Thursday, 16 August 2012

Fighting a losing battle...

Two days ago I wrote a post about the fact that students erroneously think that they can't afford to go to University and they believe that fees need to be paid up front.  Basically we aren't getting the message across that they wont pay a penny until they graduate, and even then they are still not paying fees until they've effectively paid back the maintenance loan that they were given.  In other words, realistically most students wont start paying fees at all until probably 10+ years after they graduate and even then it'll only be if they can afford it.  I was really disappointed to find buried in the Metro today:

A whole article that does nothing but scare people into thinking that University is unaffordable.  Yes there are costs for students such as accommodation and then boozing etc that they mention but the article is written in a way just to scare.  In fact the more I read it the angrier I get.  It's set up to sound like the fees are payable whilst the student is at university (they aren't), take that away and their headline calculation falls to £27k - the full breakdown of which isn't there, the costs quoted come to roughly £19.5k.  They then make no reference to the fact that students are entitled to a maintenance loan (up to £5.5k a year) effectively from the government - which (as I cannot reiterate enough) they pay back under the same system as their fees.  

Yes there is a gap between the loan and the remaining costs, but nothing a part time job couldn't fix - parents definitely don't need to find £53k that the article implies.  Or alternatively they could stay at home and study at a close by University, even then they are entitled to a loan of up to £4,375 and wouldn't incur anywhere near this cost, or not spend the £4k on alcohol that's quoted.  

If a teenager really wants to go to University then there is no financial reason why they couldn't go to a University.  I don't believe every teenager should be aiming for University, too many I feel are pressured to go when it's not in their (or the economy's/society's) best interest, however none should be scared off for financial reasons.

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