26 December 2010

Tuition Fees: What does the future look like?

A simple question: What does the future look like in a world where tuition fees's cap rises to £21,000/year? This is just a work-in-progress - there may be errors in judgement but feel free to correct me on any mistakes :)

Firstly the obvious: College-leavers will not want to go to university any more because of the prices.
A 3-year course could cost up to £63,000. A 4-year course would be £84,000 - nearly £100k.

Because it's so high, there are few families who could pay this much - meaning that if people did still want to go - they would be more likely to get a student loan. Which means the government takes out bigger loans - putting the economy in more debt. Also, if you leave university and get a job starting at £25k, it would take you almost 3 full years of work to pay it back - not to mention the interest rates - you may end up paying thousands more. Of course you can always move abroad for 5 years to escape, but Visas don't last that long unless you get kicked out of the country.

It could also mean a segregation of the society - only the very rich people who can afford it will go to university - but just being rich does not mean you are intelligent. This could be viewed as a good thing because it could mean that there will be fewer students who drop out of of university or achieve lower grades - because of the incentive to do better because of the extremely high cost. However there is still no correlation between the rich and the intelligent - but there should be a correlation between the intelligent and rich - after they are in a successful business.

Because of the high fees, more college-leavers instead will choose to go and find or job - or worse, live off their parents - if their parents haven't kicked them out. This means instead of students creating havoc at university, it will be national - meaning crime rates are more likely to rise because students have nothing better to do.

The problem with that is, there are no jobs around.
Employers are always looking for people with high qualifications - they are looking for the best of the best - but there will be fewer students like this because of fewer people attending university. Which could mean that companies start to lower their standards and start employing less well-educated people - meaning all the great ideas and shared knowledge that universities bring is lost - meaning that the whole country gets dumber and the best ideas in young minds don't get the nurturing and funding they need.

For the universities it also means that fewer people will attend - meaning that some of Britain's great universities may close down because of the lack of money. Which means universities will try the best they can to get students - so they will lower their fees for their courses. This means that you no longer choose university primarily based on location or subject of study - but the price they are charging you. It will become "Compare the University - find the cheapest course and university for you!" Universities may make more incentives for students to attend - which could detract from the whole point of studying in the first place. Universities will compete over the cheapest cost for one particular course - driving the prices down of course - but meaning that universities essentially become privatised.

All in all - everyone suffers. The students, the families, the employers and the universities themselves. Not to mention the economy.

Update 19/01/2011: Companies are still looking for experience! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-12208931

5 December 2010

Small print

Some advice:

Network 3
  • Will not let you set a separate delivery and billing address when you order online
  • Will not deliver on a Saturday
  • If you want to register for your free Spotify Premium period (2/3 months), use your mobile to browse to 3's Spotify pages from their homepage, then you will get an option to download it and activate your Spotify (you will get asked to upgrade/make a new Spotify account). There is no way to activate it on three.co.uk or the link on the checkout page.
  • Will refuse to refund your 1 Month Mobile Broadband over the phone if you try to cancel within 3 days if you have good signal coverage in your area.
  • Are slow at getting Android updates for your phone compared to other operators like Vodafone (4 weeks). Their excuse is "We’re working with HTC and hope to have this on our network soon. When we get it, we’ll put the details on our website www.three.co.uk."

Virgin Media

  • Ordering broadband does not guarantee your order will be processed. Ever.
  • You can pick up the router in-store and have your internet activated on the same day. You do need to call their Customer Services to "activate" the broadband - when this happens remember to reset your router and restart your computer or else you may end up talking to them on the phone for ages trying to get it fixed.
  • Their internet-only package is more expensive than their internet + phone line rental package if you choose the XL or XXL deal (as opposed to M which is the cheapest) as per my chart here: https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AYtBNyBERqQAZGNodmd6eHhfMzFoeHZnZ2dkcg&hl=en_GB

Tesco Mobile
  • Do not have the best coverage even though they are part of the O2 network (I've had some periods of no texts coming through at all, some lasting 12 hours at a time).
  • Will transfer credit between accounts if you call them - you must know the current exact balance of the mobile you are transferring to, the last time it was topped up and by how much
  • You must ask for an itemised receipt (as they say in their booklet) and you must also tell your dentist you are with Denplan (they only tell you this right at the last minute on the Claim Form)

  • Are useless at changing your registered debit/credit card address


  • Will not give you a free webcam if you ask for it after over a year that you opened your account
  • May end up sending all of the trustees in your trust account a change of address notification letter if you alone change address


  • Discount is not valid in the mornings until 10am weekdays (the rush hour)
  • Will be checked for their expiry dates so make sure you always replace your old one as soon as the new one arrives

Some retail stores (e.g. Boots)
  • May over-charge you even if it has been marked down - ALWAYS speak to the assistant first so you don't get over-charged. You have a right to may the lower price because otherwise it is false advertising.
  • May give you the wrong change back and will refuse to correct your change after you have left the counter


  • Are not liable to make sure you get a freezer if the house does not come with one already


  • Will not do anything about a button that has fallen off your jacket after you have bought it because you have "worn it"

  • Do not do jacket button repairs

TV Licensing

  • Will let you register your household as not needing a TV licence if you fill out the form on their website. The correct criteria is, if you do not use a device to watch TV as it is being broadcast (e.g. live) then you do not need a TV licence - you can specify if you only use your computer/TV for video games only.

  • Have gotten smaller
  • Will send you a voucher for a free pack of Pringles if you find a Pringle that has been stuck to the bottom of their fryer and looks disgusting and you send them a letter telling them it could be dangerous to children
  • Will send you a letter with a voucher for £5 off Kellogs if you find a lump of sugar in a pack of Crunchy Nut and send it in to them and write them a letter telling them how it could be dangerous to children
Student Finance England

  • Will not give you a grant if you do not tick the box on the online application form if you do not choose to share your information with your university

  • Will refund you in full if an issue escalates beyond normal email (you should always email the seller first)
Amazon.co.uk Sellers

  • Will not refund you if you submit negative comments on your order with them and then they ask you to remove your comments as collateral - instead they win by getting their negative comments removed and you not getting your money back because this is not monitored by Amazon
Cartridge People

  • May send you incompatible printer cartridges even though they look exactly the same as the correct ones but will send you replacements if you email them.
Thames Water

  • Will refund if you have to pay for a period longer than your contract at a property as long as you call them no longer than 20 days before you leave the property and tell them you are moving
Books Direct

  • Will send you a load of shit books that they then ask you to pay for, if you order a book through their website in order to activate TrialPay for some online program or "deal"


  • Will continue to send you scratched rental DVDs even if it is beyond your 1 month free period and their website will refuse to load the page that allows you to cancel your subscription with them

  • May cover you under warranty if your computer has a fault if you count your warranty starting from the day that the item arrived at its destination (rather than their sneaky assumption that it starts from the day you order it)

Driving examiners

  • Will tell you that waiting at a junction because you cannot see the traffic lights to the left of you because there is traffic in the way is hesitation because you are not "reading the road"


  • Will tell you to eat less sugary and acidic foods even though your Doctor will tell you to eat more fruit and vegetables which have acidic foods and sugar in them