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'Labour’s plan to cut tuition fees to £6,000 is...' blog discussion

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'Labour’s plan to cut tuition fees to £6,000 is...' blog discussion

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This is the discussion to link on the back of Martin's blog. Please read the blog first, as this discussion follows it.




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  • @jaccantt on Twitter

    This misses one group of students and subsequent workers. The following is rushed, so forgive me ;)

    My parent's had no money and I funded uni myself. I took out a Student loan and hardship loan for each year I was in Uni for 4 years, back in 1999. I didn't spend much tbh, but rent, travel and bills saw me needing to borrow more. I did one year in London and *much* more went out than came in with Loan and Salary so debt was building up. Credit was only available in other loans and credit cards.

    After Uni I didn't get a job immediately. But debtors wanted money. I had to juggle debt, credit card after credit card to make ends meet. Young, unable to get any other financial help, you go with what you can. Living in Wales there were few jobs, even for a 1st Class BSC. I eventually got a job, but the salary was fairly low.

    Year after year, juggling the debt, accruing more and more interest.

    I found my salary rise rapidly and quickly started having to pay student loan back. With the other debt needing to be paid off too, it was too much going out.

    Years on, I still have couple of years left to pay Student loan and can't afford to save for a mortgage. The Student Loans Company have no way to ask them to payments for a bit, they say it sits at the top of the pile and to talk to other debtors... long story short as I plough through that is that Student Loans being paying off only when you're rich with a good job is absolutely missing the point with regards to lots of people who have to spend a lot to get going in life, then it comes to hit you when you desperately need to get on.

    It needs to look at people's circumstances because it's not that simple. The money is taken before looking at everything that goes out!

    *If* it was £9000 a year, I would have been declared bankrupt by now!

    We really should help people who want to be educated more in this country!

    So Labour lowering the cost, it's still not great, but it's going in the right direction.

    Jonathan
  • ViolaLassViolaLass Forumite
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    *If* it was £9000 a year, I would have been declared bankrupt by now!

    Why, when the repayments would have stayed the same?
  • The amount of years paying that loan off and not the wider debt I refer to that is increasing with interest. The amount of years paying rent because I can't save for a deposit to get a house.

    Make sense?
  • ViolaLassViolaLass Forumite
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    The amount of years paying that loan off and not the wider debt I refer to that is increasing with interest. The amount of years paying rent because I can't save for a deposit to get a house.

    Make sense?

    Google suggests that your initial payment threshold was £10k, which then jumped to £15k and has risen since.

    Are you really saying that 9% of your salary over £10k (and later £15k) would have made a difference to the extent that you might otherwise now be debt-free and a home-owner?
  • jamesdjamesd Forumite
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    For issues like this I tend not to care about affluent graduates but non-affluent children about to consider going to university. So I prefer grants based on parental income per child or more generous income tests than any post-graduation issues.

    I also care more about north-south discrimination at repayment time, so that those in the south of the country don't end up repaying more than those in the north just because they are in areas with higher costs and hence higher pay to deal with those costs. So I prefer a minimum repayment threshold and repayment percentage based on local cost of living.

    I care about repayment systems that take more money from those in prime child rearing ages and stop taking payments after that. If you successfully end up being socially mobile, I don't want your children disadvantaged as a result, I want the second generation at least not penalised. So I favour a longer number of repaying years, up to 50 from 30, but lower percentage taken from income during that time.

    There is choice in the system, including the choice not to work. So I favour a household income test, not solely personal income, so that if you make choices that lead to not repaying, your household doesn't get to completely dodge repaying because of your collective choice.

    There's the choice to take low paying jobs. That choice is good but I also like at least some obligation to pay so I'd prefer a sliding scale of at least some repayment at any income level, even on means tested benefits.
  • I have a real problem with charging £9k a year, because it is a rip off by most Universities. Why is that? well for a start most courses are around 10 hours a week for 3 semesters (of around 10-12 weeks) though the spring semester is often shorter. So 3 * 12 * 10 = 360 hours of tution 9000/360 = £25 an hour per student in tuition fees (ok there are use of equipment and rooms. But paper, books, computers and other personal equipment are also an expense of the student). I believe that given the number of students that are on a particular course that is way too much to be paying! That sort of money would require one to one or very small group tuition. Three of my children have been through this system (fortunately when it was 3k a year) and they all said that sometimes the lecturers sometimes didn't turn up or they were pointed to a webpage to find and learn stuff (instead of a lecture), or the lecturers were `'too busy`' to see them one to one or my children felt that they were being fobbed off! This was 3 children at 3 different universities. Not all tutors were like that but quite a few were. Unfortunately, unlike me they wouldn't want to complain as they didn't want to rock the boat and scared because maybe those lecturers might 'down mark' their assignments in the future. I think the first year, because they were straight from school, they thought this was a bit of a "jolly jape". However, in the second and third year (and fourth in one case) as they matured and realised that this was their future, that these "tutors" were messing with, they became more and more frustrated. So I feel sorry for those who are paying £9k plus their living accommodation and food. Therefore, having to borrow even more just to attend Uni and not getting good value.
  • reduxredux Forumite
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    Will Martin also be producing at article about the Conservatives' proposals to reduce spending on schools, in real terms?

    The promises are for flat spending, i.e. not increasing with inflation. Somewhat patronisingly, they seem to want people to believe this is a promise not to cut spending on education.
  • Martin. I suggest your assumptions about student wages growth are wrong. I work in IT so I can only talk from my own personal experience as a graduate 20+ years ago and that of the graduates we recruit each year.
    When I started in IT I was on £10k per year but as a graduate trainee I had bi-annual performance and pay rises for the first two years and even once off the graduate scheme I received fairly decent pay rises each year as my value and contribution to the firm increased. Its only about 25 years since I left University but yet my salary is more than 10 times what I started on as a graduate.

    Recognise that times may have changed but I still maintain that graduates that are bright and get a decent enough degree will be fast tracked far quicker than typical wages inflation.

    Personally I am not in favour of tuition fees at all so support a reduction from £9k to £6k or even lower. The last thing I would have wanted in the early stages of my career when I was working hard, buying a house, getting married etc would have been the thought of that additional debt to repay.

    I can understand the logic of repaying for my education as I am better employed than if I hadn't had a degree, the challenge is how to make that repayment reasonable and proportionate.

    For what its worth I came from a middle class background, I was the first one ever in my family to go to University at what was a decent enough red brick University and got a 2.1. Its what you do with your skills afterwards that counts.
    I'd be happier on holiday in Brittany than being at work !
  • jamesdjamesd Forumite
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    redux wrote: »
    The promises are for flat spending, i.e. not increasing with inflation. Somewhat patronisingly, they seem to want people to believe this is a promise not to cut spending on education.
    Personally I'd also want to look at trends in pupil numbers to determine whether there is an increase or decrease in per-pupil spending happening:

    A projected 9% increase in primary pupil numbers after sustained decreases during the 20nn decade due to reduced birth rates.
    A sustained decline in secondary pupil numbers that started in 2005 and is expected to end after 2015 when the primary pupil start to enter secondary education.
    A projected 17% total increase in secondary school pupils by 2023.

    Comparing those to spending trends, there was a very large and sustained increase in real, inflation-adjusted, spending on education, notably starting around 1999 when it was around £56 billion to today's almost £88 billion, which is around five billion less than its peak in 2010.

    Given the spending and pupil trends it seems eminently reasonable to propose real or nominal cuts in education, since it appears that per-pupil spending would still be very substantially higher than it was about fifteen years ago. While I haven't checked carefully it seems unlikely that it will drop below a 30% increase per-pupil between then and now, in real terms. It is worth noting that I've focused on total education spending, not just primary and secondary spending, since those compete with pre-primary and tertiary education for funds and the whole picture matters.

    Here are the total public sector education spend number from 2000-01 through 2013-14 in 2013-14 inflation-adjusted values, from page 13 of the spending document:

    2000 60.3 66.5 68.9 75.6 78.0
    2005 81.4 82.7 85.9 88.4 91.6
    2010 93.4 87.5 86.5 88.3

    Comparing with our OECD peers using the latest 2011 data our spending was 6.4% of GDP, above the OECD average of 6.2%. This placed us 11th out of 29 countries (page 12 of the spending report).

    I've no idea whether Martin will blog about this but if he does, given his economics background, I don't expect him to ignore more than half of the picture in deciding what to write.

    Lest you wonder about my own views, I'm the only person I know of in my whole extended family generation to get a degree, helped notably by one teacher in junior school which led to me becoming to of the class in two out of four years then going on to grammar school and university. With a background that was essentially a single-parent mother of four much of the time due to an absent then deceased father. The outcomes for my siblings who skipped much education have been nowhere near as good as mine and I view education as one of the greater potential drivers of increased social mobility.
  • edited 20 February 2015 at 12:00PM
    agarnettagarnett
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    edited 20 February 2015 at 12:00PM
    jamesd wrote:
    ...Comparing those to spending trends, there was a very large and sustained increase in real, inflation-adjusted, spending on education, notably starting around 1999 when it was around £56 billion to today's almost £88 billion, which is around five billion less than its peak in 2010.

    Given the spending and pupil trends it seems eminently reasonable to propose real or nominal cuts in education, ...
    I visited this thread in the days immediately after it appeared, and was so depressed by the lack of progress that I simply walked away shaking my head.

    But I have returned to give it a bump, because nothing further has been added, and I feel the subject should be kept in the public spotlight.


    There is so much so-called analysis which I cannot help summarising in my mind as "the price of everything and the value of nothing".

    It may be well intentioned analysis and reason, but where does it actually take us if the politics governing the subject are not well intentioned?

    The politics getting jamesd and myself singled out of generations of labourers and into grammar schools were well-intentioned and enlightened. Esteemed figures such as Churchill caused it to happen. Some of us were even given the chance of free bursaries to the likes of Winchester, Rugby and Eton! However, as I didn't dare to go, I am still not entirely sure whether I have used the plural version of politics correctly !

    But if all we have achieved as a result of those leg ups is sufficient eloquence to justify making it to the top the heap as we see it (false summits anyone?), and to have ingrained the kind of government inspired logic that advises brakes to be put upon the education of subsequent generations, then surely we are no better than Chicago schooled economists deliberately seeded within societies to facilitate the greed of neocons?

    So, dear prospective undergraduates, be grateful for small mercies, suck it all up, claim your allocated share of social mobility and/or play the game, as ruthlessly as you dare, or shut up - alternatively get disappeared!
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