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to set the record straight on tuition fees

(192 Posts)
happiestblonde Sun 05-Dec-10 14:00:33

Okay, following another week of violent protests by students who probably haven't actually read the coalition's plans for tuition fees I think someone needs to put facts out there.

1) NO ONE PAYS UP FRONT. Not students, not parents, regardless of family wealth. So no students ever pay, only graduates on decent incomes.
2) With the current system graduates start repaying tuition fees once they earn £15k. This is not much money.
3) The coalitions proposals mean graduates (not students, not their families - so being from a 'poor' background shouldn't matter) once they earn over £21k. Even then they only pay back 9% of income OVER 21k.
4) With the new system all students actually pay £45 less per month because of the rise from 15k to 21k.
5) Most students now take out loans for tuition fees. Their parents do not pay. My father didn't pay for mine despite being able to quite easily because it is my own debt. Therefore the argument that it harms poorer students does not stand - the new proposals entirely remove the burden for payment to GRADUATES earning over £21k per year (and even then they will pay very little per month).
6) If you lose your job or quit work you stop paying.
7) There will be a lot more money put in for poorer students and a rise in maintenance grants, just in case poor students are disincentivised because they don't understand the proposals
8) If students don't pay, who should? Is it not 'fair' that those who are earning more as a result of their degree should pay back the cost of it? Why should a single mother, pensioner, or another young person who hasn't had the chance to go to university foot the bill?

Sorry if patronising, I presume most mners know this but trots like Aaron Porter seem to be taking over the dialogue and I find it wildly irritating. The coalition proposals are more 'progressive' than the current system.

Oh and Labour brought in top up fees.

Growl.

MrManager Sun 05-Dec-10 14:03:16

The protests are because the Lib Dems made an explicit promise not to rise the fees, not just because the fees are rising.

And such a dramatic increase in the fees is something worth protesting about, even if you don't have to pay up front.

nattivitycake Sun 05-Dec-10 14:07:59

And its not the poor who will lose out, but the middle class, as usual.

My sister (a student) was in tears about this yesterday, as she doesnt get any grants etc, only her loan, which would triple. She is studying education and knows what she is talking about. A lot better than I do, so I wont even try

onimolap Sun 05-Dec-10 14:09:31

And the latest proposals - students from poorer backgrounds - undermines much of the above as they might be significantly wealthier graduates. Patching the policy likes this is a Bad Thing.

Someone also needs to remind the speechwriters that "brave" in Sir-Humphrey-speak actually means suicidally reckless.

happiestblonde Sun 05-Dec-10 14:09:53

Well if you will vote for a politial party without real policies only pipedreams what do you expect when they're given a bit of power...

happiestblonde Sun 05-Dec-10 14:11:14

Agreed nativity about the middle classes. Flat rate income tax and lower business taxes is the answer but that's another debate.

nattivitycake Sun 05-Dec-10 14:11:47

Ref point 7, btw.

And regarding point 5, AFAIK, the amount you can get a loan for is dependant on your parents income, regardless of whether they give you money. This is why I, nicely in the middle class bracket, couldnt afford uni straight from school as my dad wasn't willing to pay for me and I didnt want to have a massive loan...

webwiz Sun 05-Dec-10 14:16:29

Yabu as you obviously have no idea what the effect of these proposals is on the average 17 year old. The prospect of £40,000 of DEBT when you leave university when the most you can earn is £35 in your saturday job or a tenner for a bit of babysitting is quite overwhelming whatever the conditions are for paying it off.

Are you from Liberal Democrat head office as you are being very ignorant and stupid. Most parents DO pay something towards their children at university DD1's maintenance loan only covers her rent and so we have to give her money on top of that and yes she works in the holidays as well.

Of course when someone goes to university it will benefit absolutely NO ONE NOT ONE SINGLE OTHER PERSON apart from the person that studied for the degree. What a stupid argument - the amount of tax me and DH have paid will at least go some way to offset your pensioner and single mother without even beginning on more specific benefits of education.

Growl indeedhmm

LaWeaselMys Sun 05-Dec-10 14:16:35

It does affect the poor more - it makes it much harder for them to study long degrees (like law, medicine, architecture) with high contact hours that make it tough to get a part time job that pays enough to cover the hours.

Compared to wealthy parents who contribute to their dc's education their debt is massive and crippling.

It's not the rates you pay it's for how long. How is any degree educated person going to afford to buy a house? 20yrs to pay off student loan then 20yrs to save deposit?

Financially this is hugely crippling for an entire generation. The knock on effect that will have when there isn't enough taxable income left to cover financial care for the huge number of baby-boomer pensioners is crazy.

DaisySteiner Sun 05-Dec-10 14:18:45

If it's the graduates who pay off the debt, not students nor parents, then why will those from poorer families not have to pay anything? That just doesn't make sense to me.

LaWeaselMys Sun 05-Dec-10 14:20:04

All you have proved by the way, is that you don't understand. You're just parroting excuses that don't cover any of the real issues.

atswimtwolengths Sun 05-Dec-10 14:20:58

That is a very patronising OP! What makes you think you are the only person to understand the fees system?

atswimtwolengths Sun 05-Dec-10 14:22:05

And maybe one reason the students are protesting is that the Lib Dems were voted in partly because of their opposition to any fees, and then promptly backed a system which would increase them threefold!

Blackduck Sun 05-Dec-10 14:23:30

And can we add the reason the tuition fees need to rise is because the government has taken a scythe to the teaching block grant....

I am tired of people assuming this is the only way..... And , BTW I HAVE read the Browne report (in detail....) so I do know what the proposals are.

LaWeaselMys Sun 05-Dec-10 14:25:46

They poorer students will still have to pay.

However Universities have offered grants to poorer students since 2006 when top-up fees were introduced. I imagine these will be increased (but for example, I got around £1000pa I'm grant and still needed a part time job to make rent, if I hadn't've been on a course with low contact hours and been able to work around classes - I would have had to drop out. There was no chance of me studying medicine. There just wasn't enough grant to cover the shortcall by not being able to work more than 2 days a week)

There are also competitive pots like hardship funds (which can run out) and scholarships.

LoudRowdyDuck Sun 05-Dec-10 14:26:01

Oh piss off.

I am so sick of people assuming all students are dim.

If you cannot understand how the prospect of additional debts harms poor families, I think it is you who are not really understanding. Think about it: if you know that your parents need your financial support asap, you will not want to be taking out loans, even if you don't have to pay them back straightaway. You certainly won't like the idea that, just when you're earning enough to start helping out your parents, you'll need to pay paying back those loans instead.

cory Sun 05-Dec-10 14:29:59

While as a parent I will be telling my own dcs what you said in your OP and hope they are not put off higher education, I am still concerned as a university teacher that it will have an offputting effect on working class students: they are the people who are likely to feel most worried about longterm high debts because they have less confidence. We are already seeing fewer working class/comprehensive students and that's a recent development.

Let's face it, as a middle class child I always believed that money was a slightly secondary concern, because people like us always managed to muddle through somehow: unemployment and poverty happened to others. If I had been the child of wealthy middle class parents, I expect I would have felt this even more strongly, that I could afford to take risks, because people like me would be all right. A child who has never actually known any well paid adults among their immediate friends or family may find it much harder to envisage that they will actually become this person.

"Why should a single mother, pensioner, or another young person who hasn't had the chance to go to university foot the bill?"

Because the doctor who gets the chance to train at university might just save her life? Because the soap that makes her life less unbearable and tedious is written by somebody with an education? Because these people will pay her benefits? Because the general financial status of the country- which does affect the quality of life of the poorest and most vulnerable- will depend to some extent on its financial competitiveness. Because breakthroughs in medicine that makes the pensioner's life less painful and might save the life of the single mother's baby are done by university educated people?

campergirls Sun 05-Dec-10 14:35:30

Happiestblonde, you assume that the protesting students are narrowly and exclusively concerned with the increases in tuition fees. That's not the case. It's the aspect of their protest that the media coverage emphasises, but they are also protesting against other aspects of the government's attack on education: the withdrawal of EMA; the withdrawal of the state from funding HE on a scale that has no parallel in any comparable developed (or even developing) country; the sheer anti-intellectualism and instrumentalism of the wider policy. The picture is much bigger than you seem to realise.

oh and pmsl at Aaron Porter as a 'Trot'. If you hoped you would be taken seriously, you truly shot yourself in the foot there. Did you notice how long it took him to come round to the idea of protesting at all?

LaWeaselMys Sun 05-Dec-10 14:38:58

Are you going to answer any of our explanations?

Or are you happy living with your uneducated belief that obviously all students are protesting because they are greedy and ignorant.

happiestblonde Sun 05-Dec-10 14:42:37

My partner is a university lecturer, a life long Labour supporter and yet sees that universities need funding. We have a huge debt, massive deficit so how do you suggest higher education is funded?

cory Sun 05-Dec-10 14:45:02

Very good point made there by campergirl

Our biggest gripe is that the government is very short-sightedly determined only to fund HE where they can see an immediate financial benefit. The problem with research and learning is that -as several Nobel Prize winners have pointed out recently- it simply doesn't work like that: you cannot predict what aspect of research or learning is going to be paying big bucks, or saving lives, in the next decade. And even in the most obvious short-term perspective, cutting all funds to humanities in a country that depends to a great extent on the tourist and soft skills market, is extremely short-sighted. We risk shooting ourselves in the foot here.

Another problem is that raised fees, and the tendency to view students as customers, is likely to lead to an inflation in marks: somebody who is going to be paying large sums of money for the next 30 years is likely to want to see value for money. And value for money in their eyes is going to be the 2:1 they feel they need to get their investment back, not the Third they might actually deserve.

LaWeaselMys Sun 05-Dec-10 14:47:36

It used to be funded by the government.

Education is an easy target to cut, as the people most affected are not old enough to vote.

They need to make cuts elsewhere. The NHS needs rethinking far more than university funding.

nattivitycake Sun 05-Dec-10 14:48:19

Do they really need a DEGREE in hotels and tourism though cory

Joolyjoolyjoo Sun 05-Dec-10 14:55:20

The thing I find a bit confusing about the whole thiing is that if, at 17, I had decided to leave school and wasn't able to get a job, the government would have paid for my upkeep, even if I was still living with my parents.

Because, however, I chose to go to university, it was up to my parents to pay my living expenses. Even although I lived in a different city.

Fair enough, graduates pay back tuition fees once they get a job. By this same token, then, surely people who have spent some time on benefits should have to pay them back when/ if they get a job? Obviously this would be unthinkable, but why are people who are trying to make themselves more employable and therefore more likely to pay tax penalised for their choices. this has never really made sense to me, tbh

cory Sun 05-Dec-10 14:56:31

No, nattivity, they need things like PhDs in history, to write the kind of books that will feed into TV series that will then feed into the tourist industry. They need degrees in English and music. And incidentally, we need well functioning, well reputed humanities departments because they bring in foreign students= foreign money.

All this talk of fake degrees is a bit of a red herring- they are not the only thing at risk.

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