- Labour Party and Business: A Difficult Relationship?
- Chameleon Conservative Cameron Shows True Colours
- An Election Reflection for a Majority Minority
- Mhairi Black: Giving Politics a Makeover
- Galloway Threatens Legal Action Over Election Result
- Voter Turnout: What The Numbers Tell Us About The 2015 General Election
- Looking At The Reaction to the Election Explains its Result
- The Polls Were Wrong Because People Lied, it’s That Simple!
- Russell Brand “Resigns” from Politics following General Election Result
- It’s Not The Cold War Anymore, We Don’t Need a Nuclear Deterrent
- The Future of Labour: Who Will Be The Next Leader?
- The Future of the Liberal Democrats: Who Will Be the Next Leader?
- The Future of UKIP: Who Will Be the Next Leader?
- A Tale of Three Ends
- The Tory Legacy
- If the Party Leaders were characters from Friends…who would you vote for?
- The Ten (Well, Six) Commitments: Is Stone Legally Binding?
- Tuition Fees: A Hollow Attempt to Pander to the Student Vote?
- 6,417 Ed Milligrams – What Do You Actually Vote For?
- Boris Johnson to become Gangster Rapper
- Political Engagement: The Calm After the Storm
- Parliamentary Candidate Interview: Green Party’s John Spottiswoode.
- Parliamentary Candidate Interviews: TUSC’s Sue Atkins
- Parliamentary Candidate Interview, Independent Candidate Chris Daviss
- “I don’t think the Liberal Democrats should be in government just for the sake of it” – An Interview With Nick Clegg
- Parliamentary Candidate Interview, TUSC’s Nick Chaffey
- Parliamentary Candidate Interview: Conservative’s Jeremy Moulton.
- Should Young People Be Made To Vote?
- The Nationalist Parties
- No Votes for Women?
- None of the Political Candidates Ticking Your Box? There is Another Option.
- The Other Parties
- Liberal Democrats Party Profile
- The Green Party
- Labour Party Profile
- In Defence of the Coalition
- Why Labour Should Win the Election But Won’t
- The Protest Vote: The Weapon of the Disenfranchised.
- Why Young People Must Use Their Vote
- An Interview With Natalie Bennett
- What Will a Multi-Party System Mean for Britain?
- Tuition Fees: Must Try Harder Ed
- Science and Policy
- This Election is Far Bigger Than Party Politics
- Parliamentary Candidate Interviews: Ian Callaghan, Green Party
- Parliamentary Candidate Interviews: Lib Dem’s Adrian Ford
- Paliamentary Candidate Interview – Labour’s Darren Paffey
- Parliamentary Candidates Interviews: Lib Dem’s Eleanor Bell
- TV Debates: The Crucifixion of David Cameron
- Parliamentary Candidate Interview – Labour’s Rowenna Davis
- Parliamentary Candidate Interview, the Green Party’s Angela Mawle
- Can We Trust Politicians Who Act Like Schoolchildren?
- Parliamentary Candidate Interview – UKIP’s Sandra James
- Manifesto Focus: Labour
- Why Nuclear Weapons Are Imperative For The UK’s Security
- Southampton’s Role in the General Election Should Not Be Overshadowed by a Sausage Roll
- Just When You Thought UKIP Couldn’t Do Anything Right…
- What the Hell Do You Want?
- Which Political Leader Are You?
- The EU: To Be or Not To Be
- Your 2015 General Election Candidates
- What a Silly Sausage: Southampton UKIP Candidate Accused of Bribery
- UKIP Party Profile
- Conservative Party Profile
- The Leaders Debate: The Insurgents, The Pretender & The Incumbent
- SUPA’s Short and Sweet Guide to Voting on 7th May
- TV Debate: Clash of the Titans
- Leaders Debate Brings Hope For Progressive Politics
- TV Debates: David Cameron and Ed Miliband Versus Britain
- 14,000 Voters Missing From Electoral Role in Southampton – Register to Vote Now!
- Men’s Rights Party Set To Contest in General Elections
- A Royal Coup? – Queen Guitarist Brian May Considering Standing for Election
- Debating Over Debates
- Galloway Demands Inclusion in TV Debates
- The General Election 2015 – A Disunited Kingdom?
- 99 Days To Go: The Most Unpredictable Election Yet!
- Poll Indicates Demand for Green Party to be Included in Election Debates
- Have You Registered To Vote?
- Is Sol Campbell running for Parliament?
- Salmond to Stand as MP
- Students May Hold the Key!
- The Green Party Should Not Be Included in the 2015 General Election Debates
- Parliamentary Candidate Interview: Alan Whitehead MP
- What’s at Stake for Students in the General Election?
- It’s Time For Politicians To Get Down With The Kids
- The Debates Debate
- Who Will Run The Country in 2015?
- New Year, New Government? New Politics?
- Newly Elected Itchen MP Accused of Helping UKIP Secure Labour Votes
One of the current trends in election campaigning has been tuition fees and how parties are planning on reducing them. The reception from the student community has been relatively mixed, with some applauding that cuts have finally been put forward and others arguing that the cuts aren’t going far enough. Are tuition fees really the biggest problem facing students, namely university students, at the moment?
Though it may be controversial, I would argue in the negative. Of course, as a principle we should not have to pay for education, it’s a right of any individual to further their knowledge and help them cultivate ideas and opinions about the world and themselves. And if you argue that it is free, you can just go on the internet and get an education, that’s fair enough, but you know it’s not the same.
Furthermore, of course it was wrong that tuition fees were even introduced by the Labour government in the first place and then increased by the LIBCON coalition. It was an injustice.
But it has been an injustice that we’ve been able to cope with. The terms of the debt, despite itself being unfair, are in my view fair. You don’t pay anything back until you begin earning over £21,000 p/a, with the annual incurring interest rate currently standing at a reasonable “inflation, plus up to 3%”, and between an income of £21,000 and £50,000 p/a, the yearly repayment rate is an average of 3.7%. Moreover, if you don’t manage to pay it all back after 30 years, then your debt is cancelled. You won’t get that with a mortgage. And according to first-hand accounts, the repayment is barely noticeable when it is withdrawn from your income each month, with the general consensus being that it is the best debt that you’ll ever have.
Clearly, according to the statistics, fees haven’t acted as a deterrent to students from attending university. This is likely because universities have had increased capacity to accept students onto their courses, which in my eyes can only be a good thing.
For the above reasons, I do not believe that tuition fees are the biggest issue facing university students at the moment. From my experience and testimonies from my peers larger issues exist, issues such as the cost of living.
Perhaps, rather than focus on scrapping tuition fees, the various parties should focus on increasing maintenance grants so as to make student life a bit less stressful and less of a grime-fest, and allow students to become even more independent.
Or possibly subsidize bus-travel for students in years 2 and 3? Maybe give more funding to athletic unions so as to make sport more accessible for students on a limited income? The possibilities are endless.
The point is that it shows how superficial party policy is with regards to students. The primary reason that the parties have focused on tuition fees (except for the Tories who have incidentally refused to rule out a further increase) is because of the justified uproar caused by the increases during the last election. But just because students were angry that the government did something doesn’t mean that students don’t have other desires.
What would be more attractive is if the parties approached students as mature adults and proposed a reasoned argument such as: “Although it was wrong to increase fees, it has increased attendance rates, and whilst in principle it should still be a long-term target to reduce and eventually eradicate them, there are issues currently more pressing than fees, which we feel offer a more constructive benefit to students.”
Students are not such simple beings that we can be swayed by such a hollow policy. In my view, and you may disagree, what’s more important is making the most of your university experience in the short time that you are there. If an increased grant means that some students who were previously forced to work dozens of hours a week could in future be relieved of that necessity then that’s great. If someone who would otherwise be limited socially by a constraining budget is given more freedom to enjoy student life, arguably the best years of your life, then I’m in all in.
Yes, debt isn’t ideal, it’s a slight burden, but as outlined previously and as you probably already know, the repayment plan is more than acceptable. And I don’t know about you but I care more about making the most of time now than worrying about debt that I’ll have to pay for in the future. If that’s a widely shared opinion, then hopefully, sometime soon, politicians will be able to take the time to actually listen to more than two-dimensional needs of the student population.