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University Fees


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#1 Latecomer

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 03:12 PM

View PostHonoured Guest, on 06 September 2012 - 08:39 AM, said:

This isn't really the place, but I'd be interested (and probably amused) to know the justification for your assertion that the student tuition fees "scheme" just doesn't "work in real life".

Ok, you've got me started.... my daughter will be borrowing £50,000 for a four year course (tuition fee, 9000 + living loan,5000 + interest ...charged at [inflation + 3 %] from the day she starts) . There is little chance she will pay this back (have fun playing with the tuition fee calculator on the BBC website here http://www.bbc.co.uk...so.....it's basically a graduate tax. It will be written off when she is 50. At that point what happens to all the debt that is not paid off? Let's hope she doesn't end up like me, an undervalued member of the public services as if you put in my profession I would pay off 15,000  over my whole career until I was 50 and they would write off £56,000.......for just one person, and that's not including any career breaks for children etc!

It is supposed to be a creating a market for higher eductation to drive down prices but, if you would never even end up paying off a £6000 course why would you choose that over a £9000 course at a more reputable university? The repayments are exactly the same- 9% of anything over £21000....and as you only repay when you earn over £21,000, less is being paid than the current uni leaver (someone in government changed this threshold.during the debate without realising the rather huge impact, I sometimes think they are not very good at maths)

My personal experience.....the only people this has put off going to University is the those with lower class parents - the children cannot work out how much money they will get as every University has a different access scheme and they are horrified by all this talk of debt. Also they won't ask their parents how much they earn. They refuse to go onto the website to see how much they would get as it looks official and school teachers talk in vague terms but are too sensitive to drag the parents in and ask them how much they earn!

So if we ignore all the moral dilemmas....the maths simply does not work! The country will be left with a huge amount of debt....as they would say on Dad's Army "we are doomed"
God save us from politicians who can't do sums.

#2 Honoured Guest

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 04:04 PM

The debt written off at age 50 is effectively deferred government expenditure. When we were students, tuition costs were entirely current government expenditure and that was deemed unaffordable. So, the scheme "works" by reducing the national debt by the equivalent of over thirty years' fees in real terms.

I agree that it's effectively an income tax, from the graduates' point of view, but the governernment couldn't make it strictly so because that would have required them to continue to pay the costs from current expenditure.

Assuming you mean lower income parents when you say "lower class parents", I didn't know about these complexities of what I guess are assessed grants or bursaries. I know several family members who I don't think would qualify for such grants and bursaries but who are nevertheless deterred from university because they perceive their fees as leading to debt, rather than a graduate income tax.

The market theory was an ideological nonsense in principle and hasn't worked in practice for your reason, and because most universities' fees have converged at the maximum permitted.

#3 Lynette

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 04:22 PM

The unintended consequences from this so called education policy are so many that the mind boggles.

#4 KevinUK

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 11:29 PM

University for all is a labour idea, not a Tory one - though they wouldn't come outright and say it.

The way i see it is that ultimately, there aren't enough top graduate jobs to go around, so they've decided to inadvertedly encourage people not to pursue higher education in the hope the next generation are happy to do the jobs people who go to university aren't happy to take. Meaning people get into work 3 to 4 years earlier, and the government gets taxes earlier than they might have done otherwise. Yet, those that can afford to go to university and remain debt free go to university, and social class then becomes a continued issue.

Education should be free for all, and for as long as someone wants to learn. Paying to learn is just wrong full stop in my opinion!

And this £10 scheme sounds like a Tory promise - good on paper, flashy and popular, but no substance.
If I stay awake, it must be good.

#5 Titan

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 06:11 AM

Sorry, and I hate to go off topic but whilst some very valid points have been made about the Uni tuition fees, to say not many people have been put off is incorrect. I work in the industry and many (if not most) unis have struggled this year including some red brick universities who usually wouldn't have a problem and have done some unexpected things to meet their numbers (eg contacting previously rejected applicants)

There has been huge misreporting about it, as you say repayments are lower and there seems to be an impression that universities can charge what they like. Conveniently forgetting that courses have always cost this much, it's just before the government paid for large chuck of it so no one really was aware of it.

And yes the "everyone can go to university" was a labour idea. Nice in principle but I've seen so many people that basically should not go to university, it's not for them. Either academically they can't handle it, the change from college to uni is huge and thy arnt used to not being hand held, they arnt strong enough to be away from home, or (and this is very common problem these days) parents do so much for their kids that they are unable to do the most basic things (eg call up regarding their issues) so that when mummy and daddy have left them, they are at a loss.

#6 Lynette

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 07:38 AM

'industry'?
hmmmm

#7 Titan

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 08:02 AM

Yeah I know, at 6am my mind couldnt think of the right word!

#8 igb

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 08:22 AM

View PostTitan, on 08 September 2012 - 06:11 AM, said:

Sorry, and I hate to go off topic but whilst some very valid points have been made about the Uni tuition fees, to say not many people have been put off is incorrect. I work in the industry and many (if not most) unis have struggled this year including some red brick universities who usually wouldn't have a problem and have done some unexpected things to meet their numbers (eg contacting previously rejected applicants)

Yes, but the issue won't be clear until next year.  

In 2011, anyone who might have considered standing pat on their A Levels and re-applying in 2012, or taking a gap year, or (as a mature student) had been vaguely considering applying to university but hadn't quite got around to it, would all have piled in to "beat the fees".  As it happens, Latecomer's analysis of the impact of the raised repayment threshold is accurate, and it's not entirely obvious that someone taking full loans was in fact better off under the old scheme in anything other than the very long term, but the perception was "buy now before prices rise", and there were metaphorical queues for UCAS forms in the way there are literal queues at petrol stations on budget day.

So the 2012 university cohort is missing a large number of people from the 2009 GCSE cohort who would normally be there, plus some mature students, because they formed part of the 2011 university cohort.  You can try to model this, but there isn't a lot of statistical history to work on.  I believe I'm right in saying that applications people seeking admission in 2012 at age 18 were about where they would always have been, but there's a whole load of other applications missing from 19 years olds and older.

There's also the elephant in the room that 1993 was a peak in the UK birthrate and it's downhill from there to 2005.  That's why primary schools are suddenly such a major issue: they were closing in large numbers because of a shortage of numbers, and it's now only just starting to come up.  So even in the natural course of things, if you keep take-up roughly constant home undergraduate numbers would be dropping by 15% between about now and about 2023 before hopefully rising slightly. And amongst the traditional recruiting grounds of selective universities that rise in the birth rate is simply not happening.

The places that are going to have problems are those that don't have a substantial local catchment, but which also can't demand AAB (this year) or ABB (next year), but which want to charge £9000.  As an example of a university which didn't go into clearing this year and still filled all their places, Birmingham have a significant number of students living at home and is also able to demand AAB pretty much across the board.  It can therefore, if it wishes, take advantage of the government's scheme that courses with those achieved admission requirements can expand.  Somewhere that has a higher rate of students living away from home and which can't demand those sorts of grades, but which also wants to charge £9000, for example Southampton, is in a very difficult position.

It's also worth comparing Universities today with the last time there was a sudden drop in the birth rate. Have a play with population pyramids here but the opening screen tells you what you need to know:  there was a fertility boom in the mid-1980s, but 1990--2000 the birthrate plummeted, such that there will be about 120000 fewer 18 year olds in 2018 than there are today (15%).  

Likewise, 1964 was a peak year and over the following ten years there was a 20% drop in the number of eighteen year olds.  There were  a lot of places to fill, as the Robbins Report had kick-started the building of the "concrete and glass" universities, before the falling birthrate had been observed. But university take-up was overall low when that process started, less than 10% in 1980.  And it was vastly gender imbalanced, more than 65% male.   But a variety of factors (ROSLA, abolition of the 11+, feminism) meant that although from 1983 onwards, the numbers of 18 years old fell year on year, there were more people doing A Levels, especially women, and the universities not only kept their admissions at previous levels, they continued to expand.  To cite Birmingham again: there were about 2000 undergraduates in the mid 1950s when my parents were there, about 7000 when I was a student in the mid 1980s, and about 16500 now that I'm back having a mid-life crisis doing a PhD.

But today, there isn't an obvious pool of people not currently going to university who could easily be encouraged to do so over the next five years. The under-represented groups are under-represented for reasons that will be difficult to fix in less than a school cycle (ie, you might manage it for current five year olds), and those under-represented groups are where the drop in the birthrate has stopped and reversed.  The rise in birthrate from 2000 onwards is precisely amongst under-represented groups, and there's good reason to believe that amongst the groups that do send their children to university as a matter of course, the precipitous drop from 1987 to 2001 is continuing.   My impression is that the universities understand this, but know there's not a lot they can do about it.  We might see a rise in the number of foundation year courses, and some universities might look to cross-subsidise those, but it's not obvious that you can fix in a year problems that might beset people who otherwise wouldn't go to university: if it were that easy, schools could solve the problems for themselves during compulsory education.


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There has been huge misreporting about it, as you say repayments are lower and there seems to be an impression that universities can charge what they like. Conveniently forgetting that courses have always cost this much, it's just before the government paid for large chuck of it so no one really was aware of it.

I'm a bit cross with some of the opponents of the new scheme.  Even at my daughters' school (100% into HE, pretty much, as it's a massively academic school with largely pushy parents) there are a couple of kids now saying that they can't afford to go to university because they "can't pay" the fees.  Upon delicate probing, it turns out they believe their parents need to write a cheque for nine grand of fees each year on top of maintenance.   It's irresponsible, I think, of supporters of wider access to university to give this impression to people who might not have access to the same quality of advice as traditional attenders, or indeed to their parents.  Luckily, it doesn't seem to have had any impact: the one group who are not down in applications this year are 18 year old home students.

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And yes the "everyone can go to university" was a labour idea.

Well, up to a point.  The original idea was that 50% (or whatever) should have a post-18 educational experience, which included universities, OU, apprenticeships, block- and day-release, the whole gamut.  It got translated into "university" at some point and the consequences have not been brilliant.

#9 Latecomer

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 08:48 AM

The real "social engineering" has come from the new Government diktat that Universities can have as many AAB students as they like....
! see Bristol has 600 more students this year because of this...that equates to  £5.4m for each of the next 3 years extra revenue

And some of the middle ranking Unis are suffering already....Brunel down 200 (£1.8m a year), Hull down 500 (£4.5m a year) So essentially the Government is skewing the market in favour of the elite institutions so that they thrive and others don't. Hmmmmm. Have they actually forgotten that these Universities employ vast numbers of staff? Oxford Brookes for example is the 8th largest employer in Oxfordshire.

http://www.independe...es-8082172.html

And what exactly does it aim to do when places go bust? Political tampering without a full analysis of the risks and repercussions.

#10 Lynette

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 02:37 PM

Igb, v interesting , thanks and good luck with the Phd.

I'm not sure about the money though. The £ 9,000 has to come from somewhere. Parents I know told their kids to postpone the gap year ( or forget all about it) and get into uni straightaway to avoid the higher fees. They certainly would have had to pay up otherwise or allow their children accrue an enormous debt by borrowing the money.

Of course someone looking back at the end of an illustrious career as say, a private surgeon, might consider the dosh well spent and so might his/her (probably dead by then ) parents, but looking forward, as we usually do, the money or lack of it is significant.








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