The impact of a University education can lead to an average £100k graduate premium over the course of a working life but what else does it do? University provides the opportunity for students to reach a plateau where they can springboard into a direction they had never previously considered. For me that came through my activism with my Students’ Union. I wanted to improve sport at my institution and after two years as an elected officer I know that I brought change unlike any other officer, and that change will last for a long time. Now a graduate I am forced to consider the opportunities the government and the country providing for my generation.
Ideological cuts to slash the deficit in half the time proposed by the opposition. Sweeping cuts to welfare benefits, against the public sector and the bonfire of the quangos the coalition government are not preparing us, graduates, to withstand the Conservatives fiscal policy. Rather than ‘together in the national interest’ more like ‘lay back and think of England’. However I am thankful that I have a University education because without it I would lose the greatest opportunity to gain employment.
Members of the coalition will argue that raising tuition fees to £9000 per year with the additional terms they’ve proposed is fair and progressive. However it is only progressive because it is no different to the current system brought in by the Labour government. The major difference is in the figures. The current system asks graduates to pay back their loans after they start earning £14k whilst the proposed system asks graduates to pay back their loans after earning £21k. However the fees will still be three times as expensive as what I will pay back. Whilst this I agree with increasing the payback limit to £21k because it sets the bar too low for what, I believe, graduates should expect to earn based on the skills and knowledge that they will have earned through their University undergraduate education.
The coalition will also argue that it’s not too much in the grand scheme of things. When you think that the Coalition is going ahead over the next five years with cuts slashing money out of the economy, which would enable graduates to gain jobs after their studies and the amount of debt graduates would face by buying their first home it leaves a sour taste in many prospective, current students and graduates’ mouths.
A generation burdened before they are even 21. That’s before we ask the Coalition what their policy is on post-graduates, international students and how they see their policy affecting mature students. I suppose the Cabinet think its OK, with the amount of millionairres serving in office, but someone needs to stand up for students and the british people to remind the Coalition they have no mandate for these cuts.
I suppose that’s one plus of the Coalition’s policy: they can prevent a generation from the poorest backgrounds gaining the skills and opportunity they need to begin a career that could lead them into the Houses of Parliament and represent the country more effectively, and put people first when they are slashing budgets. Without the relevant education I don’t see that happening.