As a university student, I will not pretend that tuition fees are not an issue that sits deep with me and others of my generation. I welcome the idea that Damian Green wants a national conversation on the issue of tuition fees; however, I do question the motive behind it. Does he feel it’s morally inappropriate to saddle students with over £50,000 of debt or is this an attempt to just gain votes?
I will admit, the theory for tuition fees sounds plausible. Due to the growth of numbers requiring a university education, apparently, two or three times the numbers that it used to be, current University students need to cough up some money themselves. Likewise, the introduction of these fees are meant to promote competition between Universities to make it worth the money that students are paying which is something that was previously lacking.
I have many issues with the argument that University students need to pay so much money for our degrees. If for example, numbers have doubled, then surely it should’ve been that previous university students should have been paying £4,500. Likewise, if it has tripled, then they should have been paying £3000, and yet previously people went to University through grants. Are we paying too much in that case or is it that we are now also paying for previous people’s university education. It confuses me that on the one hand, there are too many people going to university now so students now have to pay for themselves, but on the other hand, it has recently been mentioned that police will now have to have degree level qualifications. If there are too many people heading to university then why add to the numbers?
I propose multiple solutions to this ‘national debate’ that is fair to all. I know it is apparently a controversial view, but I believe that if you’ve had to use a school or hospital in your lifetime, then you have benefited from somebody else’s degree. Therefore, one solution is that we should at the very least cut tuition fees to doctors, nurses, and teachers who we vitally need in this country. This would be an incentive for people enter these sorts of degrees and would also help with the crisis in the NHS and improve teaching quality.
Another solution is that perhaps if it is impossible for the state to cover the tuition of people at university then why should it be only our generation that should be paying for it. Why not introduce debt equal to the current years, over £50,000 which includes maintenance, on every single person with a degree in the country that is under a certain age, let’s say 70. They should pay for the opportunities that their degree got them as it has apparently only benefitted them. Luckily for them, I haven’t included the interest on top of it as maybe introducing another 40 years of interest on some people would be morally wrong. This money could go back into the government and fund the NHS or perhaps could be put back into education. Sadly, I think that this idea will be taken as ridiculous because it would be wrong to retrospectively give everyone with a degree over £50,000 worth of debt. Likewise, I hardly doubt that there would be any politician, including the likes of Michael Gove or Damian Green, who have both clearly gained from university education, who would be willing to introduce over £50,000 worth of debt on themselves. They are welcome to prove me wrong.
Simply put, this ‘national debate’ is purely an attempt for the Conservatives to try and gain university votes in the hope that we may forget that they were the ones who intended upon happily saddling us with £50,000 until Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party intended upon removing it.