Why tuition fees should be increased

You’re probably not going to pay it back in full anyway

Deciding who should pay for university is tricky because no one likes the thought of paying for things. Everyone can agree that, at the time of going to university, students shouldn’t have to pay the full cost of education (unless of course you happen to have the misfortune of being born abroad). What’s more debatable is whether the government should pay for it. We often forget that “the government” is not a bottomless pit of money. Anything paid for by the government is funded through the tax system so we all pay in the end. As Benjamin Franklin said: “Nothing is certain in life apart from death and taxes”.

Wanting lower fees is an understandable reaction when you're a student

Wanting lower fees is an understandable reaction when you’re a student

So essentially the two options are:

  • The cost of educating students is spread between all taxpayers equally.
  • Students pay for their education.

Obviously, as students, we have a vested interest in spreading the cost between everyone, but imagine how you’d feel if you hadn’t gone to university. You wouldn’t want to be paying for all your mates to have the time of their lives over three years gain valuable education that will increase their future earnings.

Tuition fees currently cost £27,000 over three years for the majority of UK students. This isn’t the entire cost of educating someone though. In 2014/2015 the government spent £4,800 per student on top of the £9,000 provided by Student Finance England. So, the average UK student benefits at the expense of the taxpayer to the tune of nearly £15,000 over the course of a three-year degree.

So we can see that students do not pay the full cost of their education. In fact, if students don’t earn enough in the 30 years after graduating to clear their student debt (over £1million) then the debt will be cancelled and taxpayers will cover any outstanding cost. This means that the amount your degree actually costs is tied to your earnings. Without wanting to sound like Robin Hood, I believe the rich should pay more than the poor.

Under the current system, even successful multi-millionaire graduates will still be having some of the cost of their degree being funded by the taxpayer. That hardly seems fair. Increasing tuition fees would ensure the top earners pay for the full cost of their education which I believe is just. It also wouldn’t change the amount low earners would pay back as the 30-year threshold would arrive and allow the rest of their debt to be wiped off.

So, an increase in the student loan amount would increase the amount richest graduates pay and leave the rest of us unaffected. In fact, it would be better than being unaffected: our taxes would be able to go to other things than funding the mega-rich’s university education.

Unless you’re going to be earning over £1million then an increase in tuition fees will only reduce how much you pay towards university education as you won’t have to pay as much tax towards covering 25 per cent of the cost of the crème de la crème’s university education.

The rich being made to pay more while the poor are unaffected? Typical dirty Tory policy…

The Tab Bath