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Articles > February, 01, 2011

Tuition Fees – Are They Really so Unfair?

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Wesley Stephenson is Producer of the excellent BBC Radio 4 programme, ‘More or Less’ (presented by Tim Hartford “The Undercover Economist”).  The following article is a specially modified transcript of the programme, first broadcast on 10th December 2010. Our heartfelt thanks to Wesley and the ‘More or Less’ team for specially preparing this for OpinionPanel.  To download a podcast or for more information go to bbc.co.uk/moreorless

The increase in the cap on undergraduate tuition fees caused students to take to the streets and protest, in some cases violently. But are the government’s proposals fair and progressive, or are they hanging a millstone around the neck of the nation’s young people, dropping them into a deep hole of debt? Or are they both? While passions are high on both sides of the debate, here at More Or Less on Radio 4 we couldn’t help feeling that the entire subject could do with a dose of numbers.

We know quite a lot about how this new scheme will work because in an act of kindness to number fiends like us, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills put all their data on their website. Using this data we did some, admittedly crude, calculations based on a student borrowing £30,000 for their course – so this includes tuition fees and money for living expenses. We then looked at how much someone on various average salaries will end up paying back before the debt is written off in 30 years time. What is striking is that someone who earns on average below £35,000 will pay very little or anything at all. When you get to an average income of £50,000 you’ll still end up paying back less than half of what you borrowed. It’s only when you get to an average of £70,000 annual income that you end up paying back £30,000 – although even then, it’s not the full amount of the loan once you include interest.

While this is interesting, it’s important to understand that these figures are based on some big assumptions. For example, our model assumes that salaries rise by equal amounts each year, but in reality this doesn’t happen. To get a much more accurate picture of what could happen we turned to the Institute for Fiscal Studies who have modelled the new student fees using much more realistic assumptions of how much people earn. Lorraine Dearden who lead the work for the IFS and is also a professor of economics at the Institute of Education told me that;

“Around 50% of graduates, depending on the fee, will not pay back the loan. The higher the fee the higher the probability they won’t pay back the full value of the loan”

They estimate that graduates will pay back on average £25-30,000 in 2012 monetary terms, but some could be paying back as little as £5,000 although those earning the most could end up paying over £40,000.

This means that for most the new fees system acts like a graduate tax. Graduates will pay an extra 9% on all earnings over £21,000 for 30 years at which time any remaining debt will be written off.

Some graduates will even pay less than they do currently. The IFS calculates that around 22% of graduates will pay less than they would do today. This is partly because the threshold at which graduates have to start repaying loans is rising from an income of £15,000 to an income of £17,800 in today’s money. (The government states the threshold as £21,000, but that’s 2016 prices, not today’s prices.)

While this is good for that 22%, most graduates will pay substantially more than they do today. However, the government argue that students gain in monetary terms from having a degree – £100,000 on average. But this doesn’t tell the whole story. Professor Peter Sloan Emeritus, Professor at Swansea University has worked on a number of studies into the benefits of having a degree. He says that a male arts student for example earns an extra £22,000 over their lifetime – on average, this is about £500 more per year. While a male maths or computing student would expect an average lifetime earnings boost of around £220,000, or about £5,000 a year.

Of course graduates aren’t the only winners. The government also gains in the extra tax paid on these higher salaries. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development calculates that once you’ve taken other factors into account, such as the amount they lose in tax while a student is at University, the government gains £45,000 from a male graduate and £40,000 from a female graduate over their lifetime.

Finally, is this tax progressive? “Progressive” means something quite specific; that richer people pay a higher percentage of their incomes. The answer is ‘yes’. There are two reasons for this. First, the more you earn the more you pay back, unlike the current system where students from a poorer background pay less, but middle income students and high earning students pay the same. Second, the graduate population tends to be from higher earning backgrounds and go on to earn more than those who don’t. While university education will still be funded in part by general taxation, the majority will come from graduates. To put the burden onto them rather than the general taxpaying population is almost certainly progressive.

There is of course one very large anomaly here – there are a huge number of people who have already benefitted from university education who now won’t have to pay as much in taxes as they would have done.


bbc.co.uk/moreorless

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  1. Josiah Brogan

    Personally I can understand that many young people are annoyed with the heightened tuition fees, however, in saying this, surely the new tuition fees are surely worth the advancement in the positive stigma that will now be attached to obtaining a degree in any subject?

  2. Ahmed hamza saheel

    Man everyone is whining about tuition fees, but the worst is that you have lived in this country for a good few years and yet you have to pay international tuition fees especially talking about dentistry/medicine 24,000 a year

  3. gurveen dang

    The increase of tuition fees has put off a lot of people from going to university that they even question is a degree really important.

    • Thomas Coull

      I think it’s difficult, i understand the argument that most have to which they say that a career of sorts and of as much wealth as a career achieved through a degree, can be achieved via hard work in employment and working your way up from the bottom. The debate between which is most valued, experience or qualifications, is an ongoing one i consider often.

  4. Alyza Tabor

    I know of many intelligent people who have been put off by the tuition fees, and have decided to pursue apprenticeships and careers instead. They want no part in a future overwhelmed with debt and the prospect of unemployment.

  5. Kristina Doy

    I can see both sides to this.

  6. Sakshi

    You can’t. Even if you make a paschure and get cash back at the time of the paschure, it’s considered a cash advance. Some cards waive the cash advance fee if you get it at the time of a paschure, but you still accrue intereste charges from that point. You would also not be able to get $3000 cash on a credit card with a $3000 credit limit. There is no way around that.

  7. Max Stone

    Personally, i do not believe that the rise in tuition fees is completely outrageous, despite the tuition fees rising by 200% in some cases. It is clear that in the current economic environment, money going to services such as universities and schools, has been cut, therefore leaving universities with little choice but to up their tuition fees in order to cover the costs of running the courses that they do. However, i feel the problem lies with the fact that these fees do not apply to many foreign students wanting to study at an english university. Students from foreign countries, i feel, shoud not be recieving any form in special treatment that differs to that given to UK citizens looking for a higher education in their own country, in ways such as a reduced, or in some cases, non existent tuition fees. I cannot fathom a reason as to why this is the case, and going to university at the end of 2013, as i hope to do so, i cannot help but feel as though i have been left with a harder task to manage with the rising cost of living and the high tuition fees, than foreign students that do not have one of these problems to deal with.

    • Chris Wallis

      Eh? The universities have a cap on how much they are allowed to charge UK residents and have no cap on how much they are allowed to charge foreign students. I don’t know how much they charge now, but 7 years ago a foreign student could be looking in the region of £8-14k per year in tuition fees for a decent uni, and that’s BEFORE this stuff all kicked off!

  8. Paige Dennison

    Personnally I dont see what the big deal is with the tution fees. I will be going to university myself in 2013 so it will probably affect me but the whole point is we dont have to pay them back unless we earn over so much – £21,000 per annum. By the time you get a job after being fully qualified, yes you will have debt hanging over you and yes student accomodation is exactly cheap either but most people will not pay the money back and even if they do it is only so much a month – its not exactly life threatening. Surely a degree is worth the cost and even then not all universities have got the top rate however most have so its not a bad as it seems. The government have to cut their subsidies somewhere so universites were inevitably going to be cut. We can’t just expect everything for free.

  9. Kelly Hall

    Young children are attempting to better themselves and are being penalised for such,
    Without realising at such a young age what they’re getting in to.

  10. Caty Connell

    I think public service qualifications should be less, given the contribution to society made by graduates and acceptance of lower salaries as a consequence of working in the public sector.

    • Tom Bungay

      Lower salaries! are you joking?

  11. kyussmondo

    I can’t see what the big deal is really. It is not like normal debt. You don’t start repaying till you are earning over £21k. People are so caught up with it being a bad debt. A few people will never even have to repay the full amount. It is still a good investment in this global job market.

    I do think unis need to be more efficient. When I was there they spent millions on new buildings. Surely it would be better spending more on research, lecturers and libraries instead.

  12. Interested woman

    If I’ve understood the programme right, then first I infer that paying for tuition fees is similar to a progressive tax because the more you earn, the more you pay.
    Secondly, the government is subsidising the second rate ‘rubbish’ degrees but not the better degree courses, because those with rubbish degrees won’t earn as much, so their fees will be paid by the government and the debt written off, whilst those with quality degrees will earn enough to pay for their own good degrees. Do we really want our government to subsidise poor quality degree courses?.

  13. What aboot the cost side

    The issue More or Less don’t address is whether the cost of providing a degree is ‘more or less’ than the tuition fee being charged. Consequently, the BBC might as well rename the programme ‘The Tim Hartford Show’ because it doesn’t do what the title says it does 😉

    If the tuition fee exceeds the provision cost, the system creates multiple losers for the simple reason that the new tuition fee is for about four in every five students higher than the current fee. There is a demand curve for Higher Education and a rise in price will consequently lower demand – the effect is fewer graduates earning a graduate premium, loss in earnings for employers who would have hired such graduates, and a loss for the exchequer who would have collected tax from BOTH employees (higher wages) AND employers (higher profits through greater productivity).

    On the issue of fairness, I would suggest everything again comes down to cost. If a degree costs on average £6k per year to provide and Universities charge £9k, this is not a fair system. Remember, Universities are charities: they raise income to provide public benefits – they do not carry out activities in order to maximise income. The £27,000 question the scenarios ought to ask is, therefore, whether a student will, over the course of his/her career, pay back ‘more or less’ than the degree actually costs.

    The problem with the Contradiction Government’s system is that it removes incentives to provide degrees efficiently. Degree pricing will be at the upper-end for two complementary reasons: firstly, high fees are associated with high quality; secondly, Universities will pitch fees at a level that protects against what they consider to be ‘worst case’ falls in demand – passing on the cost of an uncertain future income stream to the government-funded loan scheme. There is no market as such in Higher Education, again for two reasons. Firstly, a student number cap (limiting recruitment to 2008 levels in most cases) is in place. Secondly, entry costs for new providers are steep (they have no previous reputation) – even if they do enter, incumbent providers are well-placed to force them out of business or into mergers by temporary predatory pricing.

  14. MF

    So, if I understand the proposals for fees correctly, fees look like being £8,500 to £9,000 pa from which the universities will have to redirect some, maybe £1000, to bursaries for children of poorer parents, so:

    – if I were a bright 16 year old with wealthy parents, I would go to University in a couple of years and, with luck, my parents would pay my £9000 pa fees to avoid me carrying debt through to my 40s in addition to any house I want to buy,

    – if I were a bright 16 year old with poor parents, the universities that charge £9000 pa would have to offer me a bursary so I wouldn’t carry that debt and, assuming I come out of university with a good degree will have good pay and no big debt to stop me buying a house etc,

    – and if I were the bright sixteen year old child of some of those “squeezed middle” parents I would have to pay the £9000 fees and I would have to take out a loan to do it, so I would be in debt through to my 40s in a way that neither the children of the rich nor the children of the poor will be and quite a bit of that debt will be to fund a bursary for the children of poorer parents, so I personally will be contributing the bursary – not the state and and not my parents’ generation, which is the one with all the money.

    This seems hardly fair or equitable. Why should the children of middle income parents and, to an extent, the children of rich parents, rather than society as a whole, subsidise these students so much?

    • Tom Bungay

      First of all, it’s because it’s not poorer childrens fault that their parents didnt have good jobs. It’s their parents fault. Not that i totally agree with subsiding them. Also, you don’t seem to understand the system correctly at all. The ‘Poorer’ children get higher bursaries but will them not be able to take out quite as big a loan. The ‘Squeezed middle’ still get substantial bursaries but are also allowed to take out higher loans. To some extent, i agree with you, but your description seems to forego the fact that the only people the systm is really unfair on, is the ‘higher earning’ children. They also have no say in what jobs their parents do, or do not, have and therefore shouldn’t be penalised as such.

  15. Megan

    I do not think the students who have been protesting have done their research. People need to start realising the economic crisis the country is in and realise that if cuts were not made in this sector of the economy, they would have been taken from somewhere else instead and people would have just as much to say about that. I agree that the dramatic changes needed to be done, although I can level with those who believe the increase is very dramatic to happen in one year, which would be my year! Overall, I hope any future cuts can turn out as reasonable as this one so future generations can benefit from cheaper education.

  16. Cami

    Considering other cuts and adjustments to the economy, this seems to me to be a logical step. Yes,people will be in debt and it’s not nice, but if they only have to pay once they are earning a decent wage and can survive I don’t think i tis too harsh an increase. I have applied to both the UK and Ireland to study. In Ireland, though fees are only €2000 a year at present, no Irish financial institution has a student loan system in place. Thus, if a college applicant does not have the money, they simply cannot go to university. In comparison, I think the increase in fees in the UK is fair. It is a way of helping the economy without being overly harsh on those that otherwise would have no opportunity to go to university at all.

  17. Trace

    Fair or not I can’t see the point of protesting as this government will never listen to students or low salary workers or the hard working NHS staff etc etc .. and who can honestly say the trouble causers where REAL students and if they were are they studying politics hoping to be the next tory leader?…it wouldn’t be the first time peaceful protests have been sabotaged.

  18. Oliver

    I honestly don’t think most people replying to this article have actually READ the article. I don’t see how it is so difficult for people to understand that none of the debt has to be repaid unless you have sufficient money. How can people complain about a system that is built around the principle of only accepting repayments once people are financially capable to do so. And you only end up paying more than under the current system if you have an average salary of over £40,000 or so. I think having to pay back £14,000 over 30 years is an absolutely acceptable price to pay for the skills that allowed you to advance a career to that level (which you would most likely fail to have achieved otherwise).

  19. Caitlin

    The rise in tuition fees is a scandal! I have received straight As and hoped to study at university- following the decision to raise tuition fees I have had to apply to colleges and consider full time employment. Sometimes I question whether politicians realised they are playing with people’s lives? Also, why start with tuition fees? Why not cut expenses completely? Considering how the majority of politicians abused that particular system.

    • Tom Bungay

      If you REALLY recived straights A’s (which i doubt based on your argument) you would know there are things called ‘scholarships’ for the exceptionally bright. I’m from an extremely poor family and have absolutely no qualms about applying to Uni this year.

  20. Mabel

    I strongly agree with thetuition fee protest. Is clear that we are in economy crisis but young people with a brighter hope for the future through going to university should not be panished for their good will. It’s so unreasonable to start a brighter life if only there is one in the coming future with a debt of such amount.

    Regardless, if the individual will be paying much or less than borrowed is not the question. Which ever angle you choose to see it, it’s still classified as a debt against your name.

    How does having a debt of that amount bring a better future and what is the guarantee that the law would not change again within the next few years on repayment schemes.

    This increase is damaging to the economy as the less priviledge will not be able to to fulfil their future goal. Less people will want to go to universities now and most jobs are after a degree qualification. so if this is the case, unemployment will rise for the worse.

    Well, it is obvious that the government has no compassion for us. Because they are able to pay with a blink of an eye, means all can. How insane is this.

    Let take, the instance of graduating with £30,000 debt, What does that say about you and how will that affect your credit score?

  21. Rosie

    The rise in tuition fees is ridiculous. I understand the country is in a bad economic situation right now, but by raising tuition fees they’re putting the countries future employment rates at risk. Young people are being put off further education because of the fear of debt, and who wants to be in their early twentees and already in debt? I don’t think tripling the costs was really nessessary. Perhaps an increase in 20% or so, that would still make a massive improvement in our economical state, and it would prevent a lot of student pressure.

  22. Jade

    Generally I think a rise in tuition fees fixes the withhold of coming out of university to no career with a degree and Britain becoming over qualified. The prices put people off and push them to different careers, however the issue there is where are the careers? the labour jobs? other aspects of work? hard to get a job nowadays, so in reason the government without intent create less amounts of people heading towards university and head them towards other careers, the issue with that is there are hardly any permanant sercure careers available; in turn leaving students coming out of college jobless, or pushed into a shabby career that may not be sercure, relable or permanant to support a family and household; creating more individuals claiming benefits, making individuals having a family and career much later in there life or with lack of financial and job sercurity. The aim of the government cutting fees realistically is to pay for recision and also withholds benefits of the individuals going to uni being able to come out to an open career from there degree as less people are applying, on the other hand many people will remain jobless, with dreams and ambitions crushed, future unsure of, and costing more money than its worth by the individuals that are left jobless who want to start a life and family at the average age in life claiming benefits as its easier than doing part-time shabby work for the same money. The government deserve what there getting at the moment from students as cleg didnt keep to his work and created an opposite promise to the students as he originally said, plus he has crushed many students and parents hopes, ambitions, movement, sucess’ and dreams which is undeserved for people who are trying, I can understand peoples anger completly and the position there in on the other hand maybe thats just how the world works I mean look at our soilders dont get enough money and respect as they deserve nor people who have worked hard all there life where others get givin free money and cant be bothered to get of there sarces for there children, family or the rest of us. Then look at the bank that all the tax payers helped out when in debt, now they have earned a profit of us they decide to hand out non-deserved bonus to the top end high payed workers as they made profit of us with no penny left to our name for our help. I can understand why everyones angry with the government and there wrong choices its just snobbery from people who have never lived a day in an average persons or working persons life. There stopping people who cant afford fees getting an education, sercure job, good future and life. They only look after there own and things they see through there own eyes, that being the upper class and middle class’.

  23. Miriam

    The rise in fees is shocking, especially after some members of the government hinted towards free further education in establishments such as universities. Unfortunately, the media has hyped the situation up, scaring society with figures such as £9,000, when only some universities and specific courses will want or need to go up to this extremity. I am not aware of the £14,000 figure. Are we more scared of the interest rates than the actual fees themselves?
    I find it hard to comprehend the violence which students retaliated against this news with.

  24. farzana

    I think the tripled fees are unfair. student protests are the only way those in power will listen. did you notice how half the cabinet members didn’t vote for the increases. the fees will increase after 2012 and they will go up to the proposed £14,000, the interest has been raised. why should we have to pay stupid amounts of money for a good education, is it not our right?
    Its hard enough to go to Uni to get a degree without having to worry about the debt you are left with at the end. being a mature student i know how hard it is to have to work while you study.there are not enough hours in the day. it makes you think if your going to be struggling to pay off this debt for the next 30 years is it worth it?
    Universities are becoming exclusive for the rich. how many people will get 25-50k jobs after they get their degree? not many!!!!!!

  25. ec

    I totally disagree with the way that the protests were carried out against the rise in tuition fees. Some the people acted in such irresponsible ways and made students look really bad. Yes, the tuition fee rise will affect us all, I myself decided not to take a gap year after i finish sixth form this year, but our countrys economy will benefit greatly by the rise.

  26. Mariam

    All these Mps have been to uni, now they are all supporting this new government to raise tuition fees, how on earth does this fair to us. Every one should be equal on this planet what has been there since god knows when this new government should not have change it. There is never going to be a second term for them !

  27. CAT

    yes they are

  28. Marie-Claire

    I will be entering University as a mature in September. I think the protests were well meant but were hijacked by a few militant and misguided individuals who think this will benefit the cause, unsurprisingly it had the effect of a child dropping its food on the floor, and only served to denigrate a largly peaceful protest. This country is probably the closest it has been to bancruptcy since the financial collapse in the 1930’s. Measures are needed to be taken to cut out the dead wood to allow for new growth and sadly it does mean that all areas will need to be streamlined and we will all need to tighten our collective belt a little to achieve this. Personally I don’t believe that we will be financially as badly off as the press would lead us to believe, I think that it is all hype to sell papers. The amount that would need to be paid back on a monthly basis is aprox £7-12 per month. For those on the minimum wage ie £15k This is the equivalent to an average trip to the pub/bar. Not bad considering the average graduate will probably be earning on average £40-50k per annum within the first 10 years of their career, and would be paying around £30-80 per month max and you come away with a degree and an opportunity to get better paid jobs anywhere in the world. Lets not forget that if the loan has not been paid off within 30 years it gets wiped, so stop whinging folks, our education system is not as expensive nor as draconian as we are being told. Take a look at the equivalent system in the U.S!!!!

  29. Silviu

    As a prospective student I really have second thoughts about studying in UK,I mean the price of tuition and fees will increase and will be as they are in U.S right now,what’s the deal with that?I think this is gonna be a minus for U.K as from now on students will head their way to other countries,before I was really excited about attending an university over there but now I’m really disapointed about how things turn out.

  30. Alishia

    I feel that the way some students protested was utterly wrong, however, this was a very, very small percentage of the population of students that took to the streets in recent protests. Unfortunately, it seems the mass media did not have much else to report on during this time and exaggerated and over-exposed what was happening to a point that they reported only on the damage that had been caused and not on the current issue itself. Perhaps if less time was spent reporting on the mindless vandalism that took place and more on the obvious issue of student fees and who will ACTUALLY be affected, then here would not be so much confusion on how these changes will generally affect future graduates and we would all be a little bit more informed.
    I feel that students in general, agree that the money has to come from somewhere however the lack of consideration students recieved about the changes is what is really the issue here. This, and along with the promise made by the LibDems to completely abolish student fees in the near future- and then changing their mind, are, in my opion, the real reason that so much protesting and frustration took place. Students were not consulted properly nor kept informed and those who voted LibDem for this particular promise feel totally betrayed.
    I find the whole student finance system so much more confusing than it really has to be, anyone I have spoken to is not generally aware of what they are going to end up repaying in the end.
    I intend on going to University this September but I have absolutely no idea how I will survive- I am one of many people who cannot run to the ‘Bank of Mum & Dad’ for any financial assistance so alongside my 37.5 hour a week student nurse placement and my university studies, I am going to have to some how, find enough hours in the week to work to pay for my rent, bills and food. Fortunately the NHS will be paying for my tuition fees so I wont end up in a whole heap of debt at the end however, as a mature student- I too do not qualify for a maintenence living allowance so I have no idea what I will be surviving on when I start my degree in Sept.
    Student fees as a whole, have to stay but there has to be fairer and clearer ways to weigh up the pro’s and con’s of studying at University so people are best placed to decided if it is right for them. I HAVE to go to Uni to become a Nurse – something I will never understand because I feel I could work in a hospital and train at the same time without going to Uni, but I cant work as one without a degree now because the law says so. However, people who go to Uni for the sake of it and who have no real need or reason to be at Uni should not get it for free just because they cant be arsed to get a full time job instead (and I know lots of people who fall into this category). Why should tax payers and the government pay for them? Personally, I think the best way forward would be to lower essential degrees for key workers and people that are needed in this country and have to go to Uni in order to do their job (Nurses, Doctors Scientists etc.) and then the more unecessary or leisurely degrees should be paid for by the students who wish to do them but are not essential for them th to do their job.
    I know my idea is bound to be controversial but it can not be any worse than the mess the current government has gotten us into!

  31. Gem

    I feel that the rise in tuition fees is an unnecessary added expense at this time. The governement is supposedly all for more young people getting into higher education and achieving their potential, and yet they now decide to make it that much harder for that to happen. University is risking turning back into a place suited only to the elite, as in those whose parents can afford to fork out thousands of pounds that few others can afford. This is not the sort of society we should return to livng in. Your average working class citizen just cannot afford to pay so much, especially when job opportunities after graduation are now so thin on the ground. Besides, the governments image is not exactly great these days since Nick Clegg decided to go back on his word. Nice job with that one, guys.

  32. Timmy G

    I am a mature student, and I can understand to a certain degree how students must feel, having being told by the government that tuition fees would not be increased.
    Not only have the fees been increased, but the government cut the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA). Yes the government believes that the cut to the EMA would not effect students or stop students from going to college or universities, but any money a student gets helps, them in some way. Also there have to be cuts across all departments and services that affect every one in the UK, this is understandable.

    As a mature student I applied for Adult Learning Grant, but the salary I earned the previous year meant I could not qualify for this grant. Although I can understand this decision the little that I could have been entitled to would have helped. All this being said a student who has to rely on their parents, who are possibly on low or average incomes would have to seek part-time jobs. Such students have lost a bit of confidence in the promises of the government. Whether a student has to pay back tuition fees, or a loan in the future is irrelevant to a student, their main concern is now, today and how they and their families are able to cope with the every day costs of travel fees, money for food and bills.

  33. Alex Scott

    “for the majority of household, £9,000 a year is difficult or just totally not feasible to achieve”

    For the vast majority of households, this will not be paid up front. Contrary to media propaganda, tuition fees are generally paid with a loan on generous terms, which only begins to be repaid once the student is earning a decent amount. The explanation in the article is better than any I could make, so I’ll just refer you to what’s already been written.

  34. Hollie Craven

    I agree with both sides of this although, unless your earning a fair amount of money a year you don’t pay that much back until you are earning a lot of money so I don’t see why people could be put off by the tuition fees

  35. Joana Silva

    If the value there was a rise in the value that could be extracted from a degree, in line with the rise in tuition fees then I may have agreed with them. In most cases however, it really is just a hefty price tag with no improvement in what students get out of studying for a degree: facilities may not be better, contact hours aren’t improving and so forth.

  36. Gemma loudon

    I completely understand why students are so infuriated with the rise in fees. They have worked hard their whole way through school to get a place at university to find it being the most expensive venture of their life so far. The unfortunate truth is this puts many young people off working hard at achool, and even attempting to get into university.
    At this point I have never been so happy to be Scottish and have my fees taken care of, because the wealth inequalities are so great in Scotland, that fees for universities would only worsen the situation.

  37. Ese

    All I want to know is what all that money will be used for? I don’t think University is worth the current amount!

  38. charli

    Rise of tuition fees, will that not mean that there will be more people out of work because people arent getting the qualifications that they need in order to do a certain job? MP’s want Britain to be intelligent but arent willing to help people get there, and then moan that people are in debt… no wonder because people are still paying off their university loan!
    I think protesting against the tuition fees was a good idea till it got blown out of proportion by rioters throwing things at police, no wonder they put it up after the damage that was caused.
    i am wanting to go to university myself and i am relying on loans and grants in order to get me there but i don’t think it should come from the household income it should be down to the student not parents ect.

  39. Loweena

    Its an absaloute joke in my opinion, rising tuition fees and stopping EMA means less people go in to further education. This has so many negative effects and will halt the devlopment of the UK. Currently when it comes to business we cant compete with cheap labour but we can compete on intellect this allows us to be able to compete with businesses from for example china. So without this we will fall far behind and dont stand a chance of competing with Multi national coporations. If the number of graduates go down it may stop businesses from locating in the UK which would not help the economy at all.It is ridiculous. I think tuition fees shouldn’t be done or kept down at £2.000 – £3.000. It’s just not suitable for people that don’t have money to pay it 🙁

  40. Lowri

    I am currently a A Level student at the moment and hoping to start uni in sept this year, i totally agree that the increase in tution fees is unfair as many people can’t afford to study in a university due to these high fees. The government should help student to be able to afford these fees in order for them to get the same oppertunity as others. Why should students be punished and people who don’t try in life get the support we need?!.

  41. Holly

    I had to miss out on Uni for 2 years because 2 years ago i damaged my knee while i was in sixth form, it took doctors 8 months to figure out what the problem was (after much hasle!) and after another 10 months and 2 operations i’m still having physio. This gap wasn’t my fault so why should i pay £9,000 a year to better myself! I don’t want to be stuck in a dead end job that pays silly money and it’s not like i’m going to be doing a waste of time degree. This is totally unjust and they are just shooting themselves in the foot by raising them this high! WHY SHOULD WE PAY FOR OTHERS MISTAKES?!!??!!??

  42. scott

    Another middle class spoon fed tart trying to brain wash with statistics & probabilities, don’t trust any one that hails from the bbc

  43. Helen C

    I’m pretty sure Nick Clegg promised no tutition fees?

  44. Chanel McFarlane

    Although I am not in favour of the rise in tuition fees and cut of EMA, I have considered both aspects, based on as much knowledge offered on the matter. The government argues supposedly that this increase in fees will benefit the economy in the long run, and to some extent its true; provided that employment levels rise and actually having a degree in whatever chosen field, carries out some sort of substantial value then yes, students and graduates affected by the rise in fee’s should be earning there way out of debt, it does put stress on the generation effected and some can argue that it would deter many from going to university, but at who’s cost. I am attending university this year and although this does not directly effect me I can say that it would and should only drive me and others to want to pursue a degree in whatever career field , if it is beneficial, regardless of how much it cost. If there is believe that the government wants to deter people from going university.. Why then buy into it, why then feel discourage. The matter of the situation is many people are going university for the sake of it and that is an expense taken out of the public purse. As unfair as the increase of fees seems there is a way around it and it can be either taken as the end of higher education as we know it.. Or as a way to encourage people to start working harder, especially the my generation. Don’t mis understand, I am opposed to the idea but you will never find me at westminster graffiting on walls, when I have little or no knowledge on the matter. I do believe however students deserve more of a direct explanation from the government.

  45. Niall

    I personally feel that it is unfair on the middle class. Those on the upper economic scale can afford higher education, those from a disadvantaged background recieve a sizeable grant with those who are just outside the disadvantged income bracket recieve little to no means tested grants and may, quite simply, not be able to afford to pursue higher education.

  46. Ben

    although the new system will be fairer in the sense money is not paid back until the student is earning £21,000 or more per year, the amount that will have to paid back is astonishing, and means that everyone who wants a degree will start working life with an horrific amount of debt. I personally find the worst thing about this is that cameron came from a rich family and never has had to worry about money or tuition fees. he has never had to live in the real world.

  47. Edith

    Personally the protest did get out of hand! But I still think that the cap on tuition fees will not be helpful for future students. I mean who would want to be in debt for 30 years!! It just will discourage students from applying and to look for alternatives because they wouldn’t want to pay back so much. People are already struggling with fees as it is. How ever the only way we can find what the outcome will be is when it starts taking place, then we will know the magnitude of the capping on fees.

  48. Meria

    I personally disagree with the fact that students should be in debt to this extend just because we want to better our economy. It is like not caring enough for these young people life and future. Why should we put such a burden on them? Why should we sacrifice their entire life and destroy their hope just because we want to get out of the economic crisis? I think that David Cameron could have found a much better solution than this suicidal one. They don’t have to worry because their own children future is already taken care of unlike working class family children who always have to be ‘stuck in the mud’. Even if there was an increase, why triple? Why not a little bit like 10% or 20% more of the original amount for instance? Please, I really think that the government should reconsider its decision et put the children interest first because they are the future, if they are destroyed, all of us our future is destroyed.

  49. Ruth Tsegah

    I really still don’t understand how the rise in tuition fee works, it has not been explained well and i really think the politicians are not understanding the stress that would bring on students due to this tuition fees, however the students protest got out of hand and now they are not being heard, rather they are being branded as vandals.

  50. fy

    i’ve spent 3 years after six form working and travelling while living with my parents. im going to university next year. I don’t know how i will stand in another three years time when i have a degree but i’ve realised after alot of shit jobs that doing something you enjoy is probably worth the hastle

  51. derek atkinson

    i have to say that some of the degree courses on offer these days are a waste of time and all this about fees going up is because of these silly degrees that are being given. i am 52 and about to do a degree in nursing as i see that as a place where i can benifit the rest of the population not some degree that aint worth the paper its written on and at the end of 3 years you have a 25k debt for a job a mc donalds dishing up burgers see what is on offer in the job market and then go for a degree in that subject not asi have witnessed a degree in golf unless you are tiger woods why

  52. Izzy

    I completely agree that protesting about this matter has ‘got out of hand’ and is, in many ways, pointless because it isn’t realistically going to achieve much more than trouble and agro for the rest of us who are trying to think of productive ways round the situation, However, for the majority of household, £9,000 a year is difficult or just totally not feasible to achieve and this cap on fees is going to deter students, it’s inevitable. There must be a less extreme way for the government to save money, hasn’t there?!

  53. waqas

    Its an absaloute joke in my opinion, rising tuition fees and stopping EMA means less people go in to further education. This has so many negative effects and will halt the devlopment of the UK. Currently when it comes to business we cant compete with cheap labour but we can compete on intellect this allows us to be able to compete with businesses from for example china. So without this we will fall far behind and dont stand a chance of competing with Multi national coporations. If the number of graduates go down it may stop businesses from locating in the UK which would not help the economy at all.

  54. Adele Fisher

    I don’t agree with how students have protested against the rise in tuition fees, but being a student myself, i do not believe the sudden increase is a good thing. Getting the money to go to university is hard enough as it is. The politicians will lower them when they realise they are running out of young surgeons or new police recruits etc.

  55. Amy

    Although the rise in tuition fees is not an ideal and has therefore made me decide not to take a gap year after sixth form but to carry on with my studies in University, I think the student protests got a bit out of hand and when you actual scrutinise further into the tuition fees they are not as bad as when you just look on the surface and see that there will be an increase in price. Yes, I understand for some people it will discourage them from going to university in future years but if it is something that will help us rebuild our economy then it should happen.