60seconds Sam - The Student Debate: Should Tuition Fees Be Increased?
That was how the government announced its plans to increase tuition fees in England to up to £9,000 a year. And this was how the National Union of Students responded:
"This is utterly unacceptable and an outrage which could decimate access into our university system." NUS President Aaron Porter
Increasing the cap on tuition fees has become one of the government's most controversial plans and the backlash from student unions is set to continue today with more protests across the country. Both men will be discussing the issue on BBC Three tonight in a special Young Voters' Question Time, so let's take a closer look at the plans and why they've divided opinion so much.
What exactly does the government want to do and why?
- Universities have had their budgets slashed over the past few years and in the recent Spending Review, so they need a new funding system to cover their costs.
- Demand for places is higher than ever, pushing the costs up.
- The cap on tuition fees needs to rise from £3,290 to £9,000 a year from 2012.
- Universities charging the full amount will have to make sure they do more to help poorer students get places.
- Graduates won't pay anything back until they earn over £21,000 a year.
- Higher grants will be available for poorer students.
THE CASE AGAINST INCREASED TUITION FEES
What do student unions say?
- Tuition fees will treble leaving students with massive debts.
- Students are being forced to shoulder all the costs of higher education.
- The Liberal Democrats, who make up the coalition government with the Conservatives, had committed to scrapping tuition fees in their pre-election manifesto. (You can read more in this article).
- The plans are being rushed through without proper assurances for poorer students.
- Cuts in public funding threaten the future of our universities.
So, with MPs expected to vote on the plans in the next few weeks, we want to know where you stand on this. Is £9,000 a year enough to put you off uni? Or is it right that graduates should pay for their own degrees? Let us know what you think.
You can watch Young Voters' Question Time presented by Richard Bacon at 8pm tonight. The panel guests will be Aaron Porter NUS President, Universities Minister David Willets MP, Tessa Jowell MP, Simon Hughes MP, Douglas Murray, Director of the Centre for Social Cohesion and Irish comedian Ed Byrne.
Journalist Sam Naz presents the 60seconds news on BBC Three.
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