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Would You Do A Degree Now?

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Now the higher education system is just another frikkin' market how would you go about getting a degree?

Would you get one at all?

Would you get a mortgage to go somewhere semi-decent or get a cut-price 2 for 1 offer at the University of Bums-on-seats?

What subject is worth a mortgage-like debt round your neck?

If you had lower-middle class parents would they work the system to make themselves poorer to avoid you getting into debt slavery?

Will naff courses and naff institutions fade away or sell the higher ed. equivelents of a Primark tshirt?

Will the culture of degrees for jobs that really don't need degrees end?

Discuss.

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I have an engineering degree, started in the last year of tuition fee free education, no parental help and racked up £7K of debt in 4 years. Now working in related field and it was definitely worth it. The debt was a moderate cost for where I am today.

But there is no way on earth I'd contemplate paying the current £3K fees let alone unlimited fees, I'd find something else to do.

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I have an engineering degree, started in the last year of tuition fee free education, no parental help and racked up £7K of debt in 4 years. Now working in related field and it was definitely worth it. The debt was a moderate cost for where I am today.

But there is no way on earth I'd contemplate paying the current £3K fees let alone unlimited fees, I'd find something else to do.

Yes. I would 100% definitely no go to Uni in today's regime - especially not to do a humanities degrees at a middle of the road Uni. They keep twittering on that graduates earn loads more but I don't see that at all. Only one in 40 grads now lands a 'milkround' style opening, most of the rest simply start where they would have with A Levels alone. Now, some may earn more because they are, on average, a bit more intelligent than those who didn't go to Uni but that's nothing to do with studying Anthropology at Luton for three years.

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This is all part of the plan. On HPC we have many boomer types who think they have younger people over a barrel as they have no choices.

The thing is the current generation myself included have many choices. We can emigrate easily even go to flip flop countries and teach for a bit to bunker out the bad economic things in the UK. This is because they have degrees and qualifications. I know plenty of media studies type grads out in Asia 'teaching'

However if you prevent people from going to university because other countries are putting up barriers to entry fewer people can leave and escape the indenture of the UK rentier capitalist society. Therefore by raising the graduate bar so high only a select few can escape to places where the problems fit them better than they do here.

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Now the higher education system is just another frikkin' market how would you go about getting a degree?

Would you get one at all?

Would you get a mortgage to go somewhere semi-decent or get a cut-price 2 for 1 offer at the University of Bums-on-seats?

What subject is worth a mortgage-like debt round your neck?

If you had lower-middle class parents would they work the system to make themselves poorer to avoid you getting into debt slavery?

Will naff courses and naff institutions fade away or sell the higher ed. equivelents of a Primark tshirt?

Will the culture of degrees for jobs that really don't need degrees end?

Discuss.

Is tuition all still free in Scotland?

Macs 'n midges

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I would work for a bit temping and then figure out what I really wanted to do and pursue that.

The idea of deciding at 16 what career path you want to follow is utterly ludicrous. At least when I did it it was mostly on others' money.

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In hindsight I'd describe my three years at university as a total waste of time (and this was before the current explosion in graduates).

Without the benefit of hindsight would probably find it very difficult to step off the education conveyor belt if I was 16/18 today and I think so would a lot of people who claim they wouldn't go if they were 18 now.

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In hindsight I'd describe my three years at university as a total waste of time (and this was before the current explosion in graduates).

Without the benefit of hindsight would probably find it very difficult to step off the education conveyor belt if I was 16/18 today and I think so would a lot of people who claim they wouldn't go if they were 18 now.

I think now many young people are aware, through older siblings and seeing graduates in McJobs, that for many a degree is worthless. I expect in 'chain retail' you see graduates in all sorts of crap roles, and some of them aren't even your typical 2:2 in Peace Studies but pretty bright with solid degrees. However, many still seem to have swallowed a load of nonsense that it will set them up for life and that they'll earn £500k more over a lifetime or whatever meaningless stat is being quoted now.

I once had a work experience girl of 20 working with me and it was sad that she really did seem to think that 'with her degree' she'd simply need to apply to a few companies that took her fancy and she'd have her pick. Worse, she was really phone-shy and, of course, like anyone reasonably bright that's passed through state education over the last 20 years, semi-literate. I couldn't see her in the media role she coveted even with a lucky break.

Some students don't seem to realise that the job market isn't like school - you might have made the grade academically but there's nothing for you. She reminded me of myself - I was so mis-sold Uni that I was really depressed to be McTemping for month on end after hundreds of fruitless applications, stuck working with fickos. I thought the three years of study was so I didn't have to do that.

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Now the higher education system is just another frikkin' market how would you go about getting a degree?

Would you get one at all?

Would you get a mortgage to go somewhere semi-decent or get a cut-price 2 for 1 offer at the University of Bums-on-seats?

What subject is worth a mortgage-like debt round your neck?

If you had lower-middle class parents would they work the system to make themselves poorer to avoid you getting into debt slavery?

Will naff courses and naff institutions fade away or sell the higher ed. equivelents of a Primark tshirt?

Will the culture of degrees for jobs that really don't need degrees end?

Discuss.

I'd certainly do the degrees I did (two of them) but I wouldn't just do any degree for the sake of having one. When it comes to earning more money afterwards than you would have done otherwise all degree and all institutions are far from equal.

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In hindsight I'd describe my three years at university as a total waste of time (and this was before the current explosion in graduates).

Without the benefit of hindsight would probably find it very difficult to step off the education conveyor belt if I was 16/18 today and I think so would a lot of people who claim they wouldn't go if they were 18 now.

I come from a poor as a church mouse background and the exponential increase in debt certainly would have put me off and no doubt I would have been pointed in the direction of a technical trainee role instead or maybe even the military due to family connections. Had I done either in 1997 instead of university, I doubt I would be any worse off now and probably own my own home. As it is, even with a free education it took a while to get a proper job and 6 years is a long time to have to catch up. Que sera.

I am astonished that levels of university attendance have remained so consistent over these last few years.

.

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I really, honestly, can't say, though on reflection I think I'd do the degree.

The 18-year-old me took it for granted I would do a degree. And that I would live within my very limited means, no matter that the VIs of the age said that was impossible. That degree was to be from Cambridge if I was able to get in, somewhere else if not (I can't say for certain where - I was never faced with having to make the choice of other places from my offers). A summer job helped with the live-within-my-means bit. Today's 18-year-olds face a more challenging regime where living within ones means is no longer an expectation - though it may still be feasible with the right good fortune: parental income the right side of means-testing, and working.

The real unknown is, what would be my attitude as an 18-year-old today. We are shaped by the world in which we grow up, and debt has become much more of a norm. I don't think any of us can really say for certain what we'd have done in such hypothetical circumstances. In my twenties I desperately wanted to take on that socially-acceptable debt the mortgage, and was so frustrated by HPI holding it out of reach that I ended up fleeing the country.

I daresay I would view the student debt with less horror and - here's a key to that - by keeping debt to a small fraction of the £25k-figures now pedlled by the VIs, I'd consider I was doing well. I've estimated elsewhere that on a like-for-like basis with boomer-era grants[1] that £25k becomes £10k. Two months working each summer takes a big chunk out of that, and frugal living further reduces it - all perfectly realistic if you're frugal by nature having been brought up in limited circumstances. When the meeja are reporting £25k debt as a norm, emerging with £5k debt becomes a smug feeling of beating the system.

Much higher fees raise a more difficult questionmark. A rise from £3.3k to £6k per year adds £8k to both the £25k and the £5k figures, making the ratio look less of a win. But wait! The meeja are raising the stakes further. When we start hearing figures like £40k bandied around, we know there's going to be ample scope for beating it. Three years course on "one year's debt" might be a new target.

I'm thinking there's a big key difference here. I spurned various income sources - a degree sponsored by industry, or an examination-based scholarship. Neither was available to me doing maths at Cambridge, but they were elsewhere. In today's environment I might very well have found one or both of these funding sources irresistible and based a choice of university and course on availability of such funds.

[1] My grant was Thatcher-era - on the way down from boomer-era but still a good thing to have.

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People with degrees may become rarer, and thus be in higher demand when they qualify.

That said, I am grateful that I not only paid no tuition fees when I was at Uni, I even got a grant.

Despite the rise in the number of students taking degrees since I did, it is a lot tougher to do so and i take my hat off to them.

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No, I wouldn't. I think it's SCANDALOUS - the ones setting these policies got their free education! I'm from a poor background but boy did it motivate me to do something useful (engineering) and get a good grade out of it. I think this really is the pits now, the situation is awful.

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If I was 17 now I'd join the army. I may go to university on an officer training scheme (I don't know how that works) but I'd choose some branch of the forces where I could learn practical technical skills that could be applied in civilian life afterwards. When I look back on it I would have been quite amenable to this suggestion in the early 1990s instead of spending three undemanding years at a well-respected university.

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I would do a degree, but not at 18.

People do a lot better when they got to uni as a "mature student", they have some life experience and they know what they want to do.

They genuinely want to learn rather than just leave home and party and have possibly saved some money to help in their studies.

I went to uni at 29, on leaving went straight into a 30K + job and 6 years latter earn 100K+

As far as I know none of the young students on my course are working in their chosen industry

I was a window cleaner for almost 10 years before...

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I would do a degree, but not at 18.

People do a lot better when they got to uni as a "mature student", they have some life experience and they know what they want to do.

They genuinely want to learn rather than just leave home and party and have possibly saved some money to help in their studies.

I went to uni at 29, on leaving went straight into a 30K + job and 6 years latter earn 100K+

As far as I know none of the young students on my course are working in their chosen industry

I was a window cleaner for almost 10 years before...

Cool - Getaway driver graduating to Brinks 'project' manager? :P

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I would do a degree, but not at 18.

A good choice. But one many 18-year-olds are not equipped to make.

The best thing we can do for our youngsters now is to make it clear to them that a degree isn't a now-or-never choice, and that there's nothing second-class about postponing it and later becoming a mature student.

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I would do a degree, but not at 18.

People do a lot better when they got to uni as a "mature student", they have some life experience and they know what they want to do.

They genuinely want to learn rather than just leave home and party and have possibly saved some money to help in their studies.

I went to uni at 29, on leaving went straight into a 30K + job and 6 years latter earn 100K+

As far as I know none of the young students on my course are working in their chosen industry

I was a window cleaner for almost 10 years before...

Woah , nice one! What job role is that!? I'm 3 years in engineering and just under the 30k mark

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Woah , nice one! What job role is that!? I'm 3 years in engineering and just under the 30k mark

I work in design, i actually run my own business now.

The UK is currently a world leader in the digital and design industry really should be more shouting about it...

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I'd say my time a University was a waste as well, but coming from a small Yorkshire mining town in the late 80's, what the hell else was I going to do? And what I can put no price too, is that it got me away from the small minded mentality of the area.

If I was I the same situation today, same place. It'd be the same decision, take the degree and take the debt, irrespective of cost.

Ultimately it's a crap shoot. Get a decent job, pay back the debt. Fail to get a job, and so what, how are you in a worse position. 3 years on someone elses dollar, no work and it gets written off. It's not like there was ever an option to get a job simply falling out of secondary education.

I can see the military as a valid option, take 3 years; hope not to get blown up in Helmand and walk out with a saleable skill set. Just a slightly different gamble

All of this talk assumes there is another option for kids at 17/18, for most there isn't.

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Not sure about the mature student thing. Being honest there's a bit of prejudice by employers against mature graduates.

The OU is another tricky one as it certainly used to be the case that employers were, effectively, offered financial bribes by the government to take on people with OU degrees.

One myth peddled that employers value gap years is certainly not the case.

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I think now many young people are aware, through older siblings and seeing graduates in McJobs, that for many a degree is worthless. I expect in 'chain retail' you see graduates in all sorts of crap roles, and some of them aren't even your typical 2:2 in Peace Studies but pretty bright with solid degrees. However, many still seem to have swallowed a load of nonsense that it will set them up for life and that they'll earn £500k more over a lifetime or whatever meaningless stat is being quoted now.

I once had a work experience girl of 20 working with me and it was sad that she really did seem to think that 'with her degree' she'd simply need to apply to a few companies that took her fancy and she'd have her pick. Worse, she was really phone-shy and, of course, like anyone reasonably bright that's passed through state education over the last 20 years, semi-literate. I couldn't see her in the media role she coveted even with a lucky break.

Some students don't seem to realise that the job market isn't like school - you might have made the grade academically but there's nothing for you. She reminded me of myself - I was so mis-sold Uni that I was really depressed to be McTemping for month on end after hundreds of fruitless applications, stuck working with fickos. I thought the three years of study was so I didn't have to do that.

I was lucky enough to gain my degree before tuition fees were introduced, but there is no way I would want to pay 3k+ a year for some mickey mouse degree.

I think that going to Uni has been mis-sold over the last decade. The result is a market full of graduates with useless degrees who find that the jobs simply aren't there.

There is a good case for reducing the number of graduates, and only encouraging worthwhile subjects that will benefit the economy.

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  • 149 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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