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To think those against free university probably benefited from it?

133 replies

malificent7 · 10/06/2017 10:53

Im pro free university. Im nearly 40 and was good for me.
Many people on here have said society should not fund students.
I bet they either directly benefit from no fees as they went or indirectly benefited eg: their kids went for free or they use doctors, nurses, teachers who wete funded.

OP posts:
bathshebaneverdene · 10/06/2017 16:04

Dunno. I didn't go to university. Only about 12% of people went from my cohort. I think it's a bit different now with 50% of school leavers being encouraged to go. It's costing a hell of a lot more, and tbh the quality of some of the courses being offered is appalling, and the degrees do not lead to good jobs. In fact, some pretty menial clerical jobs which most 18 year olds would be perfectly capable of doing on leaving school now require a degree.

What about school leavers who don't get into university, or who don't want to go to university? What are the stats for lifelong salaries for people with degrees compared to those without? If those who don't go to university are disadvantaged (i.e. have lower salaries during their working lives) I don't think it's wrong for those going to university and having higher salaries contributing to their tertiary education.

teapotter · 10/06/2017 16:06

Probably most of those against free uni DIDN'T benefit from it as the vast majority of adults in the uk haven't been to uni anyway.

You can compare the systems in Scotland, England and Wales to get an idea of the advantages and disadvantages of each system. The issues in Scotland right now are about rationing of places, and lack of access for poorer families partly as there is less funding available for living costs. No system is perfect.

bathshebaneverdene · 10/06/2017 16:11

Teapotter, DH works in HE in Scotland. The proportion of overseas students in Scottish universities is growing each year as obviously they pay much higher fees than EU or Scottish students (and although Scottish students may not pay their fees personally, it is not 'free', it is funded) and the universities need the fees from OS students to function.

Increasinglymiddleaged · 10/06/2017 16:17

I think yanbu, but the free courses need to be ones that produce skills that are needed. If this happened it would easily pay for itself and the graduates would do well. We are going to need a highly skilled workforce to succeed with Brexit.

For me the other thing is that fees are also more problematic if anything for mature students, so those who didn't go to university when young have less option of doing so later.

HelenMcHelen · 10/06/2017 16:22

noble Paying off student loans would be a good incentive to become a teacher, and if it was done over several years would also be an incentive to remain in teaching
This exact thing was actually buried in the Tory manifesto though I imagine they'll have other things on their minds now

UnmentionedElephantDildo · 10/06/2017 16:28

Most people didn't benefit from 'free' university.

When the participation rate was 7% or less (roughly where it was during the time before minimum grant was scrapped) it was affordable.

Current participation rates (around 50%?) aren't.

So harking back to the olden days is a bit of a red herring. Because it is nit comparing like for like. Unless you are going to cap the amount of public money at actual cost of the 7% that the older generation funded.

So reducing cost by 14% leaves current taxpayer facing the same level of bill, and the individual with a reduction of £9k fees to £7740.

Or are you expecting people to stump up more than their generation received?

Which you might think is a good idea, of course.

noblegiraffe · 10/06/2017 16:33

I know, Helen, it was about the only thing about education they actually got right. But then they've been told that for the last 7 years and have been instead bumping up the bursaries in teacher shortage areas instead until we're now in a massive crisis.

I think when I trained as a teacher back in 2004/2005 we didn't have to pay tuition fees for the PGCE and I've got a memory about student loans being paid back for the other teachers on my course but I didn't pay much attention at the time because I didn't have any student loans due to being the last year that didn't have to pay them.

lljkk · 10/06/2017 16:43

I am against universal free tuition.
Means tested lots of financial support for tuition fees would be ok in principle.

I grew up & went to university outside UK (1980s).
While doing my degree, I worked 2 days a week (in term time) & 5 days a week out of term.
My parents did something similar in the 1960s to get their Uni degrees.

Saying we in UK benefit from nurses & doctors who went for free.... forgets how many NHS staff are imported from abroad (outside of EEA). Or were originally overseas students at UK universities so they paid full fees. UK only trains some NHS medical staff.

RedMetamorphosis · 10/06/2017 16:50

I'm against free university and I'm still years off paying my student loan.

It is totally unsustainable, especially now with so many going to university.

noblegiraffe · 10/06/2017 16:54

Does anyone agree with the scrapping of the maintenance grants for poorer students going to university last year? That struck me as an appalling decision.

OvariesBeforeBrovaries · 10/06/2017 16:54

I started uni in 2012, so full fees (although subsidised by the Welsh government, thankfully).

I studied a theatre & performing degree. I now work in the NHS. I think nursing, midwifery, paramedic science and similar degrees should be free. Same for ones that will lead directly to careers that we're in dire need of. Teacher training should be free, but not the initial degree.

I would gladly have paid higher tuition fees for my arts degree to enable this.

More bursaries and scholarships for the highest-achieving students aiming to study arts etc degrees would be great, as these subjects are still important, but I'd rather free tuition be reserved for healthcare degrees etc.

Increasinglymiddleaged · 10/06/2017 18:02

I think there is a misunderstanding here of what education is for. It should benefit the while economy to have highly skilled workers not just the individual. One of the inputs required for prosperity is human capital.

So people who choose to study rather than earn should not be seen as a drain. I find it really depressing actually that university is only seen in relation to the benefits to the graduate.

I am happy to accept that pop music studies is unlikely to help either the economy or the individual. I will also accept that there are other ways of skills (apprenticeships etc) but the argument of 'fewer people went in the past' is irrelevant as the modern economy is in itself different. And the economy needs graduates so should contribute.

TheNaze73 · 10/06/2017 18:08

Why should I pay for people to do media studies degrees?

DisorderedAllsorts · 10/06/2017 18:11

I think tuition fees should be means tested so the poorest and those whose parents earn upto a certain amount combined should get it free. Everybody else can pay a percentage to full fees based on parental earnings. I studied and worked in HE sector so have come across students from a variety of backgrounds. The wealthiest students really did have it easy and some of the poorest really struggled & often dropped out. The brain drain due to finances is really sad and must be prevented somehow.

LRDtheFeministDragon · 10/06/2017 18:23

I'd love to see the old system, with degrees free to the students, come back. Even the system that was in place when I went to university, with relatively smaller charges, didn't seem so crippling.

I do think the number of students ought to be limited. But in my view the solution (and I would say this, as I teach that useless subject, medieval English - thanks bigbiscuits Grin) isn't to cherry-pick which subjects deserve funding. The solutions are:

  1. stop shoehorning everything into an 'academic' model. Not all training courses should be degrees. And I wish employers felt able to stop demanding degrees.

  2. more money for alternatives to university. I really hate this system where students who aren't suited to university, don't want to be at university, or want to pursue careers that don't need university, are treated as if they should be at university.

    I don't think discriminating by subject is sensible. I know we need nurses and doctors. But we do, actually, also need people who study much-mocked subjects. Take mine (not that people do degrees in 'Medieval English' really - they do English Lit). People who study this contribute to (amongst other things) our heritage industry, which is a pretty big earner for this country.

    Some of us even do super-snazzy things, like a friend of mine who trained in Medieval Studies and now uses research based on studying long-dead scribes, to help sufferers of Parkinson's disease.

    You can't predict what knowledge and training will be 'useful'.

    Very few people go into degrees in more esoteric subjects, thinking they'll become filthy rich. It is already harder for people from more disadvantaged backgrounds to think about doing those subjects. And so, the profile of the people with those degrees becomes narrower and more privileged. And that's a problem. Just look at politicians and the degrees they did.
bathshebaneverdene · 10/06/2017 19:05

Also, in years gone by (old glimmer alert), most nurses and teachers didn't go to university. Nurses learned on the job, and did training/lectures in the hospital. Teachers went to teacher training college for a year.

Increasinglymiddleaged · 10/06/2017 19:28

Why should I pay for people to do media studies degrees?

We'll probably the logical approach is to structure funding based on 'usefulness' so you may not be required to. I think that's more logical than means testing tbh in terms of the economy.

histinyhandsarefrozen · 10/06/2017 19:34

I'd be interested in exploring a graduate tax. Not sure how exactly it could work but it might.

Some of the people I've heard who are most against helping students were the same people most against 'foreigners coming over here stealing our jobs' etc. This amuses me. I can only think they don't like doctors, teachers, graduates at all.

Increasinglymiddleaged · 10/06/2017 19:38

When the participation rate was 7% or less (roughly where it was during the time before minimum grant was scrapped) it was affordable.

I went to university in 1995, there were still grants and a hell of a lot more than 7% went to university then unless I am in a parallel universe/ am misunderstanding something significant. Where are these figures from?

DrMadelineMaxwell · 10/06/2017 19:45

I wouldn't be a teacher today without free university. My parents couldn't have afforded to put me through universtiy. In fact, they didn't have to. I went locally, had my fees paid and survived otherwise on a dwindling grant - they were being phased out and were less each term - and a part time job in Tesco. I got married half way through my 4 year course and we managed but I wouldn't have been able to if I'd been paying fees.

My DD will be going (fingers crossed) in 2 years time and I'm already wondering how we are going to arrange it all and what debt she'll have at the end of it. I had a £200 overdraft at the end of my course.

Raspberriesaretheonlyfruit · 10/06/2017 19:47

Why should my peers who don't chose to go pay for me to go?

Everyone benefits from people going to university, whether they go themselves or not.

But that's not actually true is it? You can set up a fantastic business that employs staff without a degree. Equally you can get a degree in something lame and not be able to use it.

Oldsu · 10/06/2017 19:54

I do feel sorry for the young in that even the most mundane jobs seem to require a degree these days, I left school at age 15 in 1970, 47 years of continuous employment (the last 24 on the higher rate of tax) later I realise I wasn't lucky that University Education was free, I am lucky that not having a degree has never held me back I never needed one.

The same with DH, he was a senior graphic designer before he retired, he worked for some of the largest agencies in London, in fact we found an old book about iconic designs and some of his work was in there, he went to Art school and that was it again no degree required.

histinyhandsarefrozen · 10/06/2017 19:55

There used to be an idea that a well educated population was 'a good thing'.
I guess that's not so in vogue anymore.

Sandsnake · 10/06/2017 19:56

There should be fees, in my opinion. Although government should make it absolutely clear that university is, and will remain, free at the point of entry with loans only being repaid when the person is earning sufficiently. I just think that if there is any money to be spent on education it should always go to the more early years where a) it would affect more disadvantaged children and b) research shows it has more of a positive affect.

I'm actually starting to think that some form of capped graduate tax might be a better idea, although there are definitely disadvantages. One of the main good points of it would be that richer students wouldn't be able to avoid paying because their parents paid their fees.

MycatsaPirate · 10/06/2017 19:57

There is a two fold problem.

Firstly is that so many jobs require a degree. Basic jobs that years ago they only required a handful of O levels for. Now every single job seems to want uni graduates. So unless you get a degree you will never progress unless you are lucky to land in a job which will pay for your further education as you go up through the ranks.

Second is that jobs like nurses, paramedics, social workers all need a degree. That means that they will incur £50k of debt to work for a local council or the NHS. Not great paying jobs. But bloody essential jobs. The debts are putting people off even applying and we desperately need people in these types of jobs.

So we have a whole load of youngsters forced into education until they are 18 and then have to go and fight in the job market with A levels and no experience or go and incur a ton of debt (unless your parents are loaded and can pay outright) to get a degree.

DD is at uni studying paramedic science. Not only is she doing a whole load of very intensive uni work she is on placement, doing 60 hours a week, often going up to 75 hours. She has to travel an hour each way, gets no costs for travelling and no pay. She will come home in the summer and work the whole time just to ensure she can keep her car on the road and pay for her petrol to get to placements. I am helping her as much as possible but honestly it's just crippling us. And she is only in year 1.

Nurses, I should imagine, are facing the same sorts of issues. No time to work during term time because they are doing placements and uni work. Yet even with a £9k loan they are struggling because they need to pay everything from that.

They should be able to give bursaries to those who have to do the placements, even £2k a year would make a huge difference to them. DD goes shopping when everything is reduced and I do worry that she's not eating properly because she's so bloody tired all the time.

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