Why increasing student fees is a joke

Seriously, how much more money can universities wheedle out of their students?!

exeter university Exeter University's Vice Chancellor rising tuition The Forum the tab the tab exeter tuition fees

So the Vice Chancellor at the University told the debating society that “tuition fees may have to rise again” at a debate held on Tuesday night.

The VC said that “UK universities cannot continue to be internationally competitive, provide a first-class student experience and offer generous support to disadvantaged students without maintaining real purchasing power.”

Real purchasing power?! My question is this: why should students be given higher tuition fees to accommodate for University improvements that they may not even benefit from?

It’s true that the facilities at the Forum are enjoyed by all –  but surely factors such as the ridiculous library fine costs and extortionate Marketplace prices mean students are spending enough already? WITHOUT having to worry about increasing fees on top of this?

There’s been so much construction work going on around the University in the past few years already, with a £50 million “Living Systems Building” being planned just last June,  not to mention recent news such as records beaten in QS World University rankings and  top ratings for the teacher training programme .

So I genuinely fail to see the point of the VC’s argument that increasing standards is a priority – beyond the fact that Universities are becoming businesses, not institutions for higher education.

Whilst the VC could propose that further improvements are necessary in order to maintain the high standard of the Universities’ research and facilities, I believe that such considerations are selfish in that they would affect the wider economy.

President of the NUS, Toni Pearce, made a valid point when commenting that even the existing £9k fees should be limited to fewer institutions.

Similarly, according to parliament.uk, the Government are underestimating the value of student loans that will never be paid back.

The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts claims: “There is around £46 billion of outsanding student loans on the Government’s books, and this is before the full impact of fee rises to £9,000 a year. This figure will rise dramatically to £200 billion by 2042.”

Oh wait, there’s more! “The Government assumes that 35% to 40% of the total will never be repaid.” Riiiiiiight.

The VC says: “Maintaining a world-class education and student experience in our universities does not come without a price tag.” So basically, if tuition fees were to increase, the University would be able to improve its standards and attract more students.

This increase in fees could cause not just a financial domino effect and crippling student debt, but the Student Loans Company’s ability to give out student loans at all.

So really, how much more money can you honestly wheedle out of students to create – let’s be honest – another airport departure’s lounge like the Forum? Get a grip.