Student funding plans: Your views

12/10/10

Daniel

A review of university funding is recommending an end to restrictions on tuition fees.

At the moment fees are capped at just over £3,000 a year. Lord Browne's report says universities in England should be able to set their own rates.

It's thought many would double charges given the choice.

But graduates wouldn't have to pay back these fees until they were earning more than £21,000.

The government now has to decide whether to adopt the recommendations.

Newsbeat went to Leeds and got the views of students and non-students on the funding debate.

__________________________________________________________

David, 22, studying History at Leeds Met

"Personally I'm against the tuition fee rise. University should be available for everyone.

"If they have certain fees for different unis then it puts off those from poorer families.

"I wouldn't be able to afford going to uni.

"Even with my grants and loans I struggle, hence why I work in the bar here.

"The idea of paying more interest depending on the job you have and the money you earn sounds more sensible.

"I think a graduate tax would actually be the best option, but that won't happen."

Natalie self-employed hairdresser

"I left school after my GCSEs and went straight into work.

"In a city like Leeds I think there's too many people studying at the moment.

"Students I speak to in the salon get a big bump when they leave uni and have to to take a job that they didn't necessarily study for and didn't really want.

"I've worked with people who've had Masters degrees.

"They've racked up with thousands of pounds of debt and they end up with the same job as me.

"Maybe we should streamline and limit the number of places available for students because it's obvious some people don't get any benefit from going.

"It is a little bit frustrating that people have been given these loans, helped along by me and then spend ages paying it back.

"And I see students - I know what they do with those loans - they get drunk!"

Liam Challenger, President of Leeds Met Students' Union

"A rise in tuition fees would mean a lot of students are ruled out of going to uni and it would also create a two-tier system.

Liam
Image caption Liam says scrapping the cap would create an elitist university system

"The vocational courses we have here are attractive to a lot of people. If the university had to put up the fees, it would put off students.

"I know there has to be cuts, but we need to invest in universities.

"If we got rid of the cap on tuition fees and created a free market, we'd see a massive gap between the best unis and the rest. Universities will become elitist."

Craig Crouchman, 21, studying graphic design at Leeds Met

"I'm flyering at the moment for local clubs so I can earn a bit more money.

Craig
Image caption Craig says the price of fees at Leeds Met were a big factor for him

"I came to Leeds Met specifically because of the lower tuition fees and in the long run it works out better for me.

"The cost definitely was an issue as I don't come from a family which could just pay off the tuition fees easily after graduation.

"As for taxpayers who don't go to university, I'd say to them I'm going to be paying taxes when I leave uni anyway, give me my chance to study and get a better job.

"That whole argument's a bit pathetic."

Student fees around the country

Scotland currently charges no fees to students, but there are increasing fears that this is unsustainable - especially if they are to compete with English universities charging increased fees.

Wales and Northern Ireland charge the same level of fees as England, although until this year Welsh students studying in Wales could get a grant of £1,890 towards their fees.

A review of the system in Northern Ireland is under way, with leaks suggesting it will recommend maintaining the current fee cap and examining in detail the NUS's graduate tax proposal.