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What was the idea behind increasing the cap on tuition fees?

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    Genuine question, what's the point? I'm thinking that it can't be to save money as the goverment has to pay the university upfront anyway. And also, how likely is it that someone is going to be able to pay back that much money before it gets written off after so many years?

    There seems to be a lot of ignorance around since they decided to do this i.e. 'I can't afford to send my child to university because they charge £9000 a year!' even though it makes no difference while they are actually studying. Are the government hoping a lot of people will see it this way and decide against university so then they don't have to give out so many loans?

    I would genuinely like someone to give a legit explanation, as the news tends to paint the picture that the government are doing it to tackle the deficit when surely it means they will spend even more money.
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    ultimately just more money for the ****ing fat cats, just like everything else.
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    (Original post by ooerr)
    There seems to be a lot of ignorance around since they decided to do this i.e. 'I can't afford to send my child to university because they charge £9000 a year!' even though it makes no difference while they are actually studying.
    Yeah this is quite a common thing to say from people obviously trying to dress everything up as persecution from the Conservatives. I don't understand the logic. The more I hear about it the more I question how mentally stable the general population, at least from my generation, are. There's all these stories about people prostituting themselves even though the maintenance loans haven't changed, so if for whatever reason someone couldn't afford university it wouldn't be because of the government's changes to tuition costs in England for people starting in 2012 and beyond.
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    The ignorance of people who say they can no longer afford university really irritates me. The way I like to look at it is that if they can't work out or bother to work out that it makes no difference to affording university, then they don't deserve to go.
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    I believe the idea was to get rid of the cap of ~£3300 to create more of a market between universities. Better ones charge higher fees and the not so good ones compete by offering places for lower fees. However, this didn't really happen as a large proportion of universities moved to charging the maximum £9000 a year.
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    (Original post by ooerr)
    Genuine question, what's the point? I'm thinking that it can't be to save money as the goverment has to pay the university upfront anyway. And also, how likely is it that someone is going to be able to pay back that much money before it gets written off after so many years?

    There seems to be a lot of ignorance around since they decided to do this i.e. 'I can't afford to send my child to university because they charge £9000 a year!' even though it makes no difference while they are actually studying. Are the government hoping a lot of people will see it this way and decide against university so then they don't have to give out so many loans?

    I would genuinely like someone to give a legit explanation, as the news tends to paint the picture that the government are doing it to tackle the deficit when surely it means they will spend even more money.
    Although for your first question, the government are still funding the universities the same amount, just through higher tuition fees and lower grants than before. I guess the thinking is that in the long run it'll recoup more money.

    However you are right, in the short term it makes no more money than the old system
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    (Original post by ooerr)
    Genuine question, what's the point? I'm thinking that it can't be to save money as the goverment has to pay the university upfront anyway. And also, how likely is it that someone is going to be able to pay back that much money before it gets written off after so many years?

    There seems to be a lot of ignorance around since they decided to do this i.e. 'I can't afford to send my child to university because they charge £9000 a year!' even though it makes no difference while they are actually studying. Are the government hoping a lot of people will see it this way and decide against university so then they don't have to give out so many loans?

    I would genuinely like someone to give a legit explanation, as the news tends to paint the picture that the government are doing it to tackle the deficit when surely it means they will spend even more money.
    You're right, in the short term it makes no difference since the students won't be paying anything until they graduate. In the medium term, once they graduate, the government will actually be losing money compared to the old system because of the higher salary requirement for repayments. In the long term though, they will probably end up getting more money back (i.e. they get graduates to pay back more of their tuition fees), since they'll probably have the figures to show that it's worthwhile.

    Again you're right in that the higher fees don't affect whether or not someone will be able to afford university, but you could argue that university now takes an extra £18k of your earnings so now might not be financially beneficial if your degree of choice would net you less than that extra (compared to having no degree). I think the government are hoping to deter people form university, but they have the hard facts to back themselves up against public (mis?)perception.

    The media probably weren't too clued up on this, or they didn't think enough of their viewers would be interested. That, or they thought the "Big numbers! OMG!!!" headlines would be best without the details. It doesn't tackle the deficit, at least not immediately or directly. However, you could say that the government can go to lenders and point out that they'll be spending less on students in the long term, hence will be more able to repay debts, so will be able to get better rates themselves. If you want a (not too wacky) conspiracy theory, perhaps the media, being taxpayers themselves, chose to use the story as a way to discourage youngsters from going to university
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    To put it bluntly, there is no legit reason. The government thought they would save money, but ****ed up the calculations.

    Basically, there are two tuition fee caps, one is £6k and one is £9k. In order to charge above £6k unis must improve access to poorer students. The government naively assumed that unis would not be able to meet this criteria, and that they would want to charge lower fees to encourage students to come. In order to save money they decided to make large cuts to uni funding to make up for the increased loans they were giving out. So the government based all their calculations around unis charging an average of £7,500 a year.

    Of course, this never happened. Despite David Willetts insisting that the average fee would be a lot lower than £9k, nearly all unis decided to charge £9k, meaning that the funding cuts were not enough to make up the shortfall caused by a huge increase in money being lent out. The government is now trying to recoup some money by charging commercial interest rates to the highest earning graduates.

    So overall it's all one big mess. The taxpayer loses out as we all have to pay more. Students lose out to an extent, lower earning graduates will be better off under the current system but higher earning ones will pay a lot more. Plus students who do not understand the new system and are put off by the big numbers involved just won't apply and in a tough employment market, the state will have to support them. The only real beneficiaries are the unis who will be better off due to increased fee receipts outweighing the loss in direct government funding.
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    (Original post by ooerr)
    Genuine question, what's the point? I'm thinking that it can't be to save money as the goverment has to pay the university upfront anyway. And also, how likely is it that someone is going to be able to pay back that much money before it gets written off after so many years?

    There seems to be a lot of ignorance around since they decided to do this i.e. 'I can't afford to send my child to university because they charge £9000 a year!' even though it makes no difference while they are actually studying. Are the government hoping a lot of people will see it this way and decide against university so then they don't have to give out so many loans?

    I would genuinely like someone to give a legit explanation, as the news tends to paint the picture that the government are doing it to tackle the deficit when surely it means they will spend even more money.


    This debate has been approached from the wrong angle I believe, in that it is predominantly considered as 'persecution' and 'throwing away young people's futures.' This is all nonsense. To be honest, when people talk about not being able to afford university, this is frankly deliberate media mis-representation of facts to push an agenda.

    Lets accept for a moment that the 3k fees system was unsustainable, as the country was in a situation where too much money was being spent and not enough raised in taxes. These are the terms of the debate, not point questioning it.
    Lets also accept the university system must either have a reduction in spending or an increased 'tax take' as it represents an enormous amount of public money.
    Clearly less money for universities = poorer quality of education. Therefore the options were simple; do we increase taxes in general to fund universities, or do we instead increase tuition fees?

    To me the answer is simple. Those with a degree have a much higher earning potential than those without, thus it is fair they contribute a greater amount toward the cost of this education. The debt repayment situation ensures those who do not realise greater earning potential do not end up paying.

    To me, this is a far more desirable solution than to increase tax upon ordinary people, it cannot be fair that the burden of cost is placed on lower earners who never had the opportunity to attend university, and do not have the potential to earn as much money as graduates.

    Much of the left talk of increased tuition fees being an attack upon poorer teenagers, but it is clear to me that lower fees are an attack upon poorer tax payers; a group the left claims to defend.

    You could of course argue that increasing income tax on higher earners in general would fund university and the poor would not be impacted at all. There are two flaws in this argument, firstly, many of these people will have attended university, thus the result is the same. The second, those who have managed to earn good money without a degree end up paying for those who did go to university; this is hardly fair.
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    (Original post by barnetbuzzzz)
    To put it bluntly, there is no legit reason. The government thought they would save money, but ****ed up the calculations.

    Basically, there are two tuition fee caps, one is £6k and one is £9k. In order to charge above £6k unis must improve access to poorer students. The government naively assumed that unis would not be able to meet this criteria, and that they would want to charge lower fees to encourage students to come. In order to save money they decided to make large cuts to uni funding to make up for the increased loans they were giving out. So the government based all their calculations around unis charging an average of £7,500 a year.

    Of course, this never happened. Despite David Willetts insisting that the average fee would be a lot lower than £9k, nearly all unis decided to charge £9k, meaning that the funding cuts were not enough to make up the shortfall caused by a huge increase in money being lent out. The government is now trying to recoup some money by charging commercial interest rates to the highest earning graduates.

    So overall it's all one big mess. The taxpayer loses out as we all have to pay more. Students lose out to an extent, lower earning graduates will be better off under the current system but higher earning ones will pay a lot more. Plus students who do not understand the new system and are put off by the big numbers involved just won't apply and in a tough employment market, the state will have to support them. The only real beneficiaries are the unis who will be better off due to increased fee receipts outweighing the loss in direct government funding.
    In the long run, the taxpayer can only lose out if less money is repaid. The government was paying the whole cost of students anyway (minus whatever the university got from research funding, alumni donations etc), it's just now they're asking graduates to pay back a higher proportion of that, at a fixed rate for a maximum length of time.

    Put it this way, a student costs 10X (for example) up front to educate. Previously the government paid all 10X but asked for X back from the graduates later on. Now, the government still pays all 10X but asks for 3X back later on. Even if students end up repaying only 2X, the government is still better off. The spanner in the works is the higher repayment threshold, which might result in a lower average repayment (the government is still better off provided they get back more than the average repayment of the old system, and the higher debt means fewer graduates are likely to stop their repayments after only X). The last variable is the number of students. Each student dissuaded is 10X saved up front, though of course I haven't addressed the later benefits of having more graduates in the economy or how much extra tax they'd contribute if their degree nets them more money.
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    (Original post by Snagprophet)
    Yeah this is quite a common thing to say from people obviously trying to dress everything up as persecution from the Conservatives. I don't understand the logic. The more I hear about it the more I question how mentally stable the general population, at least from my generation, are. There's all these stories about people prostituting themselves even though the maintenance loans haven't changed, so if for whatever reason someone couldn't afford university it wouldn't be because of the government's changes to tuition costs in England for people starting in 2012 and beyond.
    This actually makes me angry when I read this in papers: pointless scaremongering. "University fees are so high, you won't be able to afford to live and then you'll have to be a prostitute!" And you're right, like you said, the fees aren't even in place yet and even if they were, it would make absolutely no difference!

    I've also heard people go on about "£x debt when you're 21... no chance of getting a mortgage... never be able to afford the repayments' They clearly have no idea how the system works.
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    It would be decades before the government claws back any reaonable amount of money (and thats if it all goes to plan), by which point you would've thought the current economic situation which has triggered this tuitions fees reform to have ended. So yeah, there seems to be little sense for the lib dems to break such a key pledge when their stated aim of this policy is to reduce the current deficit. Something I'm missing here?
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    (Original post by internet tough guy)
    It would be decades before the government claws back any reaonable amount of money (and thats if it all goes to plan), by which point you would've thought the current economic situation which has triggered this tuitions fees reform to have ended. So yeah, there seems to be little sense for the lib dems to break such a key pledge when their stated aim of this policy is to reduce the current deficit. Something I'm missing here?
    It was argued on the grounds of the deficit, but realistically it's much more of a long term issue, with so many people now attending university, it becomes unreasonable for people who didn't go uni to have the burden of cost through their taxes.
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    (Original post by AlexInWonderland)
    This debate has been approached from the wrong angle I believe, in that it is predominantly considered as 'persecution' and 'throwing away young people's futures.' This is all nonsense. To be honest, when people talk about not being able to afford university, this is frankly deliberate media mis-representation of facts to push an agenda.

    Lets accept for a moment that the 3k fees system was unsustainable, as the country was in a situation where too much money was being spent and not enough raised in taxes. These are the terms of the debate, not point questioning it.
    Lets also accept the university system must either have a reduction in spending or an increased 'tax take' as it represents an enormous amount of public money.
    Clearly less money for universities = poorer quality of education. Therefore the options were simple; do we increase taxes in general to fund universities, or do we instead increase tuition fees?

    To me the answer is simple. Those with a degree have a much higher earning potential than those without, thus it is fair they contribute a greater amount toward the cost of this education. The debt repayment situation ensures those who do not realise greater earning potential do not end up paying.

    To me, this is a far more desirable solution than to increase tax upon ordinary people, it cannot be fair that the burden of cost is placed on lower earners who never had the opportunity to attend university, and do not have the potential to earn as much money as graduates.

    Much of the left talk of increased tuition fees being an attack upon poorer teenagers, but it is clear to me that lower fees are an attack upon poorer tax payers; a group the left claims to defend.

    You could of course argue that increasing income tax on higher earners in general would fund university and the poor would not be impacted at all. There are two flaws in this argument, firstly, many of these people will have attended university, thus the result is the same. The second, those who have managed to earn good money without a degree end up paying for those who did go to university; this is hardly fair.
    If you're going for fairness, we can look at which groups benefitted from this and which were hurt.

    Non-taxpayers don't really care, except that the money spent subsidising students could have been put into projects more beneficial to them. Now, there's a bit more money to be spent on them so they'll be a little happier but this doesn't really come into 'fair', just 'beneficial'.

    Taxpaying non-graduates were hit worst, they were supporting a system they did not benefit from. Now, they still subsidise students, but to a lesser extent.

    Taxpaying graduates were paying to support a system they once benefitted from. Yes there are more students now, so it's difficult to draw the 'fair' line anywhere, but they've definitely gotten a good deal here.

    I think I'll also throw in non-taxpaying graduates, such as those who've benefitted from our university system then left the country (or are unemployed, but that's rarer amongst that generation of graduates). This group have arguably abused the system, but are beyond reach.

    Personally, I don't know what would be fairest, at least that is feasible. If you argue that a student should pay their own way, then that argument holds for past students as well. Even if a student is to partially pay the cost, then that argument works for past students too. Of course, they didn't sign up agreeing to take out and then repay a student loan, but if the government are to be believed, they'd have willingly gone for it because there is no cost up front
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    (Original post by Hopple)
    If you're going for fairness, we can look at which groups benefitted from this and which were hurt.

    Non-taxpayers don't really care, except that the money spent subsidising students could have been put into projects more beneficial to them. Now, there's a bit more money to be spent on them so they'll be a little happier but this doesn't really come into 'fair', just 'beneficial'.

    Taxpaying non-graduates were hit worst, they were supporting a system they did not benefit from. Now, they still subsidise students, but to a lesser extent.

    Taxpaying graduates were paying to support a system they once benefitted from. Yes there are more students now, so it's difficult to draw the 'fair' line anywhere, but they've definitely gotten a good deal here.

    I think I'll also throw in non-taxpaying graduates, such as those who've benefitted from our university system then left the country (or are unemployed, but that's rarer amongst that generation of graduates). This group have arguably abused the system, but are beyond reach.

    Personally, I don't know what would be fairest, at least that is feasible. If you argue that a student should pay their own way, then that argument holds for past students as well. Even if a student is to partially pay the cost, then that argument works for past students too. Of course, they didn't sign up agreeing to take out and then repay a student loan, but if the government are to be believed, they'd have willingly gone for it because there is no cost up front
    Good point, especially regarding previous graduates. Indeed, they benefited far more from a degree than we will be able to as it was in the past more of a guarantee of success than it is for us. For this reason, moving the threshold to start repaying is a good plan. While the theories that the graduates benefitted more, and the ordinary taxpayers had an even greater negative effect, the numbers were much smaller so it was a bit of a non-issue, whereas now it is a far greater share of the nations wealth.

    As for those that leave the country, I thought there were mechanisms to ensure they do repay the debt? If not then there definitely should be, even if the administrative cost is large, it's a matter of princple.
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    (Original post by AlexInWonderland)
    It was argued on the grounds of the deficit, but realistically it's much more of a long term issue, with so many people now attending university, it becomes unreasonable for people who didn't go uni to have the burden of cost through their taxes.
    In the long run it will work out so long as we don't have a deficit in the mid run (next 5 years). If we still have a deficit, however, or even if we just pay it off but our economy is at snail-slow growth, then it gets us nowhere. It is something that should have been instated during a boom period because that is when it would have actually saved the country some cash, but not everyone bothers to think about saving during a boom...
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    (Original post by AlexInWonderland)
    It was argued on the grounds of the deficit, but realistically it's much more of a long term issue, with so many people now attending university, it becomes unreasonable for people who didn't go uni to have the burden of cost through their taxes.
    Thats exactly what I've been thinking during the political farce cause by this policy. The Lib dems have ditched away this key pledge and have already suffered immensely as a result of this, for what? A reform that won't even acheive their stated goal/main priority in joining the tories in government - to alleviate the current economic situation.

    Theres the argument of course that graduates benefit therefore they should bear the costs, but they're taxpayers as well, so regardless of how many people go to university, at the end they will still end up paying back what for they had benefited. And then theres different levels of income tax to make sure the successful graduates or those who benefited the most will pay more.

    Anyway there are plenty of other examples in public spending whereby only a portion of the population benefits yet everyone has to contribute towards the the costs, so this 'problem' isn't unique to university education. All I'm saying, is that this tuition fees fiasco seems to be alot of trouble for the Lib dems to go through and for politics in general to suffer through (from such a blatant broken promise), for really not alot of gain and it certainly will not go towards helping the fundermental cause of this coalition government.
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    (Original post by internet tough guy)
    Thats exactly what I've been thinking during the political farce cause by this policy. The Lib dems have ditched away this key pledge and have already suffered immensely as a result of this, for what? A reform that won't even acheive their stated goal/main priority in joining the tories in government - to alleviate the current economic situation.

    Theres the argument of course that graduates benefit therefore they should bear the costs, but they're taxpayers as well, so regardless of how many people go to university, at the end they will still end up paying back what for they had benefited. And then theres different levels of income tax to make sure the successful graduates or those who benefited the most will pay more.

    Anyway there are plenty of other examples in public spending whereby only a portion of the population benefits yet everyone has to contribute towards the the costs, so this 'problem' isn't unique to university education. All I'm saying, is that this tuition fees fiasco seems to be alot of trouble for the Lib dems to go through and for politics in general to suffer through (from such a blatant broken promise), for really not alot of gain and it certainly will not go towards helping the fundermental cause of this coalition government.
    Being a bit of a cynic, I personally believe Clegg had no intention of upholding that promise. Look at it this way, there were 3 possible outcomes for the Libs in the 2010 general election:
    1) They are in opposition
    2) They are in a coalition with the Tories
    3) They are in a coalition with Labour

    Regardless of what Labour says, the Browne report was commissioned as a joint effort with the Tories and themselves. Thus we can conclude the two main parties both wanted to increase the cost of university education bore by the graduate.

    As this is the case, the Libs must have known they would either have to support a mechanism to this end with Labour or the Tories. If they were in opposition, their voting against it would have made no difference whatsoever. Thus their promise was a cynical move to gain votes that they had no hope of upholding should they gain influence in government.

    But yeah, while I agree with higher fees, the Libs really have shot themselves in the foot for no gain, at least no gain in terms of the deficit reduction- the primary aim of this government.
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    (Original post by AlexInWonderland)
    Good point, especially regarding previous graduates. Indeed, they benefited far more from a degree than we will be able to as it was in the past more of a guarantee of success than it is for us. For this reason, moving the threshold to start repaying is a good plan. While the theories that the graduates benefitted more, and the ordinary taxpayers had an even greater negative effect, the numbers were much smaller so it was a bit of a non-issue, whereas now it is a far greater share of the nations wealth.
    This becomes more about what is practical, rather than what is fair though. If it was fair years ago to pay fully for someone to go to university, then it is fair now. Practically, things have changed because of teh numbers of people involved.


    As for those that leave the country, I thought there were mechanisms to ensure they do repay the debt? If not then there definitely should be, even if the administrative cost is large, it's a matter of princple.
    I was mainly talking about those who graduated before tuition fees, and hence would not have had to subsidise new students through their taxes, but the same is still true even if they do repay their student loans - their education was subsidised by taxpayers at the time, so even if they pay their loan back in full they still 'owe' their taxes to this country to subsidise the next generation if things are to be fair.
    (Original post by AlexInWonderland)
    Being a bit of a cynic, I personally believe Clegg had no intention of upholding that promise. Look at it this way, there were 3 possible outcomes for the Libs in the 2010 general election:
    1) They are in opposition
    2) They are in a coalition with the Tories
    3) They are in a coalition with Labour

    Regardless of what Labour says, the Browne report was commissioned as a joint effort with the Tories and themselves. Thus we can conclude the two main parties both wanted to increase the cost of university education bore by the graduate.

    As this is the case, the Libs must have known they would either have to support a mechanism to this end with Labour or the Tories. If they were in opposition, their voting against it would have made no difference whatsoever. Thus their promise was a cynical move to gain votes that they had no hope of upholding should they gain influence in government.

    But yeah, while I agree with higher fees, the Libs really have shot themselves in the foot for no gain, at least no gain in terms of the deficit reduction- the primary aim of this government.
    I'm still more in the "Clegg is a pussy" camp rather than "Clegg is a devious liar", but I can see the reasoning. I don't remember the exact numbers, but about a third of Lib Dem MPs did vote against the increase (as they pledged) so at the very least they aren't all one of the above two options.

    On the vote itself, I still don't know why they did it so soon. As a coalition, they still had a lot of deficit related stuff to do, and the increase in tuition fees wasn't one of them. However, it threatened to break the Lib Dems up, which in turn could have destabilised the coalition. Why do it so early?
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    (Original post by Hopple)
    This becomes more about what is practical, rather than what is fair though. If it was fair years ago to pay fully for someone to go to university, then it is fair now. Practically, things have changed because of teh numbers of people involved.

    I was mainly talking about those who graduated before tuition fees, and hence would not have had to subsidise new students through their taxes, but the same is still true even if they do repay their student loans - their education was subsidised by taxpayers at the time, so even if they pay their loan back in full they still 'owe' their taxes to this country to subsidise the next generation if things are to be fair.


    I'm still more in the "Clegg is a pussy" camp rather than "Clegg is a devious liar", but I can see the reasoning. I don't remember the exact numbers, but about a third of Lib Dem MPs did vote against the increase (as they pledged) so at the very least they aren't all one of the above two options.

    On the vote itself, I still don't know why they did it so soon. As a coalition, they still had a lot of deficit related stuff to do, and the increase in tuition fees wasn't one of them. However, it threatened to break the Lib Dems up, which in turn could have destabilised the coalition. Why do it so early?
    I see your point that the principle of what is fair remains the same, and that it is really a practical argument. That said, that the numbers are much larger makes the burden of cost on ordinary people greater, that is is unfair becomes more of an issue.

    Yeah I feel sorry for the ordinary Lib Dem MPs, who probably do a good job and stick to their values; many of whom will probably loose their seats come the next election. I guess from an electoral point of view, to get the matter that is most unpleasant to lib dems over with quickly means people may not be as concerned about it come the next general election?
    On the election show the other day, Dimbleby said something along the lines of perhaps many Lib Dems expected people to not still be angry about tuition fees.

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