03 Nov 2010, Magi Tatcher wrote:
    The UK was falling behind in the education stakes even when the number of graduates increased. It is the quality, and not the quantity, of graduates the country should be concentrating on.

    ______________________________________________________________________________________________
    Finland turns out graduates from its universities in quantity - there is a take up of well over 50% going to university - but there is no lack of quality. By the way, tuition fees in Finnish universities are non-existent, and everyone who wishes for a university education is encouraged in every way possible.

  • Comment number 72.

    The choice is clear now -

    Indentured debt slavery to the corporate machine or unemployment, minimum wage work as a serf - existing in poverty for life!

    The Dalai Lama and his priestly feudal aristocratic society could not have achieved a better method of enslaving a population!

    Oh and if you fail to escape your debt - its your own fault!

    The guilty little victims will be fighting for the 'opportunity' to be a debt slave because the alternative will be far worse!

  • Comment number 73.

    31. At 11:28am on 03 Nov 2010, Magi Tatcher wrote:
    8. At 11:11am on 03 Nov 2010, Chris mather wrote:

    Of course higher fees will deter people from going to university. That's a no-brainer; first lesson of the 'A' Level (never mind degree) economics course, supply and demand.

    I assume that you failed 'A' Level economics as this has nothing to do with supply and demand.

    ===================================================================

    Really? Increase the price of something, you increase the supply and reduce demand. Reduce the price and supply reduces (less profitable) and demand increases (more affordable).

    Pretty fundamental supply-and-demand economics (as I recall from my degree).

  • Comment number 74.

    One issue seems to be completely overlooked - Universities should be able to complete many courses in two years instead of three, if they did not have one month off at xmas, one month at Easter and three months in the Summer - this way the total tuition cost would only be around £3,000 higher in total - in fact students would be around £5,000 better off in total as they wouldn't need to take out a student loan to live off in the 3rd year

  • Comment number 75.

    "
    36. At 11:30am on 03 Nov 2010, Magi Tatcher wrote:

    8. At 11:11am on 03 Nov 2010, Chris mather wrote:

    And, of course, the people most deterred with be the students from poorer families, to the extent that any 'assistance' (grants, scholarships, etc.) doesn't compensate.

    If anything, the financial crisis has shown that poorer people are not deterred by going into ever increasing debt.
    "

    That's because the "poor people" are now less likely to be able to get credit; their rating has dropped.

  • Comment number 76.

    10. At 11:11am on 03 Nov 2010, Rinc3wind wrote:
    No it won't bbc. It just means that we might actually get decent courses attended by REAL students.

    *************************************************************

    if by 'REAL' students you mean those from a very privileged or wealthy background then you are correct. I sense that £9,000 a year doesn't mean the same to you as it does the rest of us.

  • Comment number 77.

    32. At 11:28am on 03 Nov 2010, Kuradi Vitukari wrote:

    "
    3. At 11:08am on 03 Nov 2010, Magi Tatcher wrote:

    It will only deter those students who aren't ambitious enough to get themselves into massive debt on the promise that they might just earn more money once they have graduated.

    But then nothing is guaranteed in life and it is more likely they will end up working in a call centre.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2010/sep/22/call-centres-rise-graduate-applicants
    "

    Or equally they may end up going on to find a way of generating clean and free energy, finding a cure for all Alzheimers or understanding why women can't drive.

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

    But all is not equal. There is far more chance of not getting a better job than there is to get the wanted job. The reason is purely the availability of jobs and the fact that few jobs really requiring a degree exist compared to all other jobs.

    Sending all the kids to uni just devalues the education and reduces the education standards.

    There were only 2 options-

    1) Put a cap on students going to uni which would cause major outcry about how the rich will get in and the lazy kids dont have a chance.

    2) Allow anyone to go to uni but they must pay for it. This way they should only bother if they are confident they will get a better job. But this causes outcry because the lazy kids will have debt they cannot pay.

  • Comment number 78.

    Will higher university fees create elitism?
    Students in universities in England face tuition fees of up to £9,000 per year from 2012 under government proposals to be announced today. Will this deter people from higher education?

    Yes, this increase in university tuition fees will most certainly create elitism, as only the wealthy land owners and landed gentries will be able to afford to send their children to universities in the UK. But then I rather think this what Thatcher originally wanted when She was Prime Minister, to create a definate them and us in education and university, Cameron has succeeded in doing this.

    Though far from saving the country money in the long term, it will generate a very severe shortage of home grown university educated skills in the high tech industries, as such many developments and inventions that start or are bought to the fore by universities will become less and less, more and more foreign students will end up getting their degrees here in the UK, getting Christ knows what benifits whilst here whilst the ordinary people are left on the sidelines.

    An Elitist country for the Rich and Wealthy with just a service economy, we're almost there, then the plug will eventually be pulled and the British economy will finally collapse resulting in mass civil unrest and dissorder, I don't think we realise just how close we are to that right now.

  • Comment number 79.

    This is a direct result of the ridiculous expansion in university places and courses under New Labour. We need to refocus our universities on those courses which benefit the country, get rid of the pseudo degrees in David Beckham etc and then put in place a proper grant system to allow those from all social classes to attend university if their ability allows it. If others want to study frivilous subjects then so be it but out of their own pocket not out of mine.

    We need scientists, engineers, mathematicians and more not just limited to the sciences any subject requiring academic rigour (archaeology springs to mind). It may be an old chestnut but media studies we could do without.

  • Comment number 80.

    Of course this will be devisive and it comes on the back of the fanatasy world that Bliar spun, the land of milk and honey that is there for the holder of a degree, no matter how useless the qualification or where it was obtained from. The reality of this false promise is now hitting home.

    The figure bandied about was that graduates could expect to earn £100,000 more in their working life than a non-graduate. Do the Maths and that's £2000 per annum over a working life of 40 years - peanuts!

    The latest figures give graduate unemployment at a record 9%. I'd love to know how many of the 91% employed are actually in graduate grade jobs, in jobs even vaguely related to the degree they took or in jobs they had aspired to before taking the degree.

    Our tertiary education system has been thrown into turmoil by political dogma and economic expediency. We are producing young people who are over-qualified for the current job market, many of whom are now regreting taking any notice of the hype generated by the last government. If there was ever a case of 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' our tertiary education system is it.

  • Comment number 81.

    28. At 11:26am on 03 Nov 2010, Fugl5 wrote:
    They should make it cheaper to go to university but harder to get in. That way, the tuition fees wouldn't need to be so high because nobody is paying for the useless "media studies" and other chumpy subjects.

    *********************************************************************

    Complaining about 'useless media studies' on the BBC website. oh sweet irony

  • Comment number 82.

    'Will higher university fees create elitism?'

    No. The education system is already élitist throughout.

  • Comment number 83.

    I find it STAGGERING that everyone on here is wittering on about debt.

    In 1992, my colleague was saving 2k a year to put his two children through Uni IF they wanted to (which they now do). Entirely their decision, if they didn't want to go, he would have given them the cash on their 21st birthday for a good start in life.

    What has happened to good parenting and planning ahead ? There should be no need for tution fee debt if you are caring parents.

    You have to pay your own way in this world, or put up with your lot and stop relying on the state..... I.E. people who pay TAX like ME.

    You either want a good education for your children or not.

    Your choice.

  • Comment number 84.

    Considering the cost to future students, no matter how many, or how few they may be, don't be surprised if they decide to take their skills out of the country that refused to invest except at the individual's expense. Knowledge of one or more languages would be a useful addition to that end.

  • Comment number 85.

    Elitism? No.

    And lets face it it is the parents NOT the students that face the real challenge of funding further education. People need to stop whining and just adjust.

    Will it sort out the chaff? - probably. Universities, whether they like it or not, are businesses and this may lead to greater efficiencies, better quality or delivery of service or trimming down of the more liberal (pointless) courses on offer as they try to attract fees.

    I'm on the other side of the pond and, trust me, the UK model is a far more attractive hybrid system than the expensive, free-market offerings in the US.

  • Comment number 86.

    38. At 11:31am on 03 Nov 2010, Cherry_B wrote:
    Hopefully a higher fee will ensure a better quality of courses, in turn providing better skills that will actually be of benefit in a work environment...
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Unfortunately this is not the case. The higher fees are being levied merely to cover the shortfall created by the drastic cut in state funding for university tuition.

  • Comment number 87.

    Germany rebuilt itself a lot faster than we did after the second world war because they had a better trained labour force. If you leave school and go straight into work and you work, say for 10-15 years and you lose your job, its even harder for you to retrain and do something else.

    People with University degrees are more likely and find it easier to retrain, our labour force will become more flexible because people be able to look at other job opportunities not just related to their degrees and are more likely to migrate to areas of work.

    University degrees will allow us to have a better trained and flexible labour force. The UK is one of the lowest ranked countries for higher education spending and the lowest amount of graduates in the developed world. Instead of cutting funding, we should be increasing it. Why should young people sacrifice their future and education to pay off the bankers debt?

  • Comment number 88.

    With the advent of a degree for everyone - the fact is that the degree is devalued. I myself don't have one, I chose a different path but still hold down a very well paid job. currently you pretty much need a degree to get a job as a street cleaner (highly exaggerated I know but you get the gist)

    I believe that we should tier any payments as per the degree type. Thus if you were studying Math, sciences or engineering - subject which we need as a nation to progress - then you pay a reduced rate. If you with to study philosophy, history etc then (while worthy degrees I'm sure but not likely to assist the nation) then you pay full whack. If you are studying to be a teacher - then you are "sponsored" by a future employer and the fees get reduced (as you are going into a sought after profession.

    Payments can be adjusted depending on the over supply at the time. If you get a first then again you get a discount, if you waste your time and get a 2:2 then - full cost apply.

  • Comment number 89.

    This increase in tuition fees is just going to deter people from applying to university, so we could see a potential drop in youngsters choosing to pursue careers in teaching, medicine and other public services. This shortage is going to result in the government having to explore more expensive options in order to 'plug' the drain of professionals. They will probably fund these expensive options by increasing tuition fees even more to the point that it won't be a viable option for anyone to go to university. Maybe they should just go all out and ban people from attending university all together.

  • Comment number 90.

    Yes it will, its too expensive now when you have to add on accommodation and living costs plus interest on any amounts borrowed. The only way around this is to reduce the course lengths thus making it more affordable but then the universities will lose out if students only attend for 2 years instead of 3 or 4.

  • Comment number 91.

    Students from poorer backgrounds will be put off by the possibility of building up debts that they feel may hang round their necks for most or all of their lives. They are less likely to believe that they will earn enough to pay the debt and live a reasonable lifestyle once they leave university.
    Students from richer backgrounds are likely to be much more confident about future earnings and generally they do earn more when they leave University. They also have the bank of mum & dad to fall back on, even if not immediately, they know that when mum & dad pop their clogs then they'll come into money and will be able to pay off any debt if they choose to.

  • Comment number 92.

    At 11:54am on 03 Nov 2010, James wrote:
    While I respect the opinions of others, I think that the people in support of the increase aren't aware of the resulting economic violation; a lot of young people from working class and even financially disadvantaged households could be the figures that our country will require in the future. In fact, the majority of my sixth form teachers, for example, were not at all from privileged, financially strong backgrounds yet they are intelligent, fantastic at what they do and above all university-educated.

    So with this increase, we will have a shortage of teachers, engineers, social workers, senior managers, accountants, you name it. Thus, public services will diminish and the economy could ground to a halt. I'm expecting someone to refute this comment by stating that a lot of these courses could be replaced by free or low-cost vocational schemes, but at the end of the day they simply cannot.

    Just because one is from a more privileged background does not render one more intelligent.

    __________________________________________________________________________________________
    Well said, James. I'm with you 100%. It's a pity that not everyone can see as clearly as you do, and as far into the future. Thank you.

  • Comment number 93.

    I must admit I don't understand why so many young people want to go to Uni and study subjects that will have no relevance on the rest of their lives.

    I thought University was from those with an intellectual ability above the norm who would be stretched and then use the knowledge obtained for their future careers.

    It seems it is merely an excuse to go and have a good time for far too many of them.

    I have long thought that the reasons governments wanted more at Uni was to cut down the number going on the dole for a couple of years.

    If these youngsters had a decent education that set them up for the real world they would be so much better off than they are today.

  • Comment number 94.

    I have child who will hopefully go University in 2013 or 14. I was appalled by a complacent ill-informed contribution by spokeswoman for Universities UK on BBC rolling news, her view -it should be business as usual once students understand the new system - unfortunately for her many of the people who are students or might have aspired to attend University are not so stupid as to believe her. So many important aspects of this huge change are just not being discussed.
    There will inevitably be a large reduction in student numbers there is a big reduction in future lifetime income as a result of this change - think it through Universities UK -£40,000 debt on graduation, interest and repayment kick in at income of £21,000, but with interest at 2.2% and repayment at say 10% of income above £21k then for those with incomes below £29,800 their debt will continue to rise. If , for example you become a teacher that will be your fate- rising debt followed by slowly falling debt -only when your income approaches higher rate band will you be paying off a significant amount, but if your income remains in the low £40,000s thereafter you will be repaying for the whole 30yr term. The graduate tax was rejected but what is proposed is a graduate tax for most people (and probably almost all women graduates) -they will face a marginal tax rate 9 or 10p in the pound higher for almost their whole working life (I believe anyway the 30yr cut-off for repayment will be abandoned when it becomes clear too much debt will have to be written off.)
    It is highly probable there will also be a big change in the pattern of study -many arts and social science courses already lead to only modest , if any, pecuniary reward. I think many of these courses will see big falls in applications -you can see many parents saying to their kids it would be better if they studied accounting or engineering rather than English. So career choice and subject choice are going to be affected in a big way. Many Universities will get into financial difficulty as numbers fall, and they struggle with staff numbers in now unpopular subjects -Universties UK take heed it will not be business as usual.
    I also suspect these proposals are not properly accounted in the Osborne public expenditure plans - if we have £4000 of additional funding per year per student from 2012 then we get £2billion extra public borrowing in 2012 , £4 billion in 2013 and £6 billion in 2014 -as none of this will be repayed in that interval, that is a total additional £12 billion of public borrowing by 2014. Moreover this borrowing will continue to rise for years, and while there will be an income stream from students it is a reasonable assumption that 25% would have to be written off (ie paid by general taxpayer)if 30yr horizon for individual repayment is maintained.

  • Comment number 95.

    Hopefully, yes.

    Higher fees will help keep the riff-raff out.

  • Comment number 96.

    Of course this is going to mean 2-tier education. As someone who teaches post-grad science students, it will be a disaster. There are many very bright people out there who could give real benefits to this country in the future. The problem is that ability to pay does not equal merit - look at the cabinet for goodness sake.

    There has to be a way of allowing exceptionally bright people of whatever background to attain a decent level of education. Oh I know, why don't we have an exam system that actually works, a real selection system and give students who merit them grants!!!!


  • Comment number 97.

    I graduated in 2002 - the only person in my family to go to university. I struggled financially throughout, working around my studies and carrying out free work experience to help my future career as a journalist. I left university with nearly £13k of debt and still have £4k left at 30 years old. Yes university helped start my chosen career, but it also left me in piles of debt. £9,000 is a ridiculous amount to expect families to pay on top of rent, books etc. I am proud of my university education and believe we should be encouraging people to better themselves, not putting them off.

  • Comment number 98.

    Higher-echelon universities don't even allow undergraduates to take jobs during term time to help pay their bills. £27,000 debt - and that's before taking out a student loan to live on. How on earth is a bright-but-poor student at Oxbridge going to manage? No such problem for a dimwit whose parents are loaded, though.
    The Tories can spin it however they like, but it's all about keeping higher education for the priviledged, while keeping the poor in their place. We serfs are not too stupid to work that out.
    However, if universities concentrated on teaching useful courses to those who deserve to be on them, there'd be fewer uni students and more money to go round for teaching them.
    Not everyone IS clever enough to go to university and some of the courses on offer are laughable. Elsewhere on this site, there's a piece about a "degree" in Lady Gaga being offered at an American college - how long before that ends up on this side of the pond?

  • Comment number 99.

    Labour decided that instead of the top 13% of school achievers going to university, which has been the case for decades, it would try for 50% (regardless of intellectual achievements) ... this led to Universities expanding to cater for those not really suited to the requirements, by introducing ever more strange 'degrees'.

    Now we have dropout rates at a level never seen before, and the market is reasserting the need to restrict university entry again .... only instead of by achievement, as was the case before Labour's social engineering, its by price (cost).

    I hope that all those labour MP's who had a free education, filtered only by ability, are now happy that after 13 yrs of 'socialism' we have an education system filtered only by the ability to pay for it!

  • Comment number 100.

    I am concerned to read all the negative comments about arts graduates in here and the fact that people feel that their courses should not be funded. The one area that this country is well known for, throughout the entire world, is the creative industry. We train some of the best artists/designers/film makers etc in the world.Every single article that you pick up and use in your daily life has been designed - by an arts graduate. Look at James Dyson - a graduate of the Royal College of Art. How much income is he generating for the country? Without good design and the highly skilled people who work in that area, the UK would not be able to function within the manufactoring arena. Yes, we need doctors and scientists but we also need good designers. Please do not let anyone tell you that these people have "noddy degrees" in basket weaving - just not true! As a retired art teacher, I despair at the lack of understanding and insight of the people making these comments - and I bet you own a Dyson vacuum cleaner as well!

 

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