Is there a Positive to Increased Tuition Fees?
From 2012, the majority of British universities are set to increase their tuition fees to £9,000 for at least one course. So far, the government has been behind the universities in allowing them to charge the maximum fees, which are apparently reserved for 'special exceptions'.
Here at Save the Student we have discussed both the negatives (the rise in fees) and also the positives (the fact that you will actually repay less each month than before) of the 2012 rise in fees. You can use our tuition fee calculator to work out how much you would actually be paying.
As students ourselves, we are against the rise in tuition fees across the board and have shown our opposition through attending student marches and running a large petition.
However, it is important to consider some of the other arguments which lend support to the increases. Could there really be a significant number of benefits to the increased tuition fees?
Positives to increased fees
- Some claim that the rise in tuition fees will bring about more responsibility on the part of universities to prove that they are 'worth' the £9,000 a year.
- Market-led competition tends to lead to greater efficiency in the system, with additional gains in the quality of service (in this case, the service is education) provided.
- It has been reported that, with the increased fees, a new and almost transparent system will be implicated. This system will allow prospective students to check facts and figures about each university. These could be things such as the average leaving grade, the quality of teaching and student reviews.
- Students do not have to pay back a penny of their student loan until earning over £21,000 per annum. It does not cost anything (in fees) to attend university.
- Universities will also be under more pressure to improve the employability of their students, in order to succeed in competition with other universities. This could lead to students having better job prospects when leaving university. Students will also be allowed to check whether a certain university will enhance their prospects of getting a job after graduating.
- Lastly, it has been proposed that universities must show how they have spent the money received from tuition fees. This will allow for much more transparency and enable students to question where their money is going. The implication of this system is scheduled for 2013, and there is no doubt that it could be one of the few positives to come out of the increased tuition fees.
While there are a number of clear positives to the new fees system, the fact remains that the actual cost of university is growing at a frightening pace. Even though some graduates may never have to repay their full loan, the vast majority will, and it is a debt which they will be burdened with for many years. Also, it may not be long until we slide up the scale and begin to mirror the much higher cost of American universities.
Moreover, many bright students may be put off from furthering their education due to an innate fear of debt, which is unfortuantly fuelled by myths and misinformation. Even though students won't have to pay any fees until earning, the idea of clocking up a significant amount of debt is enough to deter some.
This website aims to give the full facts and provide a balanced view on the new fees coming in next year.