UK students have seen significant increases in university tuition fees in the past years. This has started widespread debate across undergraduates in the country: Is a university degree worth it?
UNIfied’s Adam Pond weighs in on the topic…
I am a first year creative writing student who currently pays £9,250 per annum for my course at Canterbury Christ Church University. From the 12th of December 2018 to the 28th January 2019, I have no seminars or lectures scheduled. This is about a month and half worth of education I am paying for but not receiving.
To be exact, despite having no lectures, this is costing me £1,275. Additionally, over my small class of 30 people – we are being charged a total of £38,257 for nearly two months of nothing. No lectures, no seminars. Nothing.
This is a truly terrifying figure.
When discussing this with a friend of mine, he said that the extravagant cost goes towards new buildings (that cost millions), some advertising and so forth. But why am I personally paying for this? I am offering money in exchange for a product, which is education. When buying a product such as a hamburger from McDonald’s, I would not be expected to pay £20 for a hamburger under the premise they are setting up four new stores in Leeds…or a more fitting example, I would not be expected to pay £1,275 for a hamburger with a bite taken out of it.
Canterbury Christ Church University currently has around 17,000 students all paying roughly the same rate per year which is £9,250. This is apart from part time students paying £4,625, who account for 32% of the 17,000 students.
Putting these to figures together, the university makes roughly around £132,090,000. This does not include other forms of revenue such as accommodation in university halls. In every university across the country, these extortionate rates are being charged to the UK government, which is losing billions in taxpayer money as a result, given that 75% of students will not fully pay back their student loans.
Students need higher maintenance loans
My current financial situation is not brilliant, I’m living off old pasta that my mum bought me when I moved in. And I’m also struggling to put together next month’s rent money. Yet, I still have to buy my own textbooks, and pay to use the printer. Most, if not all, of the students I know are incredibly poor. Surely some of this money would do better kicked back to the students as a maintenance loan.
I do not get the full maintenance loan. But even my friends who do have the full maintenance loan, struggle to live off it without work. This could be due to growing costs of living such as rent (which is particularly expensive if your a first year students living in halls). If you think universities are helping you out by providing cheap accommodation, your very misinformed, the result of a Freedom of Information request by the University of East Anglia’s student union found that more than 20 higher education institutes raked in more than £1000 per bed space per year in profit alone.
Food bank for students
A growing number of students cannot afford rent and food, when I was discussing this with a security guard at Petros Court (accommodation halls in Canterbury), she told me about the food bank for CCCU students who cannot afford to eat. Initially it shocked me, but listening to everyone I know talk about overdrafts chewing away at their empty bank accounts, or bank accounts with just a few pennies in them to last them the week, can this really surprise me?
Universities overcharge the government for their services – then students do NOT receive the minimum living income. It feels like the government debt racks up, universities get rich, and students suffer by finding it difficult to live at uni. They struggle to find work after education, over 40% of students do not get grad level jobs upon leaving university. Ultimately, they then struggle to pay back the loan causing long term damage to the government.