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Monday, July 27, 2009

Tuition Fees to rise

Peter Mandelson has hinted in a speech to University leaders that he expects the cap on tuition fees to be raised following the publication of the government's review this autumn. However, he also criticised colleges for failing to give more places to working class students, a sure indication that the government's support mechanisms for poorer students are not working and that many of these are being put off going into higher education at all by the prospect of paying fees:

The University and College Union said it was very concerned about the impact higher university tuition fees would have on poorer students. UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: "Lord Mandelson appears to recognise the difficulties current graduates face as they enter a tough job market, but not the impact debt levels are having on their ability to do things like save for a pension or get a foot on the property ladder. We disagree with his view that top-up fees have been a success and polls show that they are opposed by the vast majority of the British public too.

"Education is vital to our future prosperity, not something to be rationed, and higher fees would be about as popular as the poll tax with hard-working families. In a time of recession, the government should be considering how to make access to education cheaper, not giving a green light to universities who wish to charge higher fees."

The union said that if institutions were allowed to charge greater fees, the amount of money poorer students would have to find would be dramatically increased. An increase in fees to £7,000 per year, for example, would mean a university would only be required to fund a bursary of £700. That bursary, coupled with the current state maintenance grant of £2,906, would leave the poorest students needing to find £3,394 a year, UCU claimed.

Higher fees will also have an impact on Welsh students as well thanks to Plaid Cymru's u-turn on this issue. This means that those attending colleges here will no longer have the safety net that was previously available to them.

Despite the fact that Nick Clegg stated that the abolition of top-up fees will have to wait a bit until we have the money to do it, the Liberal Democrats remain the only party committed to abolishing this tax on education. That is not likely to change. How the party reacts in Wales is a matter for the Welsh Liberal Democrats alone.
"the Liberal Democrats remain the only party committed to abolishing this tax on education"

How can you possibly say that when your party leader is advocating the opposite. The hypocrisy of that statement is staggering.
I can say it because it is true and because your statement is untrue. Both Nick Clegg and the Party's Policy Committee have made it clear that the Liberal Democrats are still committed to abolishing top-up fees and will do so in government. It also remains the policy of Conference as passed in March of this year.
Quite interestingly, I was walking past the JobCentre this morning, and started talking to one of the staff I know. Turns out that there's a load of teachers just qualified who are signing on for Job Seekers Allowance.

It doesn't surprise me that we are producing so many teachers with no job to go too.

We really need to get rid of these courses that don't result in a high rate of employment, like teaching and the Sciences!
If it remains party policy and you will do so in government what was the point of what Nick Clegg has says? I take it your saying it is empty words that will not be carried through. I hope it is the case just I cant see the point of what Clegg has says if in fact it will not be the case if you (unlikly as it is) get into government? It worries me that the party leader is saying things that have no vision to them
Try reading what he actually said rather than what other political parties wished he had said. He said that our first priority was to get the economy in shape and then to carry out other policies such as abolishing tuition fees.
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