Another article on student finance. Nothing new, granted. But before you skip onto something else hold up because this could matter to you. If you’re currently a university student or planning on becoming one in the foreseeable future, this could matter a lot.
In the next couple of weeks, the Government will be launching a ‘major review’ of university tuition fees, in a move that could see them scrapped completely. The review was announced by Theresa May back in September at the Party Conference, following increasing pressure to address this controversial area of policy after her disastrous election. The fact Labour won the young vote is indisputable; university fees have become the subject of fierce party-political debate. If Theresa May and indeed the Conservative Party want to win young voters to their side next time round, then the tuition fees taboo is a bullet that can no longer be dodged.
In the meantime, the Conservatives have frozen tuition fees at £9,250 a year and increased the amount graduates must earn before they have to start repaying the loan, but that’s simply not good enough should they want to gain the support of Britain’s student population.
So what are the Government’s options? In reality, student fees can only be cut or scrapped altogether, something the Tories are under great pressure to consider. Rumour has it that students could see fees lowered to £7,000 a year. Is this really good enough?
A change in tax is a real possibility. Ultimately, university education will never be completely free and someone must pick up the cost. Surely, graduate tax is a serious possibility Theresa May must consider? The Government must also look at interest rates (currently at 6.1%) and the reintroduction of maintenance grants. These grants were a lifeline for many young people, making attending university feasible when it was otherwise impossible. A more controversial topic is variable fees; the notion that those who take courses where they are less likely to earn as much in their future career pay a lesser fee. Who’s qualified to make that judgement?
Are you a university student? If so, what do you think the answer is to the tuition fee dilemma? Should the Government cut fees or has the time come for them to be scrapped altogether? Let us know what you think Theresa May should do by getting in touch with us on Instagram (@unilovers.co.uk) or the comments section below!