Rising university fees: the debate

For thousands of young people across the country, going to university is likely to mean years of subsequent debt. A-level student Grace Marshall questions whether this really matters.

The decision to set university tuition fees at up to £9000-a-year has caused great controversy and some believe rightly so!  Many believe that whilst increasing university fees, the government is also increasing the gap between rich and poor. The argument is that whilst the privileged few may have their fees paid by their parents, the vast majority of students will sink into massive debt in order to benefit from higher education. Is this fair? Many believe the answer is no.

There are however, always counter arguments to those who oppose the fees. Some within the country believe it’s an individual’s responsibility to pay university fees and not the duty of the taxpayer. The idea is this: if I decide to go to a low-ranking university and study a PHD in Storytelling, and at the end of my studies, struggle to get a job because my degree is not valued by employers, then what benefit have I been to the taxpayer? At the very least, perhaps university fees are a good way of forcing students to choose degrees which are likely to lead to employment.

On the other hand, there are a number of courses which have clear wider benefits to society, such as a degree in medicine, yet higher fees could also push away potential applicants. If promising students who could save lives or generate massive revenue are being deterred from attending university then surely rising fees should be out of the question?

 Given the current economic climate, rising university fees can be seen as a way of reducing the strain on the public purse. This is a good point but not one that I’m utterly convinced by; I believe that helping to equip tomorrow’s future talent with the best skills possible is a better way of stimulating the economy than spending more money on short term fixes.

 So, whatever your view, I hope you can at least make a well informed decision as to whether you think rising university fees are a good or bad idea.

Further information

Find out more about the cost of university: Affording university: what do fees mean for you?