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Want your children to be able to go to uni?

(390 Posts)
GreatAuntLoretta Fri 03-Dec-10 17:12:58

I am really feeling the urge to join the NUS protest against tuition fees on Thursday 9th December. Although my children are both under five, I am really really upset and annoyed to think that if they want to go to university in the future we will be very unlikely to be able to afford to send them. Who knows what the fees will be by then?! Also when my children are a little older I would really like to have the opportunity to retrain and do a degree. That would be completely off the cards. (angry)

Is anyone else with young children thinking of attending? It would be good to stick together with some other parents. A large group of parents will probably be a lot safer than a random woman with a buggy and a toddler in a mass crowd.

Who is with me?

Is there already a family protest group out there?

GreatAuntLoretta Fri 03-Dec-10 17:39:47

Just found this link http://www.familiesagainstfees.co.uk/ which emails your MP for you! No info about being part of the demo though.

kate1956 Fri 03-Dec-10 18:28:08

you might find this useful - think lots of parents and relatives will be going - if I wasn't working I certainly would be

www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Parents-against-the-uni- fee-increases-and-removal-of-EMA/178728745470731

GreatAuntLoretta Fri 03-Dec-10 19:05:20

Thank you kate1956 smile

whittingtonmum Fri 03-Dec-10 19:52:12

Thank you guys. The two sites are really great. I have just e-mailed my Libdem MP Lynne Featherstone through the families against fees site. I have asked her to honour her pre-election pledge to oppose any rise in tuition fees.

I can't believe the Libdems can just break their election promises as they see fit angry.

My son is only six months old but what on earth am I going to do if he happens to want to get a higher education like his parents ?

My only solution is to let him learn as many foreign languages as possible and let him go to study in France or Germany or any other country which is not keen on ruining young peoples futures by crippling them with university debt.

@GreatAuntLoretta I am at work on Thursday but if there is a demo on Wednesday I would love to go and form a buggy brigade grin

kate1956 Fri 03-Dec-10 20:03:40

you're welcome - also across the country there are student assemblies which are open to everyone at the weekend to discuss the actions for the following week. If you are in London - think it's at birkbeck college at 4-6pm.

There's an awful lot going on so the best thing is to have a look at

www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=167108026656320#!/e vent.php?eid=166941933346069&index=1

and

www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/event.php?eid=1729695 52731286

hope this helps

jackstarbright Fri 03-Dec-10 20:22:25

Both your kids are under 5!

If it's just self interest that motivates you - then don't waste your time (stay in the warm). We are pretty sure to have a labour government before 2023 And they will no doubt sort it all out before your kids turn 18. hmm.

If your interest is more general than your post implies - then sure join in. I'm sure the vast majority of the country who didn't get a chance to go to Uni - are feeling slightly reassured to see the [mainly] middle classes angry about this. It shows that the Coalition is spreading the pain across the social spectrum.

Prinnie Fri 03-Dec-10 20:36:46

Of course your kids will be able to go - you don't pay the new fees until you graduate. There's no onus on parents to pay 9k a year up front!

I'm here as a TTCer and I accept that if my kids need to go to uni they'll just have to pay for it over their working lives!

I really don't understand the fuss - someone has to pay for university education - surely it should be the people who use it.

whittingtonmum Fri 03-Dec-10 20:55:19

Sorry Prinnie I don't want my son to be crippled by huge debt to pay for his higher education - should he wish to go to uni.

Maybe it would be ok if he becomes a high paid lawyer or an investment banker - then paying back the debts will be peanuts.

but what about if he becomes a teacher or any other profession where you don't earn much but you need a higher education?

Teachers (at least those in state schools) make a huge contribution to society - why should it be up to them alone to struggle paying off huge debts acquired while training to become one? It's unfair and wrong.

Prinnie Fri 03-Dec-10 21:12:42

I don't think the debts will be crippling though - I only pay £140 per month out of my wages off my student loan (and I earn 35K) - in my mind my payments aren't high enough as it's taking forever to clear - it's just like an extra tax - and you won't pay anything until 21k or the equivalent. It's the fairest way I can think of - we either have something like this or we start to restrict the numbers who can go to uni and taxpayer fund it again.

Prinnie Fri 03-Dec-10 21:14:05

Just looked back at an old payslip and when I earnt 18K my student loan repayments were around £60 per month - clearly affordable and could have been slightly higher without causing too much harm. The young of tomorrow will have time to plan.

Portofino Fri 03-Dec-10 21:15:56

They WON'T be crippled with debt, and hopefully this will resurrect management training schemes and apprenticeships, as for MOST jobs you don't actually need to go to Uni at all!

jackstarbright Fri 03-Dec-10 22:11:57

Looks like the OP has bailed out! Just in time for a beer in the student union bar - perhaps?

whittingtonmum Sat 04-Dec-10 09:10:16

Prinnie - your debt are a lot less of what future generations will have to deal with.

I am not earning 35 k - far from it (though just above 21 k) and I find it hard to bring up a family and I am glad I don't have 30k of debts hanging over me. In my career I will probably never get to 35 k - as will most other people as the average salary in the UK is 25 k.

"The young of tomorrow will have time to plan" If your life has gone exactly to plan - good for you. Mine hasn't and I bet there are many others affected by the economic crises who did not plan for this.

And yes - I call it crippling when you owe 30 k before you have even earned a penny. A graduate tax would be much fairer as you would have a salary first and you would not have to worry about being in debt. I heard Vince Cable arguing for it quite convincingly this summer on radio 4 (No more broken promises, eh Vince?) The fact is those who are financially comfortable will be fine and those like me will really struggle and feel the pressure. And that's unfair. Aren't we all supposed to be in this together?

But who needs social mobility anyway? I probably should have never gone to university in the first place (even though I did very well) and crawled back into the working class hole I came from. If I was young now I could probably do one of Portofinos suggested apprenticeships - maybe hairdressing. The career choice favoured by most young women in the 1960's in the area my mum grew up. Now, that's what I call progress.

Prinnie Sat 04-Dec-10 10:05:28

But you don't pay a penny before you have a salary of 21k, so if you don't earn that it won't be 'hanging over your head'. For all intents and purposes it IS a graduate tax, the reason why it is a debt in your name instead of just a tax band is to ensure that graduates will still owe the money even if they go abroad to earn lots of money - if it was a simple tax then these people could easily escape paying.

Portofino Sat 04-Dec-10 10:15:20

whittingtonmum, I was not suggesting that the aspirations of our dcs should lessen at all - just the routes of getting there maybe need to change. 20 years ago when I went to Poly, a much smaller % of people when on to Higher education. These days, everyone seems to go and yet there are no jobs for all these graduates.

To me it makes much more sense to invest more in vocational courses at local colleges and to have more work based day release training. I for example did my professional qualificatiins by going to college one afternoon/evening a week.

Of course there are careers where a degree is necessary from the outset, but for many it doesn't hurt to start at the bottom and work your way up, accessing education and training as you need it. My dad for example started as a trainee draughtsman and worked his way up to MD of an engineering firm.

Employers need to find more creative ways of recruiting and training staff - and of course, we still need hairdressers, and plumbers and builders and car repairers. I don't think these jobs should be seen as somehow "lesser" - they are important. Much more important than some of the overpaid paper pushers I work with.

granted Sat 04-Dec-10 12:49:21

Thanks Op, for the post and others for the links. Will try to attend one - I'm sick of the papers presenting it as just aload of lazy students moaning; the reality is it is a lot of hard-working parents who will have to be working even harder to allow even one child to go to uni - we have 3 and I can't imagine how we could afford it. Are we supposed to pick between them as to which one is the lucky one???!

There's no way I would be happy with any of my children - or anyone else's - starting their working lives in that kind of debt.

Also, frankly, it's unreasonable for undergraduates to be footing the bill for all the funding for universities - which is what's happening. eg cutting all funding for arts/humanities' subjects. The undergraduates are thereby subsidizing the professors to do their research etc - as an example, I was at Oxford about 20 years ago, and had one hour of tutorials a week - occasionally 1.5 hrs. I had no relevant lectures at all - a few in vaguely related areas were laid on, but added nothing whatsoever to the course. Other than that, I had long reading lists and was told where the library was. grin

That was the extent of my tuition. This was history, BTW - daresay other subjects had more set hours.

Terms were only 8 weeks long - so total of max 35 tutorials over the year = hourly rate of £257, per tutorial (sometimes shared!).

Good value for money? I think not.

And that's Oxbridge with it's fabled tutorial system, FFS.

Why would anyone pay 9 grand to go to any other university???

Sorry, if we value education in this country, we should fund it, and if we don't, we shouldn't expect poor sodding 18 year-olds to subsidize it.

They are not the only ones to benefit from it - the academics do, the country does - what kind of third-rate diddly-squat country do we want to have?

GreatAuntLoretta Sat 04-Dec-10 13:35:34

I am still here jackstarbright. Student's union I wish! Busy with babies and bedtimes smile.

Thanks for the interesting contributions. I am still paying off my student loan - I was in the first year of the Student loan system. I agree that I don't really notice the money going out as it comes directly out of my pay packet before I get a look in. However, it was taken into account when I applied for a mortgage (rightly so as I would not want to borrow more than I could afford). If it were a larger debt, as may face future students, I certainly would not have been able to afford to move out of my mum and dads when I did.

Portofino - It would be great to see the skills base of the country expanded. I completely agree with you on the creativity of employers. There does seem to be a mindset now that the individual should educate themselves at their own expense, rather than being invested in, and made to feel worthy by employers.

Thanks for signing up whittingtonmum grin
I will be joining a protest even in the cold weather. wink

I really feel strongly that it is in the best interests of the country to ensure that it offers high standards of education, free of debt, to all those who wish to use it, regardless of class or parental earnings. We will always need people in society who have been through the university system (nurses, doctors, teachers, etc) so we all have a responsibility to ensure that the system continues to provide fair and equal opportunities.

jackstarbright Sat 04-Dec-10 14:19:11

My apologies GAL - often when a person's first post is to start a politics thread they turn out to be a politroll hmm.

And you did start out being worried about your under 5's chances of going to Uni - which is quite odd (at that stage - my concerns were should they be allowed fruit shoots and can they use the toilet on their own). But I do admire an aspirational parent.smile.

You now appear to have wider concerns. Maybe if you'd started with those, you wouldn't have looked like someone attempting to rally mums into action on behalf of their under five year old dc's.

sarah293 Sat 04-Dec-10 14:25:42

Message withdrawn

Notevenamouse Sat 04-Dec-10 14:37:13

"I really don't understand the fuss - someone has to pay for university education - surely it should be the people who use it." Yes, and we should all pay for preschool and school as well hmm Oh and hospitals we should pay for those every time we use them from now on.

sarah293 Sat 04-Dec-10 14:45:58

Message withdrawn

jackstarbright Sat 04-Dec-10 15:02:09

" and we should all pay for preschool and school as well Oh and hospitals "

The point being we all have access to state run schools and hospitals.

Only 35% of school leavers get the opportunity to go to university. When a service is selective (mainly on social class and ability) - then it is fair to fund it from tax revenue? Might there not be fairer ways to spend the £400 per tax payer we currently spend on Uni students?

I'm not sure how the above is the 'right wing' argument many of you appear to see it as.

amerryscot Sat 04-Dec-10 15:09:54

If you have small children and you are worried about university fees, do what the Americans do and start saving for them. Don't always expect someone else to pick up the tab. Universities are for the benefit of those who attend, so they should pay their own way, imo.

sarah293 Sat 04-Dec-10 17:47:23

Message withdrawn

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