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Calculating the cost of uni


anuary’s student protests may seem like a distant memory, but the proposed rise for university tuition fees still stands. All students hoping to go to university from September 2012 will be paying increasing fees of up to £9,000 per year. These cuts were amongst many made by the government in an attempt to take control of the country’s recessive economy. But is it fair? Many took to the streets of Westminster to object to the government’s proposal. After all, we live in a democracy and our voices should be heard as loudly as the MPs’ who are making the decisions that will affect the generations to come, right? Despite the government trying hard to market the silver lining of the proposal - that bursaries are available to low-income households and that students won’t have to pay back their loan till they’re earning over £21,000 - the decision is still highly unpopular with many future students as they realise they will be in thousands of pounds of debt by the time they leave university. Some also see the proposed cost of tuition fees as a deterrent to those wanting to study at a higher level. With current university fees averaging at around £3,200 per year and growing rapidly, many students feel that the government is avoiding cuts in other sectors because students are an easy target. Those universities wishing to raise fees above £6,000 will need to set

WORDS: Mariam Khan out measures that aid those from poorer backgrounds, not just as they start out but in the long-term too. With each university offering its own specific scheme, these measures will take forms of bursaries and other aids.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), students taking courses costing £6,000 for three years will leave university with a debt of about £30,000. Fees increasing to £9,000 would see this debt going up to £38,000.

From the perspective of the tax payer the increase in student fees is somewhat relieving. This is because direct fees paid by students only make up 29% of a British university’s entire income, whilst 35% comes from the government, and the rest comes from investments and from other sources such as research grants. In September 2012 this balance is going to change dramatically as the majority of the cost of university fees will transfer from the taxpayer to the student. Personally, I feel that this increase in fees will not only deny many people the benefit of education, but will also deny them the great experience that going to university offers to individuals, that is the personal development of who you are. The choices you make at university can mould your future career. Missing out on this opportunity because you can’t afford it isn’t fair, and students shouldn’t be measured by their parents’ income or willingness to obtain loans that will haunt them for years to come. Every person thinking of going to university will have to decide whether it will be worth the cost. Will taking out loans and having to repay them make students more responsible with money or will it discourage many from education altogether?

SL Magazine Issue 3  

As the dust begins to settle from the August riots, issue 3 of SL Magazine brings together the reactions of young people in Birmingham, and...