(Original post by DarkWhite)
Absolutely support the demonstrations and I hope that hundreds or more students from my institution will also be joining me.
The current fees system as a whole is unsustainable; the fact that fees have effectively been trebled is just making the loss-making aspect of it even worse.
Fixed tuition fees and the arbitrary cap decided by the government is such an unsustainable model for higher education funding that its existence serves only to show how incompetent the coalition really is.
Under the current system:
- Those who fail to pay off their student debt in full cost the country and thus the tax payer by not paying for the education the state has decided to pay for.
- The removal and reduction of grants means universities are left with funding gaps even when charging the higher rates under the £9k fees regime.
- No consideration is given to the "value" of a degree (albeit I dislike the marketisation of HE).
- There is a lack of sensibility for more flexible courses - part-time, distance learners etc.
- It relies on a number of assumptions about the economy and growth in particular.
- There is no protection for students whatsoever - future governments could change the Ts&Cs of graduates' loans to fix future economic issues.
- Prospective students are put off - the prospect of what could be £60k debt from the Student Loans Company alone does make you question whether a degree is worth it or not.
- It bears nothing on what exactly is offered by the university in return, and takes advantage of the high applicantlace ratio.
Something along the lines of (not necessarily strictly the same as) NUS' Blueprint
proposal would prove far better. When you graduate, you pay a percentage of your salary which falls above a minimum threshold based on both the teaching received during your studying and your annual income. The more you benefit from your award, the more you pay back, and thus the greater encouragement for universities to strive for excellence in teaching and programme delivery.
But what's worse is that the government time and time again fail to consult properly - with students, unions, and institutions. The same can be seen with the shelving of the HE Bill, despite it being promised to us 3 times; the proposed removal of funding for mature students undertaking access to HE and foundation courses; just to name a few.
The proposed changes in the HE Bill would have drastic effects, and as students, the most affected by the proposals, are being shut out of it, and without parliamentary debate and scrutiny, we'll also all struggle to lobby anybody to raise any issues with them.
On top of this, the government continues to completely ignored postgraduate students. Unlike undergraduates, PG students do not receive funding for their education, which is a clear time for them to be priced out of education. Some of the best teaching and research at PG level is unfunded by research councils, partly due to their public spending budget cuts, and it's a shambles that we should lose the brightest of students because they can't secure the huge loans required, they can't afford it even whilst keeping down multiple jobs, and they know that even whilst studying they will start paying interest and repayments at a commercial rate, meaning those wishing to go into industry are having to think twice before furthering their education because it's going to be a bit dent in their income.
NUS also represents FE as well as HE, and take a clear stance on the removal of EMA, rather than a change to the system.
And let's not forget - when students graduate, where are they going to go? We'd all hope to find a job, but the rising unemployment and diminishing job prospects through overly harsh austerity and lack of growth means that unemployment is a real concern for NUS and its members.
Yes, the government ignored us the last time we protested, but that's no reason to stop, in fact it's the complete opposite. We need to stand up against a government which is piece-by-piece marketising our education sector as a whole from secondary to higher education and everywhere in between. We need to fight against the lying and deceit rising from broken promises made both in elections campaigns and in coalition agreement. We need to make ourselves clear: we will not allow our brightest and most able to be priced out of education or awarded segregated qualifications allowing for greater divide.