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