Higher Fees: The Real Problem

Here is the first article we received from Josh Taylor – our new contributor.

As a student of Economics and a political neutral, the recession has been particularly interesting, with the revelations of how much debt we as a country are in. This is not just governmental overspending revenue incomes, but the public and the culture of buying now paying later on credit. For proof you only have to watch TV for an hour or so and you’ll be amazed at how many advertisements (ok not BBC) there are for quick-money, consolidating your debt etc. The conservatives and now the newly-informed liberal-democrats are for reducing the debt of the nation, by limiting the size of governmental spending i.e. “The Cuts”, I don’t intend to get into any sort of political debate as to whether we need to cut or not, but the nation’s majority have decided democratically that this is the way that we are going to get out of this “crisis”.

But, I can’t but help see the contradiction in raising university fees at this moment in time.
 Here it’s not so much a cut but an increase in revenue, which hypothecates the budget reduction. With the clear aim of reducing debt, what the coalition here is effectively doing is lowering governmental debt in the short-term, 5 years let’s say, in exchange for a higher student debt. This is completely counterproductive, and I do realise that there is no debt till graduation or drop-out, but this then has to be paid back which reduces the spending power of those graduates who will be lucky enough to have walked into a job straight after their graduation. This coupled with the aim of 50% of school leavers moving into higher education as well as international intellectuals, equates to a more competitive job market giving lower wages and increased uncertainties over employment, means that we are highly likely to have an even more indebted student population. This in fact, will make our nation’s debt and future less sustainable.

Students can feel more aggrieved depending on what subject they study, those on engineering, chemistry, physics, medicine are actually getting a cut-price deal for their education, which is actually compensated by degrees which cost their respective universities a lot less such as geography, mathematics, languages, politics, media studies, music, history etc. So broadly speaking on the whole students are proportionally paying more than what they are actually receiving from their education anyway. Therefore this increase in fees, like any other increase to those yet to enter the professional job ladder, is most unwelcome.

About the author: Josh Taylor is a first year undergraduate at the University of Manchester studying Economics and Economic & Social History (BAEcon). In the past, he has blogged on the economics of football, faith and religion, music, law amongst others.

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