Why making some degrees cheaper can and will help working class students
It’s not ‘a load of bollocks’, some degrees are worth more than others, and that’s okay
It has been argued that ‘tuition fee variety’ won’t help working class students and will disadvantage them. But, this is mistaken. Some degrees do cost more to run than others and pricing them as such is fair.
Tuition fees are currently £9,250 across the board. That means someone studying Physics will be charged the same as someone reading Philosophy. Also, someone reading Philosophy at Leeds Trinity will pay the same as someone who reads Philosophy at Oxford.
What a Philosophy student receives in scheduled contact hours a week is roughly equivalent to what a Physics student receives in a day, or at least that is my experience.
Consider a world where cars are all priced at £25,000. Would it really be 'fair' that an Aston Martin and a Ford Escort both cost the same? No. It is obviously a cracking deal for the Aston Martin buyer, but not so much for the Ford Escort buyer.
Our parents worrying about the copious amount of debt and often limited maintenance loans we struggle to survive on is a true worry and concern, but to suggest that they tend to encourage staying at home with an apprenticeship or job instead of going to university is probably not true.
Given that UCAS says the number of students entering HE has grown year on year, I don't think this claim is substantiated. If the proposed variety of fees are implemented, then our Mum's will say "why go to Oxford when you've got a perfectly good university on your doorstep for less?"
Well, any aspiring student that wants to go to Oxford will reply "because Oxford will open more doors for me than the cheap one down the road, you silly buffoon" because being truly aspirational means never abandoning your dreams and lowering your standards.
‘Theresa May could cut tuition fees from £9,250 to £6,000’
Tuition fees were £3,000 in 2010.
So May’s plan would mean that fees would still be double the figure when the Conservatives first came to power anyway.
Or, you know, we could scrap tuition fees with Corbyn and Labour?
— George Aylett (@GeorgeAylett) February 16, 2018
But what about Labour scrapping tuition fees under a Corbyn government? Yes, that's the answer, make it all free! That way everyone is more equal, which is surely a good thing.
But alas, that is not the case. The reason a lot of Etonians end up at Oxbridge is because of the top quality education they receive and the top advice they receive on interview prep, and extra-curricular skills and activities.
Their parents can afford it, and so they'll pay for it. Whereas poorer students wont have access to the same standard of education or expertise, hence why less poorer students go to top universities.
So it appears scrapping tuition fees wont level the playing field either. But you go ahead and vote for Corbyn on the false hope that he'll scrap them, you do that.
Surely, if the government really wants to address the issue, it would make more sense to allow universities to charge different fees according to different income brackets.
For example, say someone's parents earn a combined income of over £100k a year, this pupil's fees should be higher than someone who's parents earn less than £18k.
In fact, why would the latter case be free? If it is true that richer kids go to top universities, then the demand is higher among rich kids than it is among poorer kids, which would justify higher fees for higher income brackets.
Whereas, the poorest pupils of the UK could attend top universities for free, because there is significantly less demand from the poorest students. If education is about passion and interest, then each degree should be as economically accessible as another, within the context of economic background, not across the board.
Top employers are looking for top graduates with top skills from top universities. The simple fact is, some degrees are worth less than others, and some degrees from certain universities are worth more than others. Graduates need skills that employers will pay for, and employers acknowledge the difference in value of degree and university.
I feel incredibly privileged to attend a Russell Group university, precisely because the opportunities afforded to me here are far superior than those afford else where. Pricing degrees differently might not be the best way to address the issue, but it is surely a first step in the right direction.