Just 21 reasons why university this year is definitely worth your £9,250 fees

If only they’d let me pay more!

This academic year, it is safe to say, was perhaps the best organised one yet. Our universities offered us poor mental health support, a very questionable online learning service and introduced their students to the the lowest circle of Zoom hell: Breakout rooms. I firmly believe every penny of the £9,250 tuition fee has been incredibly well spent. Everyone’s course this year was brilliant value for money and it’s so disheartening to see ungrateful students demand money back, moaning about tuition fee refunds and rent strikes.

Universities somehow got everything right, and then some. They’ve served students tirelessly and selflessly over the last year, and we can only hope and pray for more of the same. Now that’s value for money.

Here are 21 reasons why uni this year is definitely worth every single penny of your £9,250 tuition fee:

1. Online learning has been hassle-free

I think we can all agree that remote “blended learning” has been a stonking success. Students love the thrill of pre-recorded lectures, seminars plagued with technical issues and the fabulous breakout rooms. Special shoutout to the three-to-five working days I have to wait when asking my tutor a yes or no question over email.

Fingers crossed they put ‘University of Zoom’ on my diploma.

2. Our libraries are all open, free to use and access and are definitely not closed by law

Irrefutable photographic evidence:

Library closed despite paying tuition fee

3. Unis have provided excellent mental health services

Staring down the barrel of perhaps the biggest mental health crisis in a generation, the coronavirus lockdown has seen huge rises in students reporting anxiety.

Tragically, students have died this year on universities’ watch – the issue is not being given the attention it deserves. To top it off, the wait for mental health services shows no signs of shrinking either.

Here are some great steps to look after your mental health while isolating.

4. Landlords across the country have kindly returned rent, no questions asked

Students are rightly outraged that landlords and student accommodation companies have been collecting rent while it is illegal for students to travel or live at their accommodation in some cases. However, recent reports indicate that warm, kind-hearted landlords up and down the nation have heard about rent strike action plans formulated by students, and decided it’s all a lot of bother.

The intergalactic council of landlords will convene next week to figure out how to best help students suffering through this crisis and also provide vouchers to Asos and Nike as a gesture of goodwill.

5. Seeing your tutor for 25 mins a week is great value for money

That’s probably about £600/minute for their time. Perfect!

6. Loads of the fee goes to the amazing graduation your uni has planned after all this is over

Shhhhh… they’re keeping it a secret but we heard it’s at the Hilton and they’re bringing out Skepta. Just one massive party for every uni student after graduations have been cancelled or postponed since last year.

Home graduation despite tuition fee

On the plus side, home graduation photos never looked soooo good. And we’ll save on the robes and hat (which they charge you for too!)

7. International students are incredibly grateful to be paying £50k+

International students enjoy a wildly inflated tuition fee for a worse service. A recent KCL Tab investigation found non-UK students receive counselling sessions that are 20 minutes shorter than UK students.

To top it off, they are expected to attend seminars as early as 1am thanks to the time difference. Early bird gets the worm and is saddled with ridiculous debt, am I right guys?

8. How cool was it when we paid universities 9 grand to lock us in our own halls like some kind of academic prison?

In November 2020, Manchester Uni decided to erect fences around a number of halls in Fallowfield to help enforce national lockdown laws. Amazingly students weren’t impressed when money they paid was spent on efforts to imprison them, and hundreds students staged angry protests, ripping down the fences. The ‘Fallowfield Festival of Love’ (how I assumes Gavin Williamson refers to it) was a key turning point.

The government clearly consider university students as a problem to be solved, rather than a vulnerable population requiring support and assistance during the pandemic. Stop tuition fees – we have nothing to lose but our chains – and £9,250.

Boris didn't back the tuition fee

9. Boris Johnson said he wanted to ‘thank students for the sacrifice you are making’ so I think we should just leave it guys

In Boris’s statement on Tuesday, he also promised his government would “look at” accommodation costs. How will you spend your refund on accommodation fees? I’m already sizing up a small island in the Bahamas so no one take my idea!!

10. The tuition fee doesn’t include providing the ‘essential reading’ resources for our course – ensuring the economy is stimulated as textbook retailers pocket an extra £100 off each student

Is this what you wanted, Mr Sunak?

11. We get to learn valuable lessons about the magic of compound interest

We would never understand this concept if it was not for the brilliant work by Student Finance England to lighten our bank accounts – which were too heavy anyway!

This student loan calculator explains exactly how much of your loan you would repay over 30 years (student loans are written off after 30 years). Assuming you have a pre-tax income of £29,000 – the average graduate salary in the UK – your loan would be cleared after 30 years, at which point you would have actually paid around £44,750. This depends on your earnings over the next 30 years of course, but the facts remain: Just 17 per cent of students actually pay back their loan in full within 30 years, according to the IFS.

12. This is exactly what we signed up for when we applied to uni

Pretty sure it was all in the prospectus but check again if I missed anything x

13. Where would we be without the amazing technological innovations our 9k brought us

The University of Sunderland bravely released an online virtual campus, where you can create a character and tour the university like a video game. Like The Sims, it was a promising idea. Also like The Sims, it charges you ridiculous expenses for things that aren’t really very useful in real life.

14. We know exactly where each pound of our tuition fee goes and a full breakdown of the cost of our course

Considering the brilliant job universities have done of providing great services, no one seems to mind that the actual breakdown of where our tuition fees goes is a closely-guarded secret.

15. We are saving the planet by paying lots of money to encourage recycling

Instead of, you know, actually teaching us, lecturers up and down the country are simply reusing their old lecture recordings and teaching resources. And here we thought plagiarism would get you in trouble! Greta Thunberg eat your heart out.

16. The full sport, drama and extra-curricular university package has been delivered to us without qualms

Defo feeling like I’m on the uni sports field while sat behind my laptop in north London digesting a Microsoft Teams call.

Tuition fee not covering sports night

17. There is absolutely no way that anyone could provide a quality higher education services for a pound cheaper than we pay…

… apart from the Open University which charges a tuition fee of £3,096.

18. Universities are really driving their students to perform this year by refusing to introduce no-detriment policies across the board

While some universities have promised that the physical and emotional strain of the pandemic will not affect grades, not every uni has implemented a no-detriment policy, with Southampton outright saying they’re not having one. In the face of overwhelming academic pressures, universities have turned a blind eye. To be fair, whenever universities look at their students two large $ signs replace their pupils – and it is particularly hard to see anything with that in the way.

Here are some petitions you can sign to get involved in the campaign for a no detriment policy nationwide.

19. Included in our tuition fee is a really good COVID test which detects coronavirus in a whopping three per cent of cases

That’s quite far from a 2:1.

20. The new Turing scheme allowing students to study abroad looks really good, and definitely wasn’t hastily put together by a sweaty and wide-eyed Gavin Williamson at 3.59pm, thrusting his ideas into Turnitin seconds before the deadline

Following Brexit, the UK will no longer contribute to the EU’s Erasmus scheme. Impressively, the government has provided little advice for students who have already planned their year abroad in the EU – suggesting they should contact the institutions they were planning to attend and basically sort it out themselves.

Its replacement, the Turing scheme, offers the chance for 35,000 students to study and work aboard each year. This sounds great until you hear that last year 54,000 students studied abroad – leaving a shortfall of 19,000 potential students who might not receive allocated funding from Student Finance England for their jolly in Berlin for a year. To top it all off, the government has not yet elaborated on their plans to implement the Turing scheme, or opened up applications for it. Perhaps a linguistics student can crack this code and sort this one out?

21. Everything about the last year has been entirely normal so it makes sense that we pay the normal tuition fee too

Unis, is it too late to ask for a Black Friday sale?

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Brexit has now happened, but here’s what it means for Erasmus and your year studying abroad

Forcing students to stay at their universities will cause a mental health crisis

• Does my university have a rent strike group and how can I get involved?