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6.2 university costs

So, it seems they have finally gotten around to raising the tuition fees for universities, even after all the protests. £8500 for fees here, plus rent, food and drink, stuff needed for the course, here it isn’t unusual to pay a £100 a year for printing and model making equipment. All in all, a typical student might well find themselves spending £12K a year, more than my parents have ever earnt between the two of them, and here they expect it of a single person, who has little chance of getting a proper full time job, with all their randomly scattered lectures and hours of coursework (I know, some courses only have three or four hours of lectures a week and then a bunch of exams at the end, I mean for people here doing real work).

However, personally, as a student, I think this is a good thing. No, really. Surely it is right for those that benefit most from the university education (the students) to pay for it. The alternative is to let the government subsidise at least part of the costs, money they get from taxes, paid by, for example, my parents. And by you.

OK then, these bankers and such like that have messed up our economy, they went to university, I assume, back then it was even cheaper to attend, which meant a lot more tax money  spent on universities, money paid to the state by my grandparents, honest, decent, hard-working people, that allowed these bankers to make hundreds of millions of pounds, and then leave us all in this mess.

So, higher fees, a good idea. Besides which, it isn’t as though people will be paying back any more, they still only take the same portion of our income, just for longer. Though, I would like to suggest some ideas of my own. Perhaps lower fees on those professions we need more of, doctors, teachers, maybe even the sorts of people associated with the struggling industries that are unable to pull us out of recession. I also think perhaps the cost of university and the required grades should be in some sort of reverse proportion. Those places that require really high grades are not allowed to charge as much, effectively rewarding those people that tried harder and did better at school, whilst those people that struggled at school have the option of agreeing to pay to get into a more expensive university, which would then have sufficient funding to afford the best equipment and teachers, and so work better with those that need extra help.

That does leave one problem, though, people that never pay back the money, then the government still has to fund their education. People that see university as a fun way to avoid growing up and getting a real job for another few years, only go into lectures a few hours a week, and spend the rest of the time getting drunk or hanging out with friends or whatever. So, some people opt for, say, sociology or film studies, knowing they will never get a good enough job from that to pay off their loan. The only way I can see to provide a disincentive for them would be to expect them to pay a larger portion of their income, which seems hardly fair, and how to you decide who to include in this, I am sure there are a few serious and dedicated anthropologists out there, for example, doesn’t seem right to expect them to pay more just because they got a less well paying job. More likely you have to expect everyone to pay extra, difficult on those just starting out after finishing the course, I can think of few jobs that would pay that well right from the start. Only thing I can think of, is to set up some sort of graduated system, where people have to pay more back each year, that way those that take a course that leaves them working in somewhere like Tesco or Mcdonalds the rest of their lives would get into difficulties a few years later, whilst those that get into a decent profession and earn more each year would be better off.

Only trouble there is those people that try hard, do their best, but for whatever reason just find it too difficult and never get anywhere, then we would be sticking them in the same disincentivised pile as all the others. So, far from perfect, but then, I am not a politician,  am not paid to work such things out, these are just a few little ideas of mine that I felt like sharing today.

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