Review of Tuition Fees

(30 Posts)
cuttingcarbonemissions Fri 19-Jan-18 12:56:59

I hear that the government is to launch a review of tuition fees - presumably in response to Labour’s plan to abolish/reduce them.

At the last election my DC voted Labour because they believed -mistakenly it appears- that a Labour government would waive fees already incurred.

Does anyone believe that either party will actually waive fees already paid? Is anyone considering paying fees upfront from own funds making a mistake?

OP’s posts: |
BubblesBuddy Fri 19-Jan-18 19:28:50

Paying fees up front unless you are wealthy is a financial mistake. Your DC may never pay a penny back!

I would prefer it if they cut the interest rates. Labour never fully costed their promise on tuition fees and it clearly would benefit the better off more than the worse off as it was not a progressive measure. University has to be funded somehow and the Labour proposals would have asked the less well off and the least educated in society to contribute through tax to educating the more educationally advantaged in society. Did your DC discuss whether that was fair or did they just want it all for nothing?

Bellamuerte Fri 19-Jan-18 19:31:59

They will never waive fees already incurred; it would cost too much. I greatly doubt if they will be reduced either - imo an increase is more likely.

My personal bugbear is that they are allowed to change the Ts&Cs for loans already made. Surely they should have to stick to the terms that people signed up for!

lljkk Fri 19-Jan-18 19:34:09

Paying fees up front unless you are wealthy is a financial mistake. Your DC may never pay a penny back!

Is this rule equally true for maintenance loans? Are the terms again so generous that it's worthwhile to take the loan rather than pay up front?

cuttingcarbonemissions Fri 19-Jan-18 20:56:39

@Bubbles - I think my DC’s approach was that since previous generations had had their university education funded by the state the unfairness lay in them having to pay for it themselves.

They also felt that if tuition fees were to be waived in the future it would be particularly unfair for one generation (those at University between 1998 and the present day) to have been lumbered with student debt.

OP’s posts: |
BubblesBuddy Fri 19-Jan-18 23:06:33

I agree there would be huge unfairness if fees were now abolished for future students whilst those who were born in the wrong era have to pay what is essentially a graduate tax plus a higher rate of income tax under Labour. That’s why the interest rates should be lowered. For all.

When previous generations went to university, few actually went compared to now. I went to a grammar school and only half went to university. Not so many years ago it was below 10% of school leavers. There were polytechnics and colleges of higher education and far fewer universities. All of these are now universities and a few more added for good measure. Whether we need them all is another matter of course. It was totally different for previous generations in that university was an academic destination and there were far fewer courses available.

It is necessary to pay for an expanded university sector and the students do benefit if they choose their courses wisely. Why do students want to go if it is not worth it?

Most loans for maintenance don’t cover the costs. Generally halls of residence cost more than the basic loan so parents make up the shortfall. Again take out the loan if you will miss the money from your savings/income. Your DC may never pay it back. If it’s chicken feed to you, pay up front.

BareGrylls Sat 20-Jan-18 12:57:39

lljkk Is this rule equally true for maintenance loans
Yes. This is why taking a loan for fees and self funding living costs is the worst of both worlds unless you are guaranteed to be a high earner.
Any DC who's likely career pays only an average salary will never pay it all back.

Cutting the interest rates does not help the vast majority of students as they will never pay off the loan with high or low interst rates. Cutting interest rates only benefits very high earners who will pay back less. The government is well aware of this and if they decide to cut loan interest rates instead of raising the repayment threshold they are helping only the wealthy.


peteneras Sat 20-Jan-18 16:44:07

"At the last election my DC voted Labour because they believed -mistakenly it appears- that a Labour government would waive fees already incurred."

This is where your DC makes the biggest mistake - voting Labour. Next to the Catholic schools admissions panel, the Labour Party is the biggest gathering of hypocrites under one roof.

And yes, there are too many universities available for too many youngsters enrolling to study do too many mickey mouse courses. Many of these youngsters would be walking the streets after a few years with nothing to do but lumbered with a massive debt. They could be doing far better by not going to university (and therefore no debt owing) and having a good job with reasonable years of experience by now.

peteneras Sat 20-Jan-18 16:44:18

Message withdrawn - duplicate post.

catlovingdoctor Sat 20-Jan-18 16:48:12

I think there should be tuition fees for most courses, but they should be less (around £5,000 per year). I also think students training in core professions which the country needs, such as Medicine, Dentistry, Teaching and Nursing, should be exempt from tuition fees and should receive grants for living costs.

Sofabitch Sat 20-Jan-18 16:49:49

I calculated that for my repayments to be higher than the monthly interest I'd have to earn over 50k a year.

So probably unlikely to ever pay them off then!

cuttingcarbonemissions Sat 20-Jan-18 17:27:15


But as I see it the current system incentivises studying courses which do not lead to lucrative employment. These students are unlikely to have to repay most of the loan as they will not reach the earnings threshold. It is those who go into well paid employment - and who thus also pay higher rate tax- who end up paying it all.

@catloving - I think the shortage of doctors and dentists is a result of the country not providing sufficient training places, rather than potential doctors being put off by the tuition fees. Places for medicine are massively oversubscribed. But I agree that you make an important point re teachers and nurses. The problem would be where to draw the line - the country also needs engineers, IT staff, data analysts and the like.

Perhaps I should rephrase my original question. If you have a DC about to study a subject which will almost certainly lead to a well paid job eg law at Oxbridge does it make sense to pay fees upfront. One part of me says spare them the debt. You did not have to pay. The other part says that if fees are abolished down the line you would have wasted £££££.
But the general opinion seems to be that fees will not be waived by any government in the future.

OP’s posts: |
caroldecker Sat 20-Jan-18 17:28:44

The fairest solution (ie to push the cost onto the future well off who benefited from the degree) is to raise the maximum cost and reduce the interest rate. Then prevent all universities charging the full amount with some 'league table' exercise in future student benefits.
The Labour manifesto of 2017 was the most middle-class benefit piece of paper written. There was nothing for the poor, but take from the very rich and give to the rich.

user369060 Sat 20-Jan-18 17:40:08

(those at University between 1998 and the present day)

Grants were reduced and replaced with loans from 1991 onwards, so it is the generation from 1991 that had to take loans.

* I also think students training in core professions which the country needs, such as Medicine, Dentistry, Teaching and Nursing.*

But people don't train to be teachers from age 18 - teachers for secondary do a degree first in their chosen subject, then train.

Imo it is also dubious to reduce/remove fees for highly paid professions such as medicine. As pp wrote, some of the biggest shortages are in STEM professions that are not necessarily that well paid but are crucial to the country.

user369060 Sat 20-Jan-18 17:41:48

I think there should be tuition fees for most courses, but they should be less (around £5,000 per year)

And if you reduce those fees then you would have to cover the rest of the costs of degrees via taxes - or almost half the salaries of academics. (The latter would be a disaster, given that UK academics are already not well paid and academia is an international profession. The UK would haemorrhage even more academics than it already is. )

titchy Sat 20-Jan-18 18:57:50

In all likelihood fees will be between £7 and £9k, varying according to subject/graduate salary, maybe TEF. No extra £ for unis so don't expect extra support for students with MH issues, WP activities pared back, lack of tutorial support, more GTAs teaching.

Would be a fairly meaty bill though if linked to TEF, a year after we've already had a fairly meaty HE bill, competing with Brexit and a shitload of others bills? Lords wouldn't be too supportive. General Election soon?! Who knows.

LardyMardy Sat 20-Jan-18 19:45:30

If you want fees reduced, what should we cut? Take your pick:
Personalised individual progress tutorials
Small group teaching
Visiting experts
Paid internships/research assistant style opportunities
Counselling services
Subsidised sorts, Fitness and well-being services
Subsidised food & drink
Library stocks -books, research journals, expensive digital primary source databases
Study spaces
Career advice
Legal advice
Support for disabilities
Student health service
Computers & other study equipment
Field trips
Galleries museums and theatres (all of which offer students enrichment, intern opportunities, research, and employment opportunities)
Class sizes
Wide range of curriculum options
Administrative and technical support

So, where would you start?

Exciting Sat 20-Jan-18 19:56:33

Lardy, perhaps have 50% of the number of institutions that we have now and many fewer teenagers going.
On whether to pay for those few parents who can afford to pay I am doing so and I do realise it is a kind of gamble but am prepared to take the risk (risk they may never earn much and risk the state might abolish loans later)

peteneras Sat 20-Jan-18 19:58:03

”These students are unlikely to have to repay most of the loan as they will not reach the earnings threshold.”

Which is exactly my point, cuttingcarbonemissions. These students would have wasted a good three or four years of their precious young lives and the government lost loads of money by funding them, at university.

”I also think students training in core professions which the country needs, such as Medicine, Dentistry, Teaching and Nursing, should be exempt from tuition fees and should receive grants for living costs.”

But it is already costing the government/taxpayer around £250,000 to train each medical and dental student, catlovingdoctor. Also, the medics’ final year tuition fee is paid by the NHS which is really the government/taxpayer.

But back to the question of whether to repay the loan in full or not if you can afford it, I’m always of the opinion that it makes more sense not to do that. Repayment over the lifespan of your career don’t hurt particularly – I see it as an expense, rather like your travelling expense.

About fairness to one generation of students compared to another, the question is whether it is fair for the generation of students who had absolutely free education at university to impose tuition fee on another generation further down?

Exciting Sat 20-Jan-18 21:29:26

One reason I am paying as it is not fair and my own parents also funded me. I am seeking that fairness between the generations.
9% tax on top of your existing tax in your 20s/30s+ when you have rent to pay and full time childcare costs is quite hit actually. I don't think it's really on a par with your tube fare to work. Also if you fund it now it also reduces inheritance tax when you die as the children have had the money more than 7 years before you die. It kind of spreads money around the family and keeps people out of debt which seems to be a fairly good thing all round within a family for those few able to afford to fund their children at university.

user369060 Sun 21-Jan-18 08:58:20

LardyMardy In reality many universities are going to have to cut back on academics as this is the biggest cost saving to be had. (One could argue that one should cut back on the excessive number of non-academic staff instead - but universities won't do this, in a competitive environment where marketing etc are seen as crucial.)

user369060 Sun 21-Jan-18 08:59:26

BTW if universities cut all of LardyMardy's list they would still need more than 7k per student to break even.

LardyMardy Sun 21-Jan-18 09:53:31

Cutting back on academics will mean larger class sizes, lower face to face hours, and the probable elimination of small group teaching and one to one tutorials (not at Oxbridge though, as they’re funded differently). But we do one to ones, and we just wouldn’t be able to.

Or we could go back to the “good old days” of only 15% of the population going to university. Mostly men, btw.

Thing is, even at 9k we don’t quite break even.

lostinblankers Sun 21-Jan-18 09:55:56

Going to be brutal so ignore if you prefer: if your dc voted labour on the basis they would get their money back(or your money back) they need to have a refresh of their critical thinking skills.

ragged Sun 21-Jan-18 12:16:58

Nothing is fair betw. generations. confused
Besides, kids born in 1950s or 1960s: there were far fewer Uni places for them. it was much harder to get on a course.

So now there are more places but people have to pay some cash.

Going to Uni was much more elitist back then b/c you had to have had a much better education to get the grades (in school). Now is much fairer.

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