The UK Government have revealed how much they have loaned university students this academic year.
Student Loans Company (SLC), the Department of Educations (DoE) loan provider, recently announced that they have loaned £5.3 billion to university students this year.
But university wasn’t always this expensive. In 2010, the university fee system was reformed, resulting in a rise in tuition fees from £3225 a year, to £9,250 a year.
What do current students think about the price they are paying for university?
Emily is a final year student at Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) studying Politics and American Studies.
She believes tuition fees should be cut for students, saying: “I don’t believe the education we receive is worth the money that we pay for tuition. First of all we pay three payments but only get two terms worth of work.”
Talking about high interest rates on repaying her student loan, she adds: “It probably deters some people from going into certain jobs or careers because they will earn less when taking into account payments to pay back loans”.
I’m not really an expert but this doesn’t promote a good work force or good economy. I’m not sure they should be scraped completely but a reduction is definitely needed.Emily – CCCU Student, studying Politics & American Studies.
Jake is also a final year university student at the University of Kent (UoK) studying Journalism.
He supports a reduction in tuition fees, saying: “The government already decided that graduates have to pay off their loans even sooner. How are post grads going to be able to do that, when the job market is the way it is?”
It’s unreasonable for it to be that much money, and while the strikes that professors have had over the years are important and essential, it also impacts our learning. Also with uni, you’re not just going for an education, you’re also going for the experience and culture of it.Jake – Journalism student at the UoK
When asked how universities could recoup for the losses if fees for students were to be cut, he believes that “the rich” should be taxed more.
Could cutting fees be harmful to students and universities?
Lorna Finlayson teaches philosophy at the University of Essex and she told The Guardian that making cuts to what students pay for university wouldn’t solve anything.
She claimed that if tuition fees were lowered, it wouldn’t necessarily produce any financial benefit for students, as many will end up paying the same amount out of a reduced notional total.
It will squeeze universities, which will recoup lost income however they can, most likely through hikes to already eye-watering rents for student accommodation.Lorna Finlayson tells The Guardian
The question also draws back to a debate in 2019 where the Government, led by Theresa May at the time, made an informal proposition of lowering university fees to £7,500 a year.
Many university boards showed concern at this idea, saying it would negatively effect them.
The Russell Group of universities told the BBC, at the time of this report in 2019, that they would need a cast-iron guarantee that any funding lost through student loans would be replaced accordingly.