gra-dult-hood n.

1. A stage in life between graduation and adulthood.
2. Gradulthood often involves jobs that don't fulfil a graduate's expectations.
3. A term coined during the recession.

News Views: 50,000 protest, what's it all for?

We thought we should add some sort of article on tuition fees, even if it is a bit serious. In all honesty, if you actually want to know what’s going on in detail you should probably have a look at the Guardian, the BBC, or even The Times if you’re willing to pay for news, but here’s our simplified version anyway…

As someone who started University in 2006, I’m one of the graduates who paid top up fees of around £3,000 a year for their higher education. Those who started in 2005, or deferred their entry until 2006 paid much closer to £1,500 a year for their degree. That’s an overall increase of about 25%, whilst the average graduate salary has continued to sit around the £23,000 mark. Under new proposals, fees are set to rise once again to anything up to £9,000! A year!!

This follows recommendations made by the Browne report which proposes the increase in fees to cover gaps left by the budget cuts within the spending review. With the top-up fee cap set at £3,290, tuitions fees (including foreign students who pay more) make up about 29% of a University courses funding, with a further 35% coming from the government, and the rest made up from research grants and investments made by the individual universities. The proposed changes will see the student cover the gap left by the government, what’s that about?? The changes cap fees at £9,000, but Universities charging over £6,000 will have to show initiatives for widening access to their courses to students from economically less well off backgrounds.

Most of us will be proud of our University towns/cities, and feel a great affiliation to them for the rest of our lives. We went through a process of applying for the course we wanted to do, in line with our level of attainment, and in a city we liked/felt was close enough (or far away enough) from home. Under the new proposals market forces will be added to this decision, with potential savings of thousands of pounds for going to one city as opposed to another. I’m very proud that I went to the University of Leeds, and I love the city, but if they had charged £7,000 a year, whilst the University of Manchester were charging closer to £5,000, it would have been a much tougher decision than it was. And surely we don’t want to end up in a situation where there are fewer places, and it comes down to who can afford to go to university!?

With the protests under way in London, it’s hard not to sympathise with the next generation of students coming through who could be leaving University with maybe £10,000 more debt that those who started University in 2006 or after, and around £15,000 more than those who started before 2005.

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