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Let Universities Raise Fees To £5,000, Says Access Watchdog

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/m...a-martin-harris

Universities should be allowed to raise fees to £5,000 a year because the Labour government's introduction of top-up fees has not deterred poorer students from going to university, according to the man responsible for ensuring fair access to higher education.

Sir Martin Harris, director of the Office for Fair Access (Offa), will tell a government review of student finance that universities should be allowed to raise their annual charges above the current £3,140 cap as long as they provide adequate bursaries to low-income applicants.

Harris said: "Let me declare my position. If I were giving evidence today to this review I would say there is an argument to allow universities to raise the cap, perhaps to £5,000, but that this would have to be on condition that the full cost of bursary support was met by those universities out of their new revenue.

"I don't think there's a faintest chance of it [the fee] going beyond £7,000 in a recession. I would have thought £5,000 is more likely than £7,000."

The National Union of Students (NUS) tonightissued a statement of no confidence in Harris's leadership of Offa, saying his comments pre-empted the review and sought to safeguard the interests of elite universities instead of students.

Harris, a former vice-chancellor of Manchester University, now president of Clare Hall, Cambridge, was appointed director of Offa in 2004 at the height of the backbench rebellion against the introduction of top-up fees.

The government won a Commons battle over the legislation by just five votes after promising to set up Offa and to conduct a thorough review of the impact of fees this year, when the first generation of top-up fee students are due to graduate. That review will consider whether to lift the cap on fees and is due to begin before the end of the year. Harris's evidence will be among the most influential in the government's decision over an increase in fees.

Harris said that despite the introduction of £3,000 top-up fees in 2006 – which have since risen with inflation to £3,140 – applications from students from working-class homes had increased. "Genuinely I believe no student has been deterred on financial grounds. The issues are much deeper in society. I think it has been a success and I can't envisage what the sector would be like if it had relied on taxpayer money, which it wouldn't have got," he said.

Excellent lets create even more debt drag on the economy.

I mean what can possible go wrong.

Once greed kicks in I can easily see fees going above £7000 a year.

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It's a great way of state control.

Divide the populace into:

i) a benefits-dependent underclass who have no choice but to support the status quo

ii) a highly-taxed working class who will keep feeding the public coffers because they have no choice but to keep working due to their high level of debt built up from an early age

Then the government goes after anybody who strays out of those two highly-controlled groups.

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Universities should be allowed to raise fees to £5,000 a year because the Labour government's introduction of top-up fees has not deterred poorer students from going to university,...

... and higher fees will deter poorer students?

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Cuts were made in the budget on top of the efficiency savings that had been demanded and were met at the research councils. The resource unit funding (ie. payment from government to university per student) has been falling since 2000.

This has been inevitable for a while now.

It isn't greed, its costs. There will be more cuts next year and the year after, and the year after that and so on, fees will rise in a commensurate way until the sector is 'revenue neutral' (it already is I should say, but it depends how you do the sums) and basically not-for-profit private. This is what everyone wants after all and we'll survive, there are millions of Chinese students with the wish to use our system and the money to pay. Celebrate, the state is dying. Hospitals next.

Look on the bright side though, the pensions are in fact funded and last I heard the money was being moved out of the country.

Edited by Cogs

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Poor sods.

This is like a job tax when even the most basic admin jobs have queues of tertiary educated applicants due the mismatch between opportunities and the sheer number of youngsters squeezed through the system./.

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What's a "low-income applicant"? There can't be many 18-year-olds earning £5k/year whilst also in full-time education, so presumably the vast majority of students are low-income, if you approach it honestly.

Once upon a time there were scholarships based on merit for able students without money. But I guess merit has become a dirty word amongst our rulers :angry:

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For government determined to get British people into university they have a funny way of doing it. I don't know how students can afford to go to university let alone justify it. Unless you are going to pursue a work based qualification with good job prospects I honestly think its a waste of time.

I earn more than most graduates and I'm a heating engineer, what does that tell you about the prospects of studying for 6 years.

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Blair kicked it off at a grand a year.......now about 3 grand, more or less in line with house price inflation, and now it's a handicap not to have a degree rather than a benefit to have one.

Come on nulabor......squeeze the mug rump until their bone marrow leaks.

You have better things to do like collecting houses.

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I earn more than most graduates and I'm a heating engineer, what does that tell you about the prospects of studying for 6 years.

The majority of students do not go to university to study.

We should have a system where regardless of income the best 10-25% of students get all fees and basic living expenses covered so long as they apply for a useful subject. Outside of that universities should be free to charge what they want to the rich who may want to waste their money or to the poor who may want to get indebted. Those who pay will subsidise those who have the merit.

Outside of this system apprenticeships ought to be subsidised.

The rest can go flip burgers.

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why the f*** do we have an education tsar setting soviet style price controls on our degrees anyway?

The degrees are worthless, what does it matter how much they cost?

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The degrees are worthless, what does it matter how much they cost?

Really? You are saying that, for example, a medical degree from Cambridge is worthless?

What a strange world you live in.

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Most degrees are worthless in the UK.

We do have strong science, medical, and technology based studies here, but the legions of social studies, finance and business degrees are as useful as bog roll.

But even on that last statement, there has generally been a decline is the level of competence due to diminishing standards.

Morally bankrupt Britain.

The real sad part is that even if the government was to re-kindle the trades apprenticeships in a big way, there is no work for the people taking part in them.

Sh1t sandwich.

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Really? You are saying that, for example, a medical degree from Cambridge is worthless?

What a strange world you live in.

Its called the real world. You should try it.

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What's a "low-income applicant"? There can't be many 18-year-olds earning £5k/year whilst also in full-time education, so presumably the vast majority of students are low-income, if you approach it honestly.

Once upon a time there were scholarships based on merit for able students without money. But I guess merit has become a dirty word amongst our rulers :angry:

It is based on the parents income

If parents work and have an average job, the student gets hit for full fees and loses all grants and bursaries etc

They then leave with 20-30k of debt

If parents are on benefits or 'poor' student gets fees paid plus grants and bursaries

I have 3 kids all going to University in the next 4 years

That is why I am officially 'poor'

If I had even an average job, either I would have to find 60-90K from taxed income or they would end up with 60-100k of debt between them

Welcome to Nu Labours Socialist paradise.

:angry:

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The degrees are worthless, what does it matter how much they cost?

something is worth as much as someone will pay for it.

Its called the real world. You should try it.

so what do you think a typical Cambridge Med Grad would earn say 10 years after graduation compared with the national average salary?

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something is worth as much as someone will pay for it.

so what do you think a typical Cambridge Med Grad would earn say 10 years after graduation compared with the national average salary?

So 1% of degrees are worth something. Is this your argument? Following your logic, people should pay 100% of the costs for their degrees as they obviously worth every penny in future income.

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So 1% of degrees are worth something. Is this your argument? Following your logic, people should pay 100% of the costs for their degrees as they obviously worth every penny in future income.

If people were paying 100% of the costs they probably would be. This is what we need to move to really, everyone pays the non-EU rate. The state simply can't afford fripperies like higher education, they have to basically say it isn't a business they are in any more. Free schools for children are pretty much the limit and think even there significant cuts will need to be made. The first thing they should do is get the leaving age down to 16 and lower if possible.

I don't think you see magnitude of the problem really if fees of 5k are cause for complaint.

We need to go balls to the wall just to keep the lights on, clean water coming out taps and limited law and order.

Anything else is just fantasy.

Edited by Cogs

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If people were paying 100% of the costs they probably would be. This is what we need to move to really, everyone pays the non-EU rate. The state simply can't afford fripperies like higher education, they have to basically say it isn't a business they are in any more. Free schools for children are pretty much the limit and think even there significant cuts will need to be made. The first thing they should do is get the leaving age down to 16 and lower if possible.

I don't think you see magnitude of the problem really if fees of 5k are cause for complaint.

We need to go balls to the wall just to keep the lights on, clean water coming out taps and limited law and order.

Anything else is just fantasy.

Have you got a degree?

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Yes. Why do you ask?

Because I suspected that you had.

Do you not think that other people should be offered the same opportunity that you were given?

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