Thursday November 4, 2010

Why Did The Government Ignore Student Concerns About Uni Fees?

UK Students asked to march in London on Wed 10th November.   

by SoftwareGuru

Today's increase of up to £9,000 in University fees will add fuel to the argument that it discourages students from third level education.

This blog's primary focus is education and technology. However, as a company who communicates to parents and students every day we are acutely aware of student issues.

Fees and funding is obviously the most important topic right now for students. It's vital that students do not underestimate the power of their collective voice.

For example, this blog has frequently pointed out that the more people that post messages of support for this student discount program on the likes of Facebook and Twitter, the more likely it is that it can continue.

The University fees increase announced this week by the Government must likewise be greeted with your strong opinions and more importantly, your presence at the forthcoming march in London.

Politicians will always make decisions based on the calculated political cost.

The perception is most likely that students will complain loudly but they won't become proactive enough to create any political problems.

Unfortunately for MPs, the NUS and UCU have jointly launched a campaign over at designed to do just that. 

Make History This November

For real time information and opinions, Twitter is the best place to find out what people are saying.

A twitter search for #uni or #fees will show the most recent results.

On Wednesday @channel4news @bbceducation and @timeshighered were all buzzing with debate surrounding the University fees issue.

For the latest information on the Student March in London the website provides a wide range of resources and downloads.

There is no doubt that one of the best courses of action to take is to Write To Your MP.

Follow the link above to visit the model letter to MPs provided by the NUS and UCU.

Even if you can't attend the demonstration in London, your efforts to express your concerns are important.

Parents and grandparents should also be encouraged to write letters to their local MP on behalf of students they know.

Economic recovery and growth can only come from innovation and education.

It's vital that students are not priced out of a third level education, fearful of taking on too much debt.

You may wish to read the UCAS information for current student finance arrangements.
What The Media Is Saying

On the issue of education cuts and third level fees, let's see what the media have to say...

BBC News: "What's become clear today is that the government won't simply defend their higher education proposals by pointing to extra help for the least well off - but will also attack Labour for a lack of an alternative."

Channel 4 News: "Those institutions charging higher fees will also face new sanctions unless they increase the outreach activities they undertake to attract students from lower-income backgrounds, with those that fail to make progress towards their targets of recruiting poorer students will have a proportion of the income they earn above the £6,000 fee threshold diverted into these activities."

The Guardian: "These proposals affect only English universities. Scottish and EU students studying in Scotland do not have to pay any fees. Students from the rest of the UK studying there pay £1,820 per year. In Northern Ireland and Wales, fees are a maximum of £3,290."

The bottom line is students in England will pay more for their degrees.

If the Lib Dems want to salvage whatever shred of credibility they have left, they'll need to do a lot more than just talk.

Maybe they could follow Obama's example, he didn't have a great week either.

Until there is concrete proof that students from poorer backgrounds are not now at a disadvantage, words alone are not enough.

It's a fantastic opportunity for Labour to show they have better ideas. Failure to do so will confirm people were right to remove them from Government.  

We'll give the last word to NUS President Aaron Porter speaking to BBC News.

"We're disappointed and we're angry. It is an utter betrayal by a Government that is setting policy based on a number of elite universities and not in the interests of students."

If you're a student visit now.