Friday, 12 November 2010

To Uni, or not to Uni?
That’s the £9,000-a-year question

What started off as a peaceful protest against the proposed plans to increase student fees, this week ended in scenes of sheer violence and vandalism with 14 casualties, including police officers, taken to hospital. So what’s all the fuss about?

The new Government coalition has proposed to increase University fees to a maximum of £9,000 a year, almost trebling the figure it is now, in order to release budget to pay off debts run up by its predecessor. The new plans will mean that students will leave University with a debt in the region of £30,000 however they will not have to pay any fees up front; instead they will begin to pay back the costs once they start earning £21,000 a year. Some claim this will take the system back to a time when only the wealthy will be able to go to University.

As someone who went to University and doesn’t come from a wealthy background, it does sadden me to think that I wouldn’t have been able to go if the fees were as high as they’re proposed to be. However, at the same time, I also do not think that we should take it for granted that the Government will subsidise our Uni fees. UK schooling is completely free so there’s no reason why a teenager can’t leave school having gained amazing A-Level grades and be able to get a top job. With so many people going to Uni these days, and sometimes to study irrelevant courses such as “Ghostbusting” and “Harry Potter”, degrees are losing their prestige and I don’t feel it is as important to have that level on your CV as it used to be. Indeed, research has shown that three years after finishing their studies, 40 per cent of recent graduates are in jobs that don’t require a degree.

At the end of the day, wherever the Government makes the cuts they’re going to face backlash so, in my own personal opinion, I think cutting funding on a “non-essential” like University makes much more sense than emergency services and hospitals.

What do you think? Are my views a little too naive? Was University worthwhile for you?

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