Tories plan further fee hikes for uni students
The below article by Coventry Socialist Students member Aidan O’Toole was carried in this weeks issue of The Socialist newspaper. The Tories have planned further attacks on students – students need to organise to fight back.
The Tories want universities that meet their backbreaking ‘teaching excellence framework’ targets to be allowed to increase the cost of their courses with inflation. Universities including Manchester have already announced their fees will rise to £9,250 in 2017, before parliament has even considered the measure.
The future is looking bleak for young people. Houses are unaffordable, jobs are low-paid and insecure, and education is becoming more and more elitist.
Universities received £9 billion in tuition fees last year, the highest amount ever. The government has cut central funding to £3 billion.
Rising tuition fees, along with the end of student grants, are increasingly pushing working class people out of higher education. Working class and some middle class students have to decide if a life of debt is worth a degree, which isn’t a guarantee of employment. And that’s only if they can afford to rent accommodation and feed themselves during the course.
It is no surprise that Jeremy Corbyn’s call last year to scrap tuition fees resonates with so many young people. Anger is clear among students who feel like they are putting themselves in a lot of debt for not much gain. The 2016 Student Academic Experience Survey found that two thirds of students felt their degree didn’t give value for money.
The Socialist Party says education is a right and should be free for all. It should not just be a privilege for the super-rich who can afford extortionate fees and high living costs, relying of the bank of mum and dad. We fight for an end to fees, cuts and closures in higher education, for a living grant for all students, and for the return of EMA student payments in further education.