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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Guy
    • By MSE Guy 2nd Dec 11, 10:05 AM
    • 1,628Posts
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    MSE Guy
    MSE News: 'Lower tuition fees can cost students more'
    • #1
    • 2nd Dec 11, 10:05 AM
    MSE News: 'Lower tuition fees can cost students more' 2nd Dec 11 at 10:05 AM
    This is the discussion thread for the following MSE News Story:

    "Plans to reduce tuition fees at 24 universities could end up costing students more in the long run ..."

Page 1
  • melancholly
    • #2
    • 2nd Dec 11, 10:38 AM
    • #2
    • 2nd Dec 11, 10:38 AM
    this will no doubt be controversial..... good article though! it's also worth pointing out that some unis are reducing fees by as little as 50, so as ever it's worth getting the specifics.
  • GeneHunt
    • #3
    • 2nd Dec 11, 5:15 PM
    • #3
    • 2nd Dec 11, 5:15 PM
    If anyone is at all interested in the final fees, there is a list of them on the guardian web site.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/dec/02/tuition-fees?newsfeed=true
    • Voyager2002
    • By Voyager2002 2nd Dec 11, 7:37 PM
    • 13,028 Posts
    • 8,951 Thanks
    Voyager2002
    • #4
    • 2nd Dec 11, 7:37 PM
    • #4
    • 2nd Dec 11, 7:37 PM
    An interesting article.

    An additional point: for decades, university funding has been inadequate to enable them to provide the educational facilities that students could reasonably expect. High tuition fees would presumably mean that a good deal more money than before would go into teaching provision, and so result in a better student experience. This means that lower tuition fees would not necessarily be good news for students.
    • tyllwyd
    • By tyllwyd 2nd Dec 11, 7:40 PM
    • 5,406 Posts
    • 4,393 Thanks
    tyllwyd
    • #5
    • 2nd Dec 11, 7:40 PM
    • #5
    • 2nd Dec 11, 7:40 PM
    There is a bit of spin in the title of the article - surely lower tuition fees on their own won't cost students more. It's the reduction in bursaries which will cost students more. So why not make the title 'Reduction in bursaries will hit lower income students'?
  • melancholly
    • #6
    • 2nd Dec 11, 9:53 PM
    • #6
    • 2nd Dec 11, 9:53 PM
    An interesting article.

    An additional point: for decades, university funding has been inadequate to enable them to provide the educational facilities that students could reasonably expect. High tuition fees would presumably mean that a good deal more money than before would go into teaching provision, and so result in a better student experience. This means that lower tuition fees would not necessarily be good news for students.
    Originally posted by Voyager2002
    if the higher fees had meant that uni income per student was better than when more money came from central government, i'd agree fully. but even at 9K, with the drop in teaching budgets, unis will still have less money than in previous years. how on earth institutions in expensive cities will manage to offer a similar standard on 6K fees is beyond me.... i'm sure lots of services will suffer, but i guess in reality a lot of services are underused and won't be missed by many students......
  • 2sides2everystory
    • #7
    • 3rd Dec 11, 12:58 PM
    Unis reduce cashback - shady accountants move goalposts to yield more revenue goals
    • #7
    • 3rd Dec 11, 12:58 PM
    There is a bit of spin in the title of the article - surely lower tuition fees on their own won't cost students more. It's the reduction in bursaries which will cost students more. So why not make the title 'Reduction in bursaries will hit lower income students'?
    Originally posted by tyllwyd
    You are telling me

    Why not make the title 'Quidco UniNewcos reduce cashback after shady accountants get together and move goalposts as a more direct shortcut to manipulate revenue goals'? It's closer to the truth.
  • melancholly
    • #8
    • 3rd Dec 11, 6:12 PM
    • #8
    • 3rd Dec 11, 6:12 PM
    You are telling me

    Why not make the title 'Quidco UniNewcos reduce cashback after shady accountants get together and move goalposts as a more direct shortcut to manipulate revenue goals'? It's closer to the truth.
    Originally posted by 2sides2everystory
    you can spin it anyway you want - 'unis make necessary changes to fees in order to fit into system only announced by government after the initial levels were announced. late changes important to ensure that they don't go bankrupt'

    the truth will be somewhere in the middle!
  • 2sides2everystory
    • #9
    • 4th Dec 11, 9:51 PM
    Some Universities close to bankruptcy due to reduced applications?
    • #9
    • 4th Dec 11, 9:51 PM
    ...late changes important to ensure that they don't go bankrupt
    by melancholly
    Really ??

    Are you now telling us (as a university insider) that the real story is that a couple of dozen English 'universities' are barely viable?

    Our kids are being invited to rely on these fly-by-night outfits delivering excellence for periods of up to five years. Never mind popularity ratings, perhaps we should concentrate on a table of university credit ratings
    • Taiko
    • By Taiko 5th Dec 11, 12:22 AM
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    Taiko
    Quite a fair few of them are. I know of at least a dozen.
    • The One Who
    • By The One Who 5th Dec 11, 9:31 AM
    • 2,368 Posts
    • 2,924 Thanks
    The One Who
    Really ??

    Are you now telling us (as a university insider) that the real story is that a couple of dozen English 'universities' are barely viable?

    Our kids are being invited to rely on these fly-by-night outfits delivering excellence for periods of up to five years. Never mind popularity ratings, perhaps we should concentrate on a table of university credit ratings
    Originally posted by 2sides2everystory
    It's no secret that a lot of universities have been running on a deficit for quite a few years now. There have also been a few articles recently about how these new changes are going to effect the financial sustainability of some universities.
  • melancholly
    seriously, this has been brought up on so many threads and in newspapers and on websites.... the idea that many institutions are at great risk of going under isn't news (the risk of unis going under with the new fees system has been debated extensively on this board!).

    as ever, a very quick google can show how widespread the reporting is, which may be worth trying to see what information is out there before getting so upset about it all.... it is genuinely worrying that unis may go under. it's scary for all the people who work in them (from cleaners, to admin staff, to maintenance staff, sports staff, catering staff, security staff and teaching staff) as much as it is for potential students. after london metropolitan university shut some departments part way through courses, the real danger of what could come was made clear (http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/may/03/london-metropolitan-gillies-course-cuts) - although to be fair to the rest of the sector, their financial problems are a special case of their own making (http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/feb/03/brian-roper). how close institutions are to the brink is unclear, but the massive changes in funding systems and amounts in a short period of time make it difficult for long term planning. all these issues were raised when the idea of increased fees were debated, but the vote still went with the government.....

    here are just a few of the links that come up:

    http://www.thebubble.org.uk/news/universities-at-risk-of-going-bankrupt
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-12636185
    http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=415728
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-14986780
    http://www.grant-thornton.co.uk/pdf/HE_Financial_health_Aug11.pdf
  • 2sides2everystory
    seriously, this has been brought up on so many threads and in newspapers and on websites.... the idea that many institutions are at great risk of going under isn't news (the risk of unis going under with the new fees system has been debated extensively on this board!).
    Originally posted by melancholly
    Seriously, in that case, I think you insiders should be locked up for flogging a dead horse as often as you do.

    As I toured some universities with my offspring some weeks ago I was struck with how out of date some of the equipment was e.g. how one simulator was 15 years old another "project we are proud of" relied basically on a pretty standard version of actual Microsoft Flight Simulator. The engineering workshops looked to me like some kind of play area and of course on display was the mandatory racing car project like it was some important goal for British Engineers to aspire to work for Ron Dennis or Silvio whatsisface. I bit my lip and consoled myself that at least some of the lecturers bothered to take part in Open Days seemed to be good teachers. They came out with snippets like "British Aerospace used to let us tour their facilities but we've stopped that because they've started charging us". So government favored British industry doesn't buy into universities now ?

    I think universities have probably become like the public sector - top heavy with administrators, and most of what is on show is based on marketing hype dreamed up by Johnny come-lately vice-chancellors who might have come hotfoot from the charity fund-raising sector with armies of sweat-shirted silver tongued outsourced pavement workers doing their bidding. Actually I don't think they actually intend that the cash-paying undergraduate students get any closer than these outsourced marketeers judging by the limited hours of lecture attendance many courses seem to comprise.

    Yet we are supposed to encourage our kids to buy into it with borrowed amounts of real cash the like of which they do not stand half a chance of even beginning to comprehend unless they are both good mathematicians and very bright economics students? My kids satisfy this criteria but they are still largely being swept along by a tide of insider thinking which does not stretch beyond next years university budgets.

    For myself I am absolutely sure that you insiders, and you Martin Lewis are mis-selling. I believe you are just as guilty of mis-selling a five year investment to my kids as any clearing bank selling one to my 85 years plus parents. Surely you can see you can easily be criticised for telling only half a story or less? What you are selling is no less complex than safeguarding someone's life-savings.

    You are selling something the true limited benefit of which, or downside of which to the buyer you seem deliberately to avoid like it is 'off message' so would be a political faux pas undermining whatever you stand for right now. How long have you been aware that so many universities are already virtually unviable? Where are your warnings about which ones to avoid? How are our kids liabilities for payment of tuition fees protected if the university proves unable to properly deliver over the next 5 years? Is there anything akin to Consumer Credit Act 1974 Section 75 protection for payments of tuition fees? Is it advisable to buy a house without a solicitor? Why is it advisable to buy a university education without a solicitor? Who will pay and who will hide under a palm tree if it all goes wrong?

    I fear that beyond your unscientific conclusions (because you make massive assumptions of unknowns) and promotion of simplified 'calculators' and spreadsheet workings, and your unrigorous pontificating of a sort you would never dare do in presenting a scientific paper whilst you were at university yourselves, you do not even begin to understand the big picture of what you are promoting. What for example is your stance on public sector pensions? What is your stance on the Eurozone crisis? What is your stance on exploiting EU higher education opportunities (I know someone who confidently expects to receive up to 8 years of 'EU elsewhere' state-funded university education in Computer Science. In theory could a UK student could go to Europe and expect the same thing?). What is your stance on the Student Debt catastrophe in the USA? How is it different? Is the USA more broke or less broke than UK?Do you anticipate that large sections of the UK community will be reduced to scavenging in bins for food anytime soon? What is your view about giving NHS data to corporates to use for "research"? Do you not think that if such access to a wealth of data is to be opened up, it would not be better to give it to our best universities to work on? If you dare to suggest these have nothing to do with English University Tuition Fees you are more naive than I thought.

    You seem to have abdicated your public duty to question that message the politicians are "glad" you are delivering. Stop it, please and revert to MoneySaving ideals.
    Last edited by 2sides2everystory; 05-12-2011 at 1:00 PM.
  • melancholly
    i'm not selling anything. i'm trying to counter the suggestions from someone with very limited knowledge of the area, that uni is a complete waste of time for all student apart from their own offspring who should apparently get to go for free..... i am very anti many changes in HE, including the increased fees, but that doesn't make the system that we have the spawn of the devil. there is a massive difference between campaigning for long term change and undermining the current system so as to tell people uni certainly a bad idea, run by people with evil selfish intentions.

    (i would answer the list of what i count as 16 questions, but i'm not here to justify the existence of HE.... i do find it condescending in the extreme to be called unscientific, unrigorous and pontificating, with no idea of the big picture. especially from someone who has been repeatedly shown to be massively uninformed on numerous topics, despite all the information anyone refers to being in the public domain and reported on very heavily. even suggesting that student debt in the US is comparable to the UK shows ignorance of the highest order).

    just as final clarification - i am not personally responsible for a single bit of past or current policy on HE, public spending, US higher education policy, european debt management etc etc

    as with the house selling/buying board, is it perhaps time to make a discussion forum for HE policy, to save the same debates derailing every single thread? or would that be elevating the ranting views of one poster above what they deserve?
    • Lokolo
    • By Lokolo 5th Dec 11, 1:44 PM
    • 20,104 Posts
    • 15,244 Thanks
    Lokolo
    Seriously, in that case, I think you insiders should be locked up for flogging a dead horse as often as you do.

    As I toured some universities with my offspring some weeks ago I was struck with how out of date some of the equipment was e.g. how one simulator was 15 years old another "project we are proud of" relied basically on a pretty standard version of actual Microsoft Flight Simulator. The engineering workshops looked to me like some kind of play area and of course on display was the mandatory racing car project like it was some important goal for British Engineers to aspire to work for Ron Dennis or Silvio whatsisface. I bit my lip and consoled myself that at least some of the lecturers bothered to take part in Open Days seemed to be good teachers. They came out with snippets like "British Aerospace used to let us tour their facilities but we've stopped that because they've started charging us". So government favored British industry doesn't buy into universities now ?
    Originally posted by 2sides2everystory
    Just because the university you visited is like that, doesn't mean they all are.

    I actually chose my university because of the things you mentioned which are the complete opposite. For example, they had numerous links with companies in both the local area and outside. The engineering department (mainly for Car Mechanics) had links with F2. The technology based at my campus was high tech, with rooms dedicated to powerful PCs (dual core graphics etc.) for certain modules. They had mobile devices (Phones/iPads) for programming on.

    The TV students had a TV studio and modern camera equipment (lets not get into a debate about media students though ).

    And so fourth. My university is an ex poly and not exactly high on the list of Top Universities. But I know for a fact that a lot of universities higher up in the league table than mine had worse facilities. And in fact when I visited Portsmouth, I asked to see the Computing Department as that's where I was going to be, and it was closed!

    During my time, the course leader organised trips to events which would benefit us (but as a student, you couldn't really be bothered doing anything on a Saturday morning!) and would send out emails about careers fairs etc. and would get involved as much as he needed to.

    Obviously no-one is going to visit every single university, but I just thought I'd point out not all of them are like the one you've visited
  • Oldernotwiser
    Seriously, in that case, I think you insiders should be locked up for flogging a dead horse as often as you do.

    As I toured some universities with my offspring some weeks ago I was struck with how out of date some of the equipment was e.g. how one simulator was 15 years old another "project we are proud of" relied basically on a pretty standard version of actual Microsoft Flight Simulator. The engineering workshops looked to me like some kind of play area and of course on display was the mandatory racing car project like it was some important goal for British Engineers to aspire to work for Ron Dennis or Silvio whatsisface. I bit my lip and consoled myself that at least some of the lecturers bothered to take part in Open Days seemed to be good teachers. They came out with snippets like "British Aerospace used to let us tour their facilities but we've stopped that because they've started charging us". So government favored British industry doesn't buy into universities now ?

    I think universities have probably become like the public sector - top heavy with administrators, and most of what is on show is based on marketing hype dreamed up by Johnny come-lately vice-chancellors who might have come hotfoot from the charity fund-raising sector with armies of sweat-shirted silver tongued outsourced pavement workers doing their bidding. Actually I don't think they actually intend that the cash-paying undergraduate students get any closer than these outsourced marketeers judging by the limited hours of lecture attendance many courses seem to comprise.

    Yet we are supposed to encourage our kids to buy into it with borrowed amounts of real cash the like of which they do not stand half a chance of even beginning to comprehend unless they are both good mathematicians and very bright economics students? My kids satisfy this criteria but they are still largely being swept along by a tide of insider thinking which does not stretch beyond next years university budgets.

    For myself I am absolutely sure that you insiders, and you Martin Lewis are mis-selling. I believe you are just as guilty of mis-selling a five year investment to my kids as any clearing bank selling one to my 85 years plus parents. Surely you can see you can easily be criticised for telling only half a story or less? What you are selling is no less complex than safeguarding someone's life-savings.

    You are selling something the true limited benefit of which, or downside of which to the buyer you seem deliberately to avoid like it is 'off message' so would be a political faux pas undermining whatever you stand for right now. How long have you been aware that so many universities are already virtually unviable? Where are your warnings about which ones to avoid? How are our kids liabilities for payment of tuition fees protected if the university proves unable to properly deliver over the next 5 years? Is there anything akin to Consumer Credit Act 1974 Section 75 protection for payments of tuition fees? Is it advisable to buy a house without a solicitor? Why is it advisable to buy a university education without a solicitor? Who will pay and who will hide under a palm tree if it all goes wrong?

    I fear that beyond your unscientific conclusions (because you make massive assumptions of unknowns) and promotion of simplified 'calculators' and spreadsheet workings, and your unrigorous pontificating of a sort you would never dare do in presenting a scientific paper whilst you were at university yourselves, you do not even begin to understand the big picture of what you are promoting. What for example is your stance on public sector pensions? What is your stance on the Eurozone crisis? What is your stance on exploiting EU higher education opportunities (I know someone who confidently expects to receive up to 8 years of 'EU elsewhere' state-funded university education in Computer Science. In theory could a UK student could go to Europe and expect the same thing?). What is your stance on the Student Debt catastrophe in the USA? How is it different? Is the USA more broke or less broke than UK?Do you anticipate that large sections of the UK community will be reduced to scavenging in bins for food anytime soon? What is your view about giving NHS data to corporates to use for "research"? Do you not think that if such access to a wealth of data is to be opened up, it would not be better to give it to our best universities to work on? If you dare to suggest these have nothing to do with English University Tuition Fees you are more naive than I thought.

    You seem to have abdicated your public duty to question that message the politicians are "glad" you are delivering. Stop it, please and revert to MoneySaving ideals.
    Originally posted by 2sides2everystory
    This should be on the Forum Feedback section, it's inappropriate on here.
    • Taiko
    • By Taiko 5th Dec 11, 2:23 PM
    • 2,552 Posts
    • 2,391 Thanks
    Taiko
    NUS are looking bad in all this.

    "Lower the fees"
    "Ok, now you've lowered them, give us more money".

    Law of unintended consequences.
    • kayr
    • By kayr 5th Dec 11, 2:27 PM
    • 131 Posts
    • 255 Thanks
    kayr
    Seriously, in that case, I think you insiders should be locked up for flogging a dead horse as often as you do.
    ...
    You seem to have abdicated your public duty to question that message the politicians are "glad" you are delivering. Stop it, please and revert to MoneySaving ideals.
    Originally posted by 2sides2everystory
    I do understand your frustration with the uncertainties facing your children with regard to tuition fees/their futures etc but I don't think it's fair to have a go at melancholly for the problems of our higher education system. As far as I can tell, melancholly works in a university but is not to be held responsible for higher education policy and does not actually agree with all government policy; just points out that SLs are not the same as a traditional loan. OK I don't like SLs and would disagree on some aspects with those who are "happy" with them but you can't be quite so black and white about it! Well it seems you can, but you know what I mean...

    Perhaps it would be helpful, given you can't really change the bad things which are happening, to focus on the positives. My son is studying science and as far as I can tell is getting a good education. I know there is some very expensive and up to date equipment in the labs (not sure how much they are let loose on it!), he gets 26 hrs a week contact time, he is strongly encouraged to work hard (which he and his peers seem to be doing). Being at University is also an ideal way to make the transition between childhood and adult life. He is living in a relatively sheltered community but is learning about money and time management, practical things like food and laundry, getting on with others etc. OK he could do this if he got a job after leaving school etc but I think there is great value in leaving home in this rather "supported" way and it eases the transition to adulthood. It is costing him and us more than we'd like in an ideal world (I lived through the higher education funding policies of the past) but he is benefiting from the experience so far and should get a good degree out of it and, we hope, a worthwhile career. Can't guarantee that of course!

    As parents, we naturally want the best for our children but like in every other sphere, we can't have it all. Just got to make the best of what there is and focus on the positives. Hard at times, I know, but better than getting depressed and angry about the bad bits.
  • 2sides2everystory
    What public good might I be de-railing except mis-selling and political propaganda??

    Thank you for your kind dissection, melancholly. You will of course now make a stab at a five year budget plan for each of our universities to be put alongside the undefined five year investments you have been selling as an HE insider to impressionable young people - so we can rate them more quantitatively perhaps?

    I am not "asking for it all" kayr. I am asking for insiders to butt out and for proper distribution of wealth in our society not these massive tinkerings which pump more and mor billions into the pockets of corporates and any institution willing to redefine itself as one.

    So, what I am asking for does not include giving our data away to pharmaceutical companies whilst charging the earth to our young people to use it as part of their studies.

    That is a disgusting redistribution of wealth.

    Data such as that stored in the NHS has enormous value to drugs companies just as UMTS radio frequency spectra have enormous value to 3G airtime license holders. Where are the billions HM Government will charge the "life sciences" industry and where will those bilions go bearing in mind that some of our best universities are the people who have done the most valuable work on it to date and created the patterns which contain the most pubic interest prioritised good rather than those which create the most profit?

    Are we really interested in whether Pfizer moves its Viagra research away from Kent? Are we really interested in giving them an advantage to fleece us and overdose us at a typical rate of 6 per tablet which damages our eyesight? How much of the 6 per Viagra tablet goes to Moorfields Eye Hospital? How will we "make" paharmaceutical companies share their research with our universities? I have already visited a number of universities where it seems corporates are not really buying into universities in any big way. Industries set on a pedastal as the best of British charging universities for a simple tour for engineering undergraduates to see the real world of engineering? Yeah right.

    The only people out there who will be put off going to university by reading anything I say will be those who on balance should seriously considering the alternatives rather than allowing themselves to be herded like sheep by people misusing their position to make political statements.

    it's inappropriate on here.
    Mmm - what a lovely smearing word that is for tiny minds to wield whilst flexing their little wings at practice of amateur office type politics, eh? You'll be wanting to try out the words 'aggressive', 'rude' and 'unprofessional' next. All good for slagging off those with inconvenient views ... hey ho
    Last edited by 2sides2everystory; 05-12-2011 at 3:41 PM.
  • melancholly
    thread title: "MSE News: 'Lower tuition fees can cost students more'"

    perhaps discussion of suggested government policy on NHS linking with clinical trials might be better suited elsewhere..... (since it is of no relevance to students currently weighing up whether to go to uni and looking at potential fees as a factor in their decision) - actually, there's no perhaps about it - the place for that is either another thread or DT. (although, fwiw, Pfizer are already in the process of closing their research facility in Kent http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12335801. not that that in any way means i'm pro or against the suggestion, since there's far too little information yet to know what it means as far as i can tell, just throwing in some actual information since that is largely missing in some posts.)
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