Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tuition Fee Raise (Betsy)

Jon has written a guest post on the violence surrounding the recent vote to raise tuition fees for university students - I'll put it up just after this - but I want to preface his essay with a bit of background for those of you who haven't been following the story.  I'll try to be as unbiased as possible!  (If you have further questions, check out this Q&A from the BBC.)

Prior to 2004, university students in England paid nothing for their education; they were entirely subsidized by the government.  In 2004, though, the government created a tuition cap, allowing universities to charge students up to £3,000 per student per year.  Last week, as part of the enormous budget cuts being proposed to combat the current recession, the coalition government in the UK narrowly passed a law raising the tuition cap to £9,000 per student per year.

(As Not From Around Here points out, "Of course, it [university education] was never actually free, as there is a real cost associated with education.  But the funds to support universities were all central, meaning that each and every tax-payer contributed to the higher education of each student.")

Students have been protesting for weeks against the vote.  The protests have, almost since the beginning, tended towards violence, although it is important to note that the rioters are only a small and, generally, uninformed part of the larger student protest movement.

Anyway, please do read the next post for Jon's views on the subject!


  1. Thanks for the shout-out. That was, I believe, my most important point in this entire squawking debate: if students think that people who did not pay fees got a "free" education they are missing some key points about economics and how the world works...

  2. Not that I'm in support of high tuition costs in any way, but this makes me want to show the violent protesters my $56k loan bill for 1 year of grad school to shut them right up.

  3. Love the blog but want to point out an inaccuracy. Tuition fees came in much earlier than 2004. More like 1999. In 2004 to 2007 I paid just over 1000 a year for tuition. New students in 2006 paid the higher rate of up to 3000 and climbing, known as top up fees. The debate is because when top up fees were introduced, the government promised they would not go up any more. In reality the reform was the thin edge of the wedge. Whilst education has to be paid for somehow the problem is that uk parents have not been saving for college like American families do. It will be a difficult transition...

  4. Thanks, Adam, for the clarification! Clearly my research skills have gone down the drain since I left school... eek!

    And Colleen - word.


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