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Cutting fees to £6000 would help the richest graduates?

(47 Posts)
Figmentofmyimagination Sun 15-Feb-15 12:42:12

I was intrigued by radio 4s "more or less" programme last week, looking at the tuition fee statistics. It was an eye opener for me to learn that because of the low number of students expected to pay their loan off in full - and fewer women than men over the 30 years - milliband's proposal to cut tuition fees to £6,000 would only benefit the richest graduates - and quite a small proportion at that.

The system is such an unbelievable mess. With such a low number projected to pay back their fees, where is the money going to come from in real terms?

GentlyBenevolent Sun 15-Feb-15 12:49:11

The system is about to implode, no matter what. But it's important to remember that when we talk about 'the richest graduates' we are talking about the kids who get the highest paying jobs after graduation, not the kids who come from the richest backgrounds. So it may well be some kids who come from poorer backgrounds who would benefit from the cut in fees in terms of paying back less. But all would benefit from the reduction in debt slung round their necks.

From my perspective though (as a parent who will hopefully have 3 kids in HE all at the same time for one awful year), it's the maintenance loan and the level of parental contribution that is the real problem.

Figmentofmyimagination Sun 15-Feb-15 13:45:06

This is true. I'm really anxious about the maintenance loan - even the maximum would only just cover accommodation costs.

Kez100 Sun 15-Feb-15 13:46:23

Level of parental contribution is currently high but made worse by the cost of halls/accommodation (probably little can be done about this as property and utilities are expensive) and the general expensive cost of a clubbing lifestyle (meaning students are spending rather more than they need to).

Kez100 Sun 15-Feb-15 13:47:35

All of my DDs friends from poorer backgrounds have stayed at a Uni close to home.

GentlyBenevolent Sun 15-Feb-15 14:01:59

Kez - DD1 isn't from a poorer background (this generation - which is actually relevant since even high earners aren't anywhere without inheritance, these days) but sadly staying close to home isn't an option for her or her sister, due to what they want to study. And it's unlikely to be an option for DS due to the typical grades required by the close to home option. Sigh.

The system really is totally out of joint - much like society. Future generations will be so burdened by un-payable debt and sky high living costs that they will be forced to be wage slaves and never rock the boat. It's a new serfdom, that has been created. Upwardly mobile (financially) people from my generation will see our kids sinking back down to where we came from, regardless of how hard they work or how well they do within the education system.

Kez100 Sun 15-Feb-15 14:06:13

Sorry, didn't mean it to read that they should stay closer to home but that is what is happening.

GentlyBenevolent Sun 15-Feb-15 14:09:08

No, you're fine, I understood exactly what you meant. smile I was just saying that it's not an option for everyone. I agree it's a sensible strategy if you can do it though.

skylark2 Sun 15-Feb-15 16:57:47

The maintenance loan is the main problem. It's only about 50% more than it was when I was a student in the late 1980s. It doesn't even come close to covering DD's accommodation, and she's by no means in expensive halls and is self-catering. It will just barely cover it next year living in a cheaper shared house.

She cried when she signed her student finance agreement. It was nearly £40,000.

TheWordFactory Sun 15-Feb-15 17:11:57

Another problem identified by the universities is that whilst Labour are proposing to cut fees, they're not saying where the deficit of funding will come from.

The universities are concerned that they're going to be left with a significant shortfall.

If not, are taxes going up? Will all graduates be hit by a lifetime extra tax to pay?

GentlyBenevolent Sun 15-Feb-15 17:28:57

Taxation would be a much more equitable way to manage things.

TheWordFactory Mon 16-Feb-15 07:22:25

Well then Labour need to come out and day that.

It will be hugely unpopular with the young voters though.

Eastpoint Mon 16-Feb-15 07:34:29

There is already taxation, as you earn more you pay more tax. This means that people in their 50s & 60s who received grants as well as free tuition are contributing. They even got housing benefit while they were students.

TheWordFactory Mon 16-Feb-15 07:52:31

Current levels of taxation simply don't cover the tertiary education budget.

Blair faced this very stark choice: keep the numbers going to university down or ask students to pay.

Widening access to tertiary education to the working classes meant numbers couldn't be kept down. So...

bigbluestars Mon 16-Feb-15 08:04:24

England is so out of touch on this issue= and out of kilter with the rest of Europe, where fees are minimal.

I am glad I live in Scotland- students here are not charged.

TheWordFactory Mon 16-Feb-15 08:11:36

Yes but we stand out from other European countries in that our universities are internationally respected.

They are a global industry in themselves.

Our only other real competitor is the US.

To keep the standard high so we remain globally respected costs a lot of money.

The two internationally respected universities in Scotland have lots and lots of no. Scottish students which ensures their coffers are full and the education on offer remains high.

bigbluestars Mon 16-Feb-15 08:23:36

Most Universities in Britain have lots of foreign students- London has 40%, Manchester 23%, compared to Glasgow 16%. So I don't agree with your point.

TheWordFactory Mon 16-Feb-15 08:36:18

I think your percentages make my point .

Molio Mon 16-Feb-15 14:37:29

'Widening access to tertiary education to the working classes'?!

Bonsoir Mon 16-Feb-15 14:38:39

UK universities education is a major industry and huge investments have been made and are still being made to keep it competitive and attract inward investment and talent (in the form of students and researchers).

However, there are plenty of undergraduate (and even graduate) degrees that are barely worth the paper they are written on and won't enable graduates to get jobs that will repay the loans they took out to attend university. That means that some universities/courses are little more than expensive three-year holiday camps. This is the issue we need to deal with as a matter of urgency.

Molio Mon 16-Feb-15 14:41:05

Also, you'll find that a good number of European universities are highly respected in academia, but London will attract far more overseas students because of the language factor.

Bonsoir Mon 16-Feb-15 14:45:30

I don't think that the language factor is the sole reason that makes UK universities so attractive. One of the reasons France doesn't attract enough overseas students (despite many claims of wishing to do so) is that it is very difficult to secure a place if you haven't been through the French education system and the French bac. UK universities and UCAS are very friendly to non-UK applicants with "other" secondary school leaving diplomas.

TeWiSavesTheDay Mon 16-Feb-15 14:50:39

It's not just about what it costs though, it's about poor students being put off applying because they are scared of the level of personal debt the current fees lead to.

Bonsoir Mon 16-Feb-15 14:57:13

Students need to be put off applying if they don't know how they are going to pay back the debt.

There really isn't a good argument for having people go to university at vast expense if there isn't going to be some kind of economic value added.

TeWiSavesTheDay Mon 16-Feb-15 15:02:55

The people most put off university because of potential debt are poor.

High fees don't stop universities taking on mediocre students, if anything there are probably more as there is less competition for places. Wealthy young people with bad results are more likely time get a place somewhere than before!

Getting a degree isn't about graduate money out, there are plenty of graduate level jobs we need to keep society running that pay badly. Social work for example

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