By tomorrow, Lord Browne will have made his final decision on the review of university fees. I look to my own experiences and knowledge to anaylse the implications of raising fees.
As we wait for the final decision of Lord Browne‘s review on university funding I have been thinking myself about the impact that it will have.
When I first started university in 2007 my fees were still pretty large. Having gone to a private school for my entire life my parents were used to paying large fees anyway and going to university followed a certain expectation that came with the sort of upbringing I had had.
But for those who haven’t been to private school, or have but can’t afford further education, where’s the help?
Yes, there’s the possibility of loans etc but surely our government should be supporting students in their further studies.
In such an unstable financial climate where graduates are continuously struggling to find employment, having a degree is something which can put one candidate for a job above another. And although it has been argued that we now need at least a 2.1 to get a job because so many people have university degrees we should not be creating deterrence for people to start with.
I think that by removing the ceiling on university fees we are inevitably creating a two tier population where those who can afford the fees won’t think twice about not going to university and those from families who are struggling financially are completely put off considering university and higher education at all.
Students who are from disadvantaged backgrounds,or those who have dropped out of school when they were 16 often feel underrepresented in such a demanding world which seems to favour those who have money. But if that is the case then we are going to further enforce social classes, by creating an elite group of people who, over generations will continue to be able to support their families and put their children through university and another, sub class, who are constantly overwhelmed by the thought of trying to get a degree which would help them get a good job.
By saying that everyone from a poor background doesn’t want to better themselves is a complete generalisation but something that I have noticed from over hearing certain conversations or talking to those from a wealthy background who have had no contact with people from other lifestyles. Understandably there is a group of people who, generation after generation are subjected to poverty, but then again there are, hopefully, a large number of children from that group who are driven to overcome their poorer background.
But by allowing universities to impose fees as high as they wish, these ambitious young people are dettered from the start. They cannot afford to pay up to at least £7,000 for a three-year course and will therefore be left with having to struggle through life on their own characteristics.
I have found that the university has been a crucial part of my life where I have made some of the best friends I have had and met a very different group of people, and the networking at university will inevitably help me later on in life in one way or another. By not going to university they will not be able to experience these advantages and will more than likely be stuck in a rut which will again pass through generations unless some serious action is taken.
And don’t get me wrong, the likes of Lord Alan Sugar are living proof that University and continued education are not a necessity in an individual’s success but unless you have that drive and ambition and determination to build up your own business, I strongly feel that there is little way to succeed, where it be career wise, or building confidence to meet new people etc, without going to university.
University not only helps achieve a desired career but also gives young people the chance to express themselves and find out who they are in a new environment which they would not otherwise have been able to do.
By allowing universities to charge large amounts for degrees we are turning a significant amount of youngsters away. These may have the potential to be the next great entrepreneur, writer, artist, Prime Minister, high-flying lawyer, or life saving doctor. These people are losing out on a life changing experience which will help them develop their own strengths and fulfill a number of their ambitions.
And if Lord Browne decides to remove fees caps, I think the government needs to think long and hard about what they are going to do about those who are inevitably disadvantaged by the new moves.