Should university be free Watch

ltsmith
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University fees are extortionate when you look at what you get for your money.

For me, 9k per year of university buys me:

8hrs of lectures/week
3hrs of labs and tutorials/week

None of those contact hours involve any one to one time; instead you just sit in a massive lecture theatre joined by another 250 students. It begs the question, why do people pay these fees? You can hire a person to give you hourly one-to-one tuition for 30 quid. Instead at university, you end up paying significantly more than 30 quid to join a lecture theatre populated by a quarter of a thousand students.

The justification academics give is that university is about independent learning. Me personally, I think it's just an excuse academics use so they can avoid as much teaching responsibilites as they can get away with. I mean, why can't we just do independent learning at the local library rather than pay an institution 9000 a year?

To make matters worse, lots of people enter university under the impressioin that upon graduation they will get a professional job. But this is a lie and no one tells them! Lots of people graduate with 50k of debt and end up working in a low-paid or dead-end job after spending 3 or more years in education.

I'm nearly at the end of a computer science degree. I can't help but think I could have had a better education from Youtube and Udemy at 1/1000th of the cost of university! I mean, at my institution we don't even get any exam or coursework feedback. My university thinks a one-line sentence is enough feedback for 50% of a 20 credit course.

I would have no problem with this if university was free like the rest of the european countries. But at 9k a year, they need to provide a quality of education that justifies the 9k/year cost. Instead, they do the bare minimum and I could argue the education I received at my underfunded sixth form was a magnitude better than that of a world leading university.
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ecolier
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I had my tuition cheaply back when it was around £1100 per year so I thought I would chip in.

I think the answer is yes, paying back a relatively small amount of student loan was very liberating and I have been contributing to the economy as I would otherwise not have. I'm sure it will be the same for others.

So in short I think it should be cheaper, but then who pays?!
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james.clk
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Vote Llafur Cymru!
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ajj2000
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(Original post by ltsmith)
I could argue the education I received at my underfunded sixth form was a magnitude better than that of a world leading university.
I've thought over the years that I would have had a far better education if I had stayed at my sixth form for another couple of years doing different A levels. Far more exposure to great teachers than universities offered.

Do you get anything else from the university? Marked and supported assignments for example?

You raise an interesting point about the cost of private tuition. I came across someone who had been looking to do a degree as a mature student. He went for London external (philosophy I think) and paid for a tutor for hour long sessions and to mark/ give feedback on essays. Said it was a great amount cheaper and more effective than sitting in a class with 30 others.
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Smack
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(Original post by ltsmith)
University fees are extortionate when you look at what you get for your money.

For me, 9k per year of university buys me:

8hrs of lectures/week
3hrs of labs and tutorials/week
It also gets you a certificate at the end should you successfully complete the course. A lot of students are probably more interested in obtaining that certificate than the education which goes into it.
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Sentenced_to
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(Original post by ecolier)
I had my tuition cheaply back when it was around £1100 per year so I thought I would chip in.
Me too. I am also from an EU country that has no undergraduate fees at all. I would say that a small student contribution like this or a little more with the biggest part of funding coming directly from taxes and other sources, would have been the ideal system, as it serves both equal opportunities but also makes you a responsible individual who dedicates time and money on something important.

The big downside, however, is that politicians can easily manipulate and modify the (student contribution) fees at will, with the UK being the best example of how 1000 became 9000 within a decade.
Thus, I would say that in any less than perfect society NO fees at all is perhaps the best option.
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ecolier
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(Original post by Sentenced_to)
...
Before 1998 the UK also had a no university fee system.
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Notoriety
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9k is not really a fee. It is potential liability.

So it's not something which is really "paid", nor do people go to uni for the number of contact hours. They go to get a piece of paper. They are the people directly benefitting (and do so voluntarily*), so they should be the people paying up -- not the tax payer generally.

*This point is important, as it kills the riposte of "So the dying cancer patient should pay for his own treatment, not the healthy millionaires ...".
Last edited by Notoriety; 4 weeks ago
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Sentenced_to
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(Original post by ecolier)
Before 1998 the UK also had a no university fee system.
I know. I studied my undergraduate degree just when they introduced the 1k fees...
Last edited by Sentenced_to; 4 weeks ago
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MochiMirangue
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(Original post by ltsmith)
University fees are extortionate when you look at what you get for your money.

For me, 9k per year of university buys me:

8hrs of lectures/week
3hrs of labs and tutorials/week


None of those contact hours involve any one to one time; instead you just sit in a massive lecture theatre joined by another 250 students. It begs the question, why do people pay these fees? You can hire a person to give you hourly one-to-one tuition for 30 quid. Instead at university, you end up paying significantly more than 30 quid to join a lecture theatre populated by a quarter of a thousand students.

The justification academics give is that university is about independent learning. Me personally, I think it's just an excuse academics use so they can avoid as much teaching responsibilites as they can get away with. I mean, why can't we just do independent learning at the local library rather than pay an institution 9000 a year?

To make matters worse, lots of people enter university under the impressioin that upon graduation they will get a professional job. But this is a lie and no one tells them! Lots of people graduate with 50k of debt and end up working in a low-paid or dead-end job after spending 3 or more years in education.

I'm nearly at the end of a computer science degree. I can't help but think I could have had a better education from Youtube and Udemy at 1/1000th of the cost of university! I mean, at my institution we don't even get any exam or coursework feedback. My university thinks a one-line sentence is enough feedback for 50% of a 20 credit course.

I would have no problem with this if university was free like the rest of the european countries. But at 9k a year, they need to provide a quality of education that justifies the 9k/year cost. Instead, they do the bare minimum and I could argue the education I received at my underfunded sixth form was a magnitude better than that of a world leading university.
Just as a lil side note - not all universities are like that. I have around 23 or so contact hours a week with brilliant lecturers and tutorials of groups of 3 or so and it is brilliant. Plus the feedback on our essays or coursework is also really great and detailed. I even got my lab report back with writing all over it and the marker came over to explain all of the comments clearly. So for my university I would say that paying fees is worth it (but yes they should be less than 9K), but if it was your uni which doesn't sound that brilliant then I can see why you would be justified in thinking it should be free...
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ecolier
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By the way, slightly :topic: but £36000 for 5 years of medicine (the last year is paid by NHS bursary in most circumstances) is still incredible value for money because the true cost is around £220000 to train someone to be become a doctor.


The government likes to point out that it costs £200000 to train. In total it probably exceeds this but the actual cost to the taxpayer is £163000 while the rest comes from student loans and tuition fees. https://fullfact.org/health/cost-training-doctor/


Looking at this, even international students paying less than £30000 per year is getting (relative) value for money.
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tesconyc
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I think uni is fun and worth it
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thestudent33
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(Original post by ltsmith)
University fees are extortionate when you look at what you get for your money.

For me, 9k per year of university buys me:

8hrs of lectures/week
3hrs of labs and tutorials/week

None of those contact hours involve any one to one time; instead you just sit in a massive lecture theatre joined by another 250 students. It begs the question, why do people pay these fees? You can hire a person to give you hourly one-to-one tuition for 30 quid. Instead at university, you end up paying significantly more than 30 quid to join a lecture theatre populated by a quarter of a thousand students.

The justification academics give is that university is about independent learning. Me personally, I think it's just an excuse academics use so they can avoid as much teaching responsibilites as they can get away with. I mean, why can't we just do independent learning at the local library rather than pay an institution 9000 a year?

To make matters worse, lots of people enter university under the impressioin that upon graduation they will get a professional job. But this is a lie and no one tells them! Lots of people graduate with 50k of debt and end up working in a low-paid or dead-end job after spending 3 or more years in education.

I'm nearly at the end of a computer science degree. I can't help but think I could have had a better education from Youtube and Udemy at 1/1000th of the cost of university! I mean, at my institution we don't even get any exam or coursework feedback. My university thinks a one-line sentence is enough feedback for 50% of a 20 credit course.

I would have no problem with this if university was free like the rest of the european countries. But at 9k a year, they need to provide a quality of education that justifies the 9k/year cost. Instead, they do the bare minimum and I could argue the education I received at my underfunded sixth form was a magnitude better than that of a world leading university.
I believe university should be free. However, only for people with a right to live in the UK.
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thestudent33
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(Original post by tesconyc)
I think uni is fun and worth it
Is the fun worth £9,250 a year?
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ajj2000
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(Original post by MochiMirangue)
Just as a lil side note - not all universities are like that. I have around 23 or so contact hours a week with brilliant lecturers and tutorials of groups of 3 or so and it is brilliant. Plus the feedback on our essays or coursework is also really great and detailed. I even got my lab report back with writing all over it and the marker came over to explain all of the comments clearly. So for my university I would say that paying fees is worth it (but yes they should be less than 9K), but if it was your uni which doesn't sound that brilliant then I can see why you would be justified in thinking it should be free...
Isnt that a case of 'not all university courses are like this' rather than 'not all universities are like this'? A lot of STEM and creative arts courses look great value to me - you get a lot of facilties, contact hours and exposure to top people. Many other courses - not so much.
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ltsmith
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(Original post by ajj2000)
Do you get anything else from the university? Marked and supported assignments for example?
Not really. Nothing other than the piece of paper at the end.

I don't really get any feedback other than a single sentence emailed through a PhD marker.
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ltsmith
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(Original post by Notoriety)

So it's not something which is really "paid", nor do people go to uni for the number of contact hours. They go to get a piece of paper. They are the people directly benefitting (and do so voluntarily*), so they should be the people paying up -- not the tax payer generally.
Sure they do so voluntarily, but alternative options are not properly explored at schools. Sixth form teachers shove university and ucas down everyone's throat.

Going to university merely for the piece of paper at the end is very reductionist, I'd like to think it ought to be about more than that
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ltsmith
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(Original post by tesconyc)
I think uni is fun and worth it
i guess it differs for everyone. but for me personally, university has been a horrible experience.
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Notoriety
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(Original post by ltsmith)
Sure they do so voluntarily, but alternative options are not properly explored at schools. Sixth form teachers shove university and ucas down everyone's throat.

Going to university merely for the piece of paper at the end is very reductionist, I'd like to think it ought to be about more than that
It is reductionist to suppose that what I said isn't true just because you'd like it not to be. Reductionist or fallacious -- take your pick.
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That'sGreat
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(Original post by ltsmith)
University fees are extortionate when you look at what you get for your money.

For me, 9k per year of university buys me:

8hrs of lectures/week
3hrs of labs and tutorials/week

None of those contact hours involve any one to one time; instead you just sit in a massive lecture theatre joined by another 250 students. It begs the question, why do people pay these fees? You can hire a person to give you hourly one-to-one tuition for 30 quid. Instead at university, you end up paying significantly more than 30 quid to join a lecture theatre populated by a quarter of a thousand students.

The justification academics give is that university is about independent learning. Me personally, I think it's just an excuse academics use so they can avoid as much teaching responsibilites as they can get away with. I mean, why can't we just do independent learning at the local library rather than pay an institution 9000 a year?

To make matters worse, lots of people enter university under the impressioin that upon graduation they will get a professional job. But this is a lie and no one tells them! Lots of people graduate with 50k of debt and end up working in a low-paid or dead-end job after spending 3 or more years in education.

I'm nearly at the end of a computer science degree. I can't help but think I could have had a better education from Youtube and Udemy at 1/1000th of the cost of university! I mean, at my institution we don't even get any exam or coursework feedback. My university thinks a one-line sentence is enough feedback for 50% of a 20 credit course.

I would have no problem with this if university was free like the rest of the european countries. But at 9k a year, they need to provide a quality of education that justifies the 9k/year cost. Instead, they do the bare minimum and I could argue the education I received at my underfunded sixth form was a magnitude better than that of a world leading university.
You’re paying for increase smog prospects. If you’re leaving with no job opportunity lined up or available, you’ve gone to a crap uni and done a course that isn’t worth your time, that’s you fault. Pay if it will help you, if it won’t, don’t go. Simple as
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