UK students: 'We’re being priced out of education'

 
Thousands of students from across Britain marched through the streets of London Wednesday to protest the government’s overhaul of the higher education system.
 
Still angry over stark fee hikes, which sparked violent protests last year, students are now up in arms against a new government proposition that would open up the higher education sector to more private investment. Many students and educators argue this would amount to privatising universities.
 
Worried about a repeat of last year’s violence, police numbers were doubled in London Wednesday. They warned protesters that they would use rubber bullets, if need be, which angered many students.

"We fear we’re going to lose not only quality of education, but also access"

Alex Peters-Day is an anthropology student at the London School of Economics. She serves as the general secretary for LSE’s Students’ Union.
 
We’re protesting the government’s plan to allow universities to become privatised. The problem with having education become private is that the incentive isn’t to provide better education – it’s to make profits. So if this happens, we fear we’re going to lose not only quality, but also access, because fees will continue to rise. And we have already seen a drop in students applying to universities since the government decided to raise fees last year.
 
The school I attend, the London School of Economics, cost 3,000 pounds [about 3,500 euros] per year when I started; now, starting in 2012, it will cost 8,500 pounds per year [about 10,000 euros.]. These fee hikes are quite simply pricing students out of education. They are only applied to students who enrolled in university after the government decided to raise fees, so I am lucky; if it had cost this much when I enrolled, I don’t think I would have gone to university.
 
University fees are currently capped at 9,000 pounds [about 10,500 euros] per year; however, if universities become privatised they wouldn't be subjected to this cap, and we’re worried they could charge much, much more. We're being priced out an education.
 
“The police are trying to intimidate us from exercising our right to protest”
 
Sadly, because of the way in which the authorities treat protesters, many students are now scared of becoming activists. I myself was arrested during protests against higher fees last year; I was falsely accused of criminal damage against a police vehicle. The police confiscated my laptop and phone for three months; they dropped the charges shortly before I was due to appear in court. This happened to many other students I know, too.
 
These past few days, the police sent warning letters to students who were charged last time to try to discourage them from protesting again. Though I was innocent, I received this letter too. It’s just awful, because this means they’ve kept my details and put me on some sort of list of people they are targeting – it’s an abuse of privacy. They’re clearly trying to intimidate us from exercising our right to protest. 
 
This letter was sent from the Metropolitan police to Alex Peters-Day and many other students. It states: "It is in the public and your own interest that you do not involve yourself in any type of criminal or anti-social behaviour. ... Should you do so we will at the earliest opportunity arrest and place you before the court."

“My three kids will be loaded with 150,000 pounds of debt”

Paul Wynter is an arts trader and a father of three.
 
The government think it’s okay to load my kids with mountains of debt. I’m protesting to tell them it’s not. My son, who is 19, is already in university; my daughters, who are 17 and 15, will want to attend university, too. Between the three of them, they’ll be loaded with 150,000 pounds [about 175,000 euros] of debt over six years. And if universities become privatised, it could be even more. I’ll help as much as I can, but they’ll still have to take out huge loans.
 
I see many young people around me have been put off even going to university. My daughters still want to go, but they’re actually thinking of moving abroad for their studies. In countries like France or the Netherlands, it will be much cheaper for them to pursue higher education.
 
The government should not be charging for education, period. They’re burdening our children who are already having a difficult time finding any jobs when they leave university.

Comments

students finances

Oh! come on now, the misconception is that students are 'entitled' to be educated, when the top few percent know only too well that, should any student be bright enough to come through the system with top honours, if he/she comes from a poor family background, they are potentially going to do one of two things, either suppress the opportunities of the offspring of a wealthy family, or what is worse, possibly marry into the top echelon of society

We cannot allow that can we now? It may taint the purity we have all come to expect in that strain of the Human race.

Simple answer... make education, at higher level, far too expensive for the bottom rung to take up.

That we may be thwarting the ambitions of a future Einstein, Fleming, or some other with brains, but overly unwarranted ideas above their station, is besides the point.

Just as long as the wealthy keep the grip on the number who enter those hallowed halls and dreaming spires of university education, thereby ensuring their own get all the benefits, why should we worry, after all, it's only the future of medicine, science, technology, and all the other vital disciplines, that is at stake.

To the top few percent, there exist no such a thing as a level playing field. But movable goal posts are definitely something to be admired.

students

SO THEY ARE NEW INTAKE FOR HIGHER EDUCATION;CANNOT REALIZE PAY NOTHING AT ALL YES NOTHING UNTIL EARNING A GOOD WAGE;HOW ARE THEY GOING TO GET DEGREE IF UNABLE TO FIGURE NO PAYMENTS UNTIL IN WELL PAID EMPLOYMENT. I EXPECT WORRIED OVER ABILITY TO GET DRUNK OR HIGH ON DRUGS;EVERY YEAR ON TV IN PAPERS 1000,s OF FRESHERS ON ORGANISED BINGES SORRY NO SYMPATHY FROM MOI IF REALLY INTENT ON GOOD DEGREE STUDY STUDY WORK THE BRAIN NOT DRINKING ARM . JOHN

College Students Paying more for their education

When the (really) lovely Laura Baines was discussing this subject, the argument was made by the person she was talking to (some lucky guy) that college students earn more and pay more taxes, therefore they are a good investment for society. That is not as clear as it might be. The Times magazine in the USA this week describes a school teacher in the USA earning $23,000 a year, with $35,000 in education loans. If there was any assurance that college graduates would earn a lot, they could take out loans, and pay them off. What is true is that very high earners are almost always college educated, but their income, like Bernie Madoff's seems to depend more on family and luck than skills they picked up in college. Preparing everyone to go to college makes sense, but providing four or five years more time for young people to sit around drinking beer and telling the world what is the matter with it really does not make sense. There should be a willingness to invest in those who are willing to work hard, perhaps by providing low cost loans, but the best preparation for many careers, including software programming, is to get a book, read it, and find someone willing to hire you for (likely) low wages. Being a genius in any field takes about ten years of hard work, and that is something that you have to do for yourself. One hedge fund manager making $1 billion a year (and that is the average income of the top 25) in a bar with 40,000 teachers earning $23,000 makes the average income of the room $48,000. Hey, let's have some of the good stuff. For the record, the lovely Laura was too smart to buy that argument either.

advocating protest againts universtiy fee hikes

I myself , think that this is only intolerable for, as we know studies are the main pillar of a country . Are they crazy to undertake such a tough policy which prejudice only the lower class students . This is discrimination and nothing else . As a rememberence that it was declared on december 10th 1948 that everyone has the right to education . Then why are they denying what they actually say to accept like many countries around the world !!!! Foolish !!!

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