9 October 2013

Student loans not big enough, Oxford want £16k fees, Naked student protest…

Students Loans don’t cover living costs

Poor StudentAccording to the National Union of Students, those in higher education in the UK face a crisis as loans and grants fail to increase with the cost of rent and bills (durrrr….).

Analysis by the union has revealed that the gap between income and expenditure for UK students is more than £7,600.

Our take: Not to blow our own trumpet but we’ve been talking about this for a while now (proof & more proof)! Why has it taken one of the largest student institutions so long to catch up? We’ll leave it up to you to judge…

Of course this doesn’t distract from the fact that it’s quite serious news (albeit quite old), and action needs to be taken to help out any students who are seriously struggling financially, as well as more support being given out in general. However, neither of those things seem particularly likely, so the emphasis has to be on you to be smart with your money which is where our money saving tips and deals come in!

Hungarian students take part in naked protest

hungarian naked protestStudents at Kapsovar University in Hungary have gone on a naked protest against the institution’s new rules on ‘conservative clothing’. Low cut tops, miniskirts and even flip flops have been marked as offending items.

At least 10 students attending classes in their underwear, with more protests involving flip flops and beach towels being planned.

Our take: We really can’t think of a better way to protest than this. Part of attending University is the freedom of expression and wearing whatever you want, and students right to protest draconian laws dictating what you should wear.

Oxford VC wants to charge higher Tuition Fees

andrew hamiltonThe Vice Chancellor of Oxford University has claimed that ‘better’ higher education institutes should be able to charge up to £16,000 a year in tuition fees, to reflect full cost of an undergraduate degree.

The VC, Professor Andrew Hamilton, wants to increase fees to make up for an apparent £70 million shortfall suffered by one of the world’s richest universities and wealthiest global alumni.

Our take: As you might be able to tell, we’re not buying this. Considering how well the current increase in fees has gone down, putting the prices up even higher is hardly going to be a popular move. Oxford have only just settled their ‘selecting by wealth’ discrimination case, is it really the right time for them to be bringing this up?

Number of modern foreign language courses drop

internationalSince 1998 the number of universities offering MFL (Modern Foreign Language) courses has dropped by a huge 40%, down from 93 to just 56. The stark drop means a lack of linguistic ability, almost acting as a tax on UK trading.

Our take: England already has a bad enough reputation for being poor with foreign languages, now it seems that we’re proving it. As benevolent and omnipotent as Google translate is, it’s not anywhere near as powerful as a fluent, highly educated MFL graduate when it comes to foreign trade, which is essential to revitalising the economy.

State of the Machin: On The Simpsons: Tapped Out

Another semi rant about games this week from me.

tapped outI’ve managed to tear myself away from GTA V for just about long enough to get addicted to The Simpsons: Tapped Out on my phone. Yes. it’s a social, city management iPhone & Android game, with micro-transactions, long waiting times for pointless actions to complete and worse of all it’s published by EA. But it’s actually really fun, and I dare say deeper (in terms of content) and more reliable than the latest SimCity that was released.

So far I’ve completely managed to avoid signing into an Origin account, interacting with another human (which is how most games should be) or paying any real money for some fake in game money. Which I think means I’m winning.

The game has character, by which it means it has characters, lovingly crafted characters who over the past twenty years have become icons of pop culture. The game drip feeds you more content as you work through the levels, unlocking new characters, quests and buildings, as you try and rebuild Springfield, which Homer has destroyed because he was too busy playing a silly iPad city simulator (obviously).

The natural inclination is to try and build Springfield exactly how it appears in the show, I’m definitely not the first to Google a map/layout. But the game is one step ahead of you, taking pride in the fact that Springfield’s geography bends to whatever the shows writers need it to be at that time. The emphasis is on the player to imagine how Springfield should be, and build it to their own specification.

I’d usually put my Origin name on here so you could add me if you were really sad, but as I mentioned earlier, I haven’t got an Origin account and have no intention on getting one. And I’m perfectly happy playing with myself, thank you very much.

And that’s the State of the Machin.

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