Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Tuition Fees

So, it looks like tuition fees for university places are set to increase.

Of course, this was inevitable. The number have people attending university has risen sharply - figures from the ONS show that the number of enrolments at university has increased from 1.9million in 1997/1998 to nearly 2.4million in 2008/2009, which is an increase of over 26%.

So, the big debate is on how to fund all theses extra places. The Lib Dems have touted the idea of a 'Graduate Tax', which has been supported by Labour - basically taxing people at a higher rate once they've graduated, depending on their income. The Tories want to avoid additional taxation, and increase tuition fees instead.

Nobody has actually suggested a third alternative. Here's one.

Reduce the number of university places.

We have too many people going to university. Many of the subjects on offer do not require a degree course. Many of them, are quite frankly, completely fucking useless. I mean, seriously. What use is a degree in American Studies? Or Dance? Or Creative Expressive Therapies? Or Fashion Design? Or Football Studies?

After going up to 'F' on the UCAS website, I lost the will to carry on. I'm sure that there is a demand for the many subjects on offer, and I'm sure there are job prospects attached to them, but do they all really require a Degree course? Do the students really need to attend a university in order to gain that knowledge? Or could such knowledge be delivered via further education institutions such as sixth forms and colleges instead?

 Does everyone really need a degree?

So, I suggest a curb on university places, and on the types of course on offer, returning to an emphasis of 'on-the-job' training, apprenticeships and further education. This will significantly ease the funding burden. Payment for degree courses should be partially by tuition fees, and partially by State funding. And the level of State funding should be determined by the requirement for the qualified graduate in the labour market. The Government should offer financial incentives to run courses which are relevant and required in society, not those which are necessarily hugely popular with students. If you really feel the burning desire to study Football at university, that's fine - but don't expect the taxpayer to pay for it.