Gransnet forums


Student fees

(111 Posts)
Anniebach Mon 05-Feb-18 09:03:42

Fair or not?

Franbern Fri 16-Feb-18 14:43:51

Virtually all the politicians etc. who wax so lyrical about how it is fine to incur debt on our young people, received their own University education without having to pay fees.
Many years ago I used to read of the fee system in USA and find it totally strange and just another example of that primitive country.
When my eldest went Uni - not only did he not pay fees, but, he actually received a grant to help towards his living costs, etc.
Fortunately, all of mine managed to get through their Uni Bachelor courses without having the added problem of fees, even so it took some of the younger ones many years to pay back to loans they had taken out to cover living costs, although all of them also worked whilst at Uni.
I brought my children up with the firm teaching that the ONLY loan ever to be considered was for a mortgage. For everything else they needed to save until they could afford it. I could not quite take on board that the government was over-riding this teaching and telling these young people that they SHOULD take out loans.
These days, the fees have risen out of all proportion. There are still many countries which run the system we used to have of free higher education - they get it back in work years taxes, etc.
I was all for encouraging my g.children to look at Universities in such countries as Germany and Holland, but - of course this has now been stymied by Brexit.

Welshwife Fri 16-Feb-18 15:39:06

The Welsh grant was given to students who had a permanent Welsh address and also went to Welsh schools. It was very useful to the youngsters.

The USA fees are now $25k per year if you go to a Uni within your home State or $50K if you go outside that State. DGS is applying at the moment and has had one offer from a home state Uni and a second from a uni a few miles outside -but with a bursary offer as well.

Mumsyface Sat 17-Feb-18 09:34:00

How is it possible that starting your adult life up to your armpits in debt is a good idea?!!??!? Absolute nonsense, and merely clarifies how desperately this country needs we’ll educated people with excellent thinking skills and strategies. No education is ever wasted and much, much more is clearly needed!

HurdyGurdy Sat 17-Feb-18 09:41:38

That's the reason my youngest son, the only one who was interested in going to university, finally turned down his offers, because he said he didn't want to be 25 and £50k in debt.

This hasn't stopped him getting a really good job - much to the chagrin of his colleagues, who all went to uni, and are doing exactly the same job, for exactly the same pay, and with the huge debt to repay

vickya Sat 17-Feb-18 09:47:08

Like Franbern, I got my degree with no fees and a grant to live on. My children just got the degrees free but we were able to pay their living fees, which not all parents could do. I think the fact that I'd managed to get a degree and been funded meant my job paid enough to help my kids. The situation for my grandchildren is looking bleak in many ways, not just further education.

I think it is an investment for the country to educate free those able to benefit from the education, and all young people in some useful way. In other countries it is not just university but perhaps some technical or other practical education that the young people can get.

Mumsyface Sat 17-Feb-18 10:20:24

There’s nothing to stop a young, or any other person, doing a much cheaper degree over a slightly longer time with the OU. Ideal for a young person happy to live at home and work part time whilst studying. Obviously this is a solely academic option rather than the previous experience in which living away from home was part of the (educational?) deal.

jaymbee36 Sat 17-Feb-18 10:25:29

My Grandaughter in the USA has a Masters Degree and a Student Debt of $180,000, as she said, a very expensive piece of paper hanging on the wall !!!

Grampie Sat 17-Feb-18 10:28:24

Live at home and do a proper apprenticeship instead.

...take a sabbatical to study for an MSc in your early thirties.

After earning and saving for ten years or more.

Silverlining47 Sat 17-Feb-18 10:42:58

I think the whole system should be reviewed.
From my personal experience and from knowing how my own children used their time at university I think the courses could be halved in time. No need for such long holidays and so much free time (so called 'study time' .....?). Also perhaps more stringent reviews during the course. I know a number of young people who used this time 'enjoying the university of life' but left with poor qualifications and poor job prospects and therefore have never repayed their studen loan. Should these people benefit from 3 years of grants?
I absolutely agree that further education should be an investment in our country and open to all children who truly want to study and have the ambition to improve their life and others.

trisher Sat 17-Feb-18 10:53:10

Oh well done the Welsh. They're providing support for the poorest and opening higher education to all. Just wish England would follow.

Silverlining47 Sat 17-Feb-18 10:53:53

My own son dropped out of university and worked very hard to set up his own business which now employs 8 people. Ironically he is now on an advisory board at the same university. However, he is shocked by how half-qualified most graduates are that apply for a job with him.

Missfoodlove Sat 17-Feb-18 10:55:04

As it is no longer the minority going to university it would not be possible to fund the student population.
30/40 years ago it was a great accolade to go to university, now it’s a right of passage that I don’t feel the state should fund.
There are some great opportunities to work and gain relevant qualifications bypassing the universities and associated debt.
Schools and colleges need to work harder to find alternative career paths for their students.
One of my 3 children opted to study abroad, he got a really good degree in Prague Czech Republic, all lectures are in English, we funded him but it was a lot cheaper and greater quality than the UK.
He lived in a beautiful flat in Central Prague for £250 pcm with bills, his tuition fees were a fraction of the UK.
He went straight into a good job in Prague and loves his life there.
Young people need to think outside the box, for our son who is not very academic this was a great option.
We were lucky to be able to afford to support him and I appreciate not everyone is in that position but I would highly recommend looking abroad if it’s an option.

durhamjen Sat 17-Feb-18 10:57:49

The government is talking about reducing student fees in England to £6000, obviously thinking this will get thousands of students to vote for them.

Christinefrance Sat 17-Feb-18 10:59:31

And now the lecturers are on strike, do the students get a refund for missing part of their syllabus.

Margs Sat 17-Feb-18 11:02:03

A couple of years ago the Guardian was alerted by a graduate to the fact that the Student Loans organisation had started -quietly - selling on details of students and the amounts they owed to private debt collection agencies.

This particular graduate found out because commercial debt collectors are not bound by any enforceable code of ethics and can essentially hound and harass graduates via phone, letters, threats of court action, threats of bailiffs, etc. and can just not only move the goalposts but chuck them away altogether!

The Guardian found out that this practice was becoming rife as the Student Loans body found it to be very lucrative for them......

NemosMum Sat 17-Feb-18 11:03:18

The current student loan is really a graduate tax in all but name. It is not regarded as a debt; it is not payable until the student is earning over £21,000 per annum (soon to be £25,000 per annum); you do not pay it all all if you do not earn the base amount for 30 years; it is progressive, according to income. It is the best 'loan' one could ever take! When I left VI form, only 10% had grants for university or teacher training (yes, I was one of those, and they were means-tested). Now it is almost £50%. How could the country afford that? What is more, it is the kids who are going and getting jobs and working in relatively lowly-paid jobs who are subsidising the students. What is more, many of the 'degree' courses are of questionable value: 'Early Childhood Studies' with no exams, but coursework consisting of glorified scrapbooks; 'Sports journalism' where not a single graduate secured a job in journalism after graduating etc. etc. The kids and their parents are being conned that they will all get management and professional jobs. It is a nonsense to think that the market can accommodate this. Inevitably, many of them will remain in low-paid jobs (and not be repaying their loans for 3 years of extended dependency). Furthermore, the students are living in luxurious accommodation with double beds (!) free wifi, walk-in showers etc. and we are subsidising this. By the way, the buy-to-let landlords and big property companies are lining their pockets with all this money which passes through students' bank accounts and straight out as rent. By all means bring back grants or bursaries, but only for the genuine academic or vocational bent and let the rest get on with learning the ropes and earning some money of their own. Apprenticeships and sponsored learning are the way forward for most. Please let's get away from this middle-class entitlement culture. It's the hard-working working-class kids who are paying for it!

Silverlining47 Sat 17-Feb-18 11:14:35

Well said, NemosMum.

durhamjen Sat 17-Feb-18 11:16:12

Nobody makes anybody go to university. They go because they want to learn, not because they want to get out of going to work.
Lots of graduates earn less than the base amount; if they didn't they would all be paying off their loans straight away.
Working class kids go to university as well as middle class kids. That's why there are so many at university.
50% of kids are not middle class, are they?

Coco51 Sat 17-Feb-18 11:21:19

Definitely not. These poor souls start their lives owing more than most of us who bought our houses.

maddyone Sat 17-Feb-18 11:31:10

Lots on here I totally agree with, and on a few points I disagree. My husband and I were lucky enough to enter higher education and graduate when there were no fees, just living expenses; we both received grants and parental contributions to cover these.
Two of our children managed to scrape through without fees in the last year of free higher education, and one of our children had to pay £1000 a year (which we paid for her). They all attended reputable universities, and are now professionals. We paid their living expenses, but I’m fully aware that not all parents can afford to do this. In fact with the £9000 per year fees, I should think very few parents can afford to pay for these and living expenses, especially if more than one child is at university at a time.

Perhaps we should be looking at more quality in degrees. When my daughter was at medical school she was in lectures or in the hospital every day, five days a week, 9.00 till 5.00. She was living in a house one year with another student at the same university who had eight hours of teaching a week (doing geography), and therefore she had a lot of spare time. I guess this student should have been studying during this spare time, but apparently she rarely was, and in fact graduated after three years, just as my daughter graduated (after six years.)

My point is that some courses could very easily be shortened, and therefore would not be so expensive. I wonder why the universities don’t want to shorten these courses?!?

I believe that many senior staff in the universities have received way over inflation pay rises over the last few years, I wonder why?!?

Finally, it is blatantly unfair that English, Scottish, and Welsh students are treated so differently re student fees/grants. We are all members of the UK. How is it in any way fair that (at the moment) EU students can study for free in Scotland, but English students pay £9000 a year. How exactly is that allowed to happen? It’s nothing short of disgraceful.

Peardrop50 Sat 17-Feb-18 11:34:00

What silverlining and nemosmum said.
My ds1 and ds2 worked after sixth form in various field, saved up and went travelling, also working along the way. Both went to uni in their mid twenties and appreciated the reasons for being there. They both worked in garden centres, call centres, builders merchants, whatever they could get, at weekends and holidays. They did leave with some debt but with great appreciation for what they’d gained by their own effort and sacrifice.
Nothing worth having comes without hard work.
Ds2 went straight to work at 16. Went to nightschool and now has a trade, earning more than his big brothers and ds4 messed about at school, worked on all sorts of menial jobs until he found what suited him and worked his way up now to second in command of a large company.
University should be for academics, free for the poorest who qualify. Technical colleges for the manually gifted again free when necessary and apprenticeships should be valued again.

sarahellenwhitney Sat 17-Feb-18 11:48:03

jaymbee36. I too have a granddaughter in the U.S, having taking her masters now going for phd. She has student accommodation but during university holidays, and internships being necessary, has to find her own way.Being too far from her home state she works to cover her living expenses. Student fees will have to be met but there are rewards for those prepared to work hard and opportunities in the U.S, a country one GN comment refers to as 'primitive' , far exceed that of the U.K.

barbaralynne Sat 17-Feb-18 11:58:27

I have to disagree with the comment that no one makes anyone go to university. The schools are under pressure from Ofsted to get at least 50% of school leavers in to university and, if they fall short of this target, I have been told by a teacher that they could be given a lower rating at their next inspection. A neighbour's son was being pushed into applying to university even though he had been working Saturdays for a building society who had already offered him a full time job from the end of year.
I totally agree that universities need to cut back on their rubbish subjects that don't help our young people into worthwhile careers and concentrate on those that do and make them available for all right across society.

durhamjen Sat 17-Feb-18 12:02:10

But he still didn't have to go.

There must be an awful lot of failing schools, then, if they all have to get 50% of 18 year olds to university.