/ Labour 'pledge' to scrap tuition fees, now just an 'ambition'

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Jim C - on 09 Jul 2017

Will the young who supported his recent all things to all men manifesto feel cheated by Corbyn as his promises unravel even before he has won office?

"It will cost £100bn to fulfil Jeremy Corbyn’s aim of scrapping current student debt, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary has admitted.

Angela Rayner said the policy remained an “ambition” because Labour does not know how it could be funded."

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-tuition-fees-student-debt-angela-rayner-univers...
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cragtaff - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to Jim C:

They will promise anything if it gets the young vote.
9
Toby_W on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to Jim C:

I agree with scrapping tuition fees but it was never going to be possible/affordable now 50% of people can go to uni. The should provide grants for needed subjects and a quota of arts and perhaps use lottery funding for some arts sports and the rest are loans.

That to me seems sensible, I think?

Toby
3
stevieb - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to Toby_W:

Despite having four kids who may go to university, I think some level of self funding / loans is acceptable for tuition fees.
But at the current level, most students will never pay them off, so the government will be handing over large amounts of cash (in 33 years time) to the private banks to pay for the defaults. The bank will be pocketing up to 3% over inflation every year for the term of the loan.
Once the total debt to students (maintenance and fees) is much over £25k, then almost all of the additional fees go to the private banks.
FactorXXX - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to Jim C:

Angela Rayner said the policy remained an “ambition” because Labour does not know how it could be funded."

Does that mean that Corbyn's boast about the Manifesto being funded is a load of rubbish then?
5
elsewhere on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to cragtaff:

> They will promise anything if it gets the young vote.

Give the kids a break, their taxes pay for the pension triple lock.
2
Lion Bakes on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to cragtaff:

> They will promise anything if it gets the young vote.

Did they promise lie in and free beer for students?
2
Jim C - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to elsewhere:

> Give the kids a break, their taxes pay for the pension triple lock.

I only hope that they keep it up for 8 years more until I can claim my state pension.
( to this end I have contributed 3 children to pay the necessary taxes;)
Jim C - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to FactorXXX:

> Angela Rayner said the policy remained an “ambition” because Labour does not know how it could be funded."

> Does that mean that Corbyn's boast about the Manifesto being funded is a load of rubbish then?

I think it was Said to be 'Fully Funded' , more like ' Fooly funded '
The Labour Party are panicking, they might actually find themselves in power with that manifesto as a millstone round it's neck, they are now going to u turn on it, and this is the first policy to bite the dust.

So yes, it was a load of rubbish.
8
Jim C - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to Toby_W:

> I agree with scrapping tuition fees but it was never going to be possible/affordable now 50% of people can go to uni. The should provide grants for needed subjects and a quota of arts and perhaps use lottery funding for some arts sports and the rest are loans.

> That to me seems sensible, I think?

> Toby

Keeps my youngest in a job at least
( she works for the Students loan company ;)

However, the post is not about the rights or wrongs of the policy Toby , it is about the rights or wrongs of pledging to scrap fees, which is now been changed to be an 'ambition' now that the votes have been counted.
2
Toby_W on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to Jim C:

Sorry.

How dare they, I suppose they're practicing for government by doing a bit of u turn training ;-)

Toby

1
wbo - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to Jim C: that's not what she said. That refers to outstanding debt

MonkeyPuzzle - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to FactorXXX:

> Angela Rayner said the policy remained an “ambition” because Labour does not know how it could be funded."

> Does that mean that Corbyn's boast about the Manifesto being funded is a load of rubbish then?

It wasn't in the manifesto.
Stichtplate on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to stevieb:
Whether it is student loans, PFI, privatisation of utilities or government agencies like MOD procurement, all this stuff is framed for public consumption as hard nosed schemes ,harnessing market forces in the service of the taxpayer.

Always seems to turn out more expensive, no more efficient and great for private businesses.

Edit: labour and conservative governments seem equally culpable in this regard.
Post edited at 19:52
1
L bearman68 - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to Jim C:

'The young' as a group are NOT thinking about the Corbyn agenda, and voting for a man who has no economic credibility at all, and is promising a future that cannot possibly exist.
But hey ho, good that university teaches us to think eh?
5
Pursued by a bear - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to Jim C:

The policy, like every other one proposed by the Labour party, will remain an ambition until they are elected to govern.

Which rather deflates argument. Feel free to grumble if you must but it does become an essentially hypothetical exercise.

T.
1
Graeme Alderson on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to cragtaff:

Whereas the Tories will promise anything to get the bigot vote.
14
MonkeyPuzzle - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to bearman68:

> 'The young' as a group are NOT thinking about the Corbyn agenda, and voting for a man who has no economic credibility at all, and is promising a future that cannot possibly exist.

> But hey ho, good that university teaches us to think eh?

Maybe you can patronise them into voting Conservative.
2
veteye on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to Jim C:

> ( to this end I have contributed 3 children to pay the necessary taxes;)

So you have contributed to the lag effect greater social funding problem when your children in old age, get dementia and need to go into a home etc......

(The same argument holds against using immigrants to care for us in nursing and in nursing homes etc, as who looks after the immigrants when they become dependent in old age?)
Coel Hellier - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to stevieb:
> ... so the government will be handing over large amounts of cash (in 33 years time) to the private banks to pay for the defaults. The bank will be pocketing up to 3% over inflation every year for the term of the loan.

I don't think that's true. It's the government that funds the loans up-front, not private banks. So if the loan is not repaid, the government simply doesn't get the money, but the government does not have to pay off any private banks,

Edit: The government does have a policy of selling off the student loan book to banks, but the terms of student repayment and the fact that it ends after 30 years are factored into the deal and are taken into account in how much the banks buy the debt for. So, again, the government doesn't then have to make good the balance at the end.
Post edited at 22:14
andyfallsoff - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I think that's right (subject to your caveat) although it isn't easy to find the info on the terms of the sale so I am not 100%. However the upshot of the government selling the loan book without a guarantee is that the buyers will have purchased them at a discount to face value to factor in the likelihood of non payment, so there is still a cost to the public (but it would be upfront not deferred)
stevieb - on 09 Jul 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:
Thanks, I was mistaken in who originally lends the money, though the old loans are now being privatised at a time when the govt can borrow money at almost no cost. https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.ft.com/content/ab80561e-edfc-11e6-930f-061b01e23655
It's reasonable to assume that more debt sales are intended, since this is the second.

And yes, the govt doesn't make good. Risk of loan default is factored into the sale price, which is why the first tranche was sold for £150m when many valued it at up to £900m.

But there is still a big problem with the debt levels. Even a student starting on 40000 and working solidly for 30 years will probably not pay off the current debts. Estimates are that 75% of new students will never pay off their loans, and in many cases will owe more at the end of the loan than at the start.
Post edited at 23:41
Baron Weasel - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to Jim C:

Tory smears

next
Ian McIntosh - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to Jim C

The 'ambition' is referring to the scrapping of all student debt.

She wasn't saying scrapping tuition fees was now an 'ambition'.

Read the link you posted.....
Iceblink - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to Jim C:

> Will the young who supported his recent all things to all men manifesto feel cheated by Corbyn as his promises unravel even before he has won office?

> "It will cost £100bn to fulfil Jeremy Corbyn’s aim of scrapping current student debt, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary has admitted.

> Angela Rayner said the policy remained an “ambition” because Labour does not know how it could be funded."

This wasn't in the manifesto. What are you talking about?
You are getting confused with scrapping student debt and scrapping tuition fees.


ads.ukclimbing.com
Iceblink - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to FactorXXX:

> Angela Rayner said the policy remained an “ambition” because Labour does not know how it could be funded."

> Does that mean that Corbyn's boast about the Manifesto being funded is a load of rubbish then?

It wasn't in the manifesto..... she was referring to total existing student debt not tuition fees.
FactorXXX - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

It wasn't in the manifesto.

Apologies, it wasn't.
However, it was quite obviously used by Corbyn to garner support from the younger voting demographic and one only has to look at the post voting stats to see that it worked.
Corbyn has constantly put over this image of being a 'different' type of politician, a man of integrity and honesty. The truth is different, he'll promise anything for political advantage and has become the very sort of politician that he says he despises.
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Big Ger - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to Iceblink:

“And I don’t see why those that had the historical misfortune to be at university during the £9,000 period should be burdened excessively compared to those that went before or those that come after. I will deal with it.”

J Corbyn esq, in an interview with the NME.
2
FactorXXX - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to Iceblink:

It wasn't in the manifesto..... she was referring to total existing student debt not tuition fees.

It wasn't in the manifesto, but it was quite strongly suggested by Corbyn in the Election Campaign that Labour would 'somehow' make it happen. It now transpires, that this isn't actually the case.
A case of Corbyn using political bluffs to gain votes perhaps?
4
MonkeyPuzzle - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to FactorXXX:

And you can track his support from the young vote before and after he stated he wanted to drop the student debt? Young people respond to positive messages and even many Conservatives agree that they were offering nothing in terms of positivity to anyone, let alone young voters.
1
summo on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:
He used a play on words by not quite differentiating between futures loan and old debt.

The student vote because of these statements must have swung it massively. The lib dems not managing to stop the Tory expansion of Labour tuition fees during their coalition, is still cited by many as the reason why the lib dems lost so many votes in 2015.
Post edited at 07:33
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gribble - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to Jim C:

To be fair, I understood the labour pledge during the election that it would scrap fees, not outstanding loans. I have an outstanding loan, that's for me to deal with. I have a daughter who I would like to have the option of being able to go to university without an unfeasibly huge debt. Perhaps there are many of us who took this unselfish stance of thinking about the next generation?
Coel Hellier - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to stevieb:

> But there is still a big problem with the debt levels. Even a student starting on 40000 and working solidly for 30 years will probably not pay off the current debts.

So effectively it has turned into a 9% tax for a period of 30 years, for everyone going to university (and over a certain earnings threshold). But those oppose to tuition fees want it to be paid for by taxation, don't they?

So what is the problem with the system we're evolving into? Do people want the half of the population that don't go to university and don't benefit from it also to pay tax for it? Or are they wanting a new band higher than 9% for higher earners? Or are they wanting previous generations of students to pay also?
Babika - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Or are they wanting previous generations of students to pay also?

As a person who benefitted from free University, and had a professional career open only to graduates with a commensurate salary, I have no problem with paying a slightly higher tax rate, or a more graduated tax rate. I don't feel that this is just an issue for todays very unlucky students and my heart sinks at the thought of them paying an extra 9% for life while millions of the rest of us older graduates sit pretty.
L bearman68 - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

That radical right wing stuff (or as some people call it "realism") will never catch on around here!

Labour should obviously give everyone a house as well. If a student earning 40k from day 1 can't repay a student debt, (about 2% of their earnings, excluding any inflation or salary rises), how will they pay for a house.
Oh, and kids are expensive to, and I could do with new tyres on my car.
3
PeakDJ on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to Jim C:

Not directly related to the Labour pledge, but I find it amazing that I, as a UK citizen, could hop across to Germany and do a degree (mostly in English), paying no tuition fees. I have to pay in the UK, but not in Germany, even as a foreigner.
summo on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:
I see the problem being that the number of places and subjects being offered is almost entirely university led. But they aren't the employers of the students nor funders of the courses. I see a better solution being;

Free university education
Subjects and no. Of places on offer decided by a board of say 20 people from all fields.
Uni are awarded the funding for x number of students based on their performance.
Revision of the A levels so unis can once again filter those most suitable.

BUT something similar needs to happen with apprenticeships and vocational quals.
Post edited at 08:37
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jkarran - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to Jim C:

> "It will cost £100bn to fulfil Jeremy Corbyn’s aim of scrapping current student debt, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary has admitted.
> Angela Rayner said the policy remained an “ambition” because Labour does not know how it could be funded."

She's talking about abolishing existing student debt (cost £100Bn minus 1/3rd that already gets written off so £66Bn, still a big number), not about abolishing tuition fees (cost £9.5Bn). I'll assume your thread title is an honest mistake and not intended to mislead.
jk
summo on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to jkarran:

What about those who have already repaid some?
Coel Hellier - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to jkarran:

> She's talking about abolishing existing student debt (cost £100Bn minus 1/3rd that already gets written off so £66Bn, still a big number), not about abolishing tuition fees (cost £9.5Bn)

. . . per year? And thus comparable in cost over 7 years?
Coel Hellier - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to summo:

> I see the problem being that the number of places and subjects being offered is almost entirely university led.

Or more like student led. Universities will offer whichever courses attract students, since taking on students is what gets them money.

Which means that a vast tranche of public money gets spent according to the priorities of 17-yr-olds.
stevieb - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to bearman68:

> That radical right wing stuff (or as some people call it "realism") will never catch on around here!

> Labour should obviously give everyone a house as well. If a student earning 40k from day 1 can't repay a student debt, (about 2% of their earnings, excluding any inflation or salary rises), how will they pay for a house.

Can you let me know your finance provider.
If you can service a £44000 debt running at 6.1% for only 2% of the take home pay from £40k, then I will happily take out a loan with them. That's the sort of realism I like.
summo on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> Or more like student led. Universities will offer whichever courses attract students, since taking on students is what gets them money.

If the government / tax payers is funding it, then people study what the work place requires?


> Which means that a vast tranche of public money gets spent according to the priorities of 17-yr-olds.

Their priorities yes, but the average 17yr old filling out his UCAS form has no idea what the work place needs.
Post edited at 09:37
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wintertree - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to stevieb:

> If you can service a £44000 debt running at 6.1% for only 2% of the take home pay from £40k, then I will happily take out a loan with them. That's the sort of realism I like.

You might try the Student Loan Company? Repayments are a fixed percentage of income above a threshold level.

http://www.studentloanrepayment.co.uk

Very few people seem to understand the big differences between a student loan and basically any other form of financing. Basically a student loan can never be a crippling expense as repayments are at most a small fraction of income and unpaid capital is written off eventually instead of resulting in a visit from the repo men.
neilh - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to bearman68:
My daughter has just graduated with a 1st in computer science ( only 5 of her year of 100 were women).

her debt will be about £45,000.

She has already started her first job on £30k.

The student loan will cost her approx £68 a month.

Quite honestly it can easily be afforded and is not stupid burden. the scheme is flexible enough to cater for the ups and downs of life.

There are alot of things the govt can easily spend £100bn on ( wage rises for nurses, social care ) which are far more important.

I really do not understand the fuss.
Post edited at 09:45
2
BnB - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to jkarran:

> She's talking about abolishing existing student debt (cost £100Bn minus 1/3rd that already gets written off so £66Bn, still a big number), not about abolishing tuition fees (cost £9.5Bn). I'll assume your thread title is an honest mistake and not intended to mislead.

I recognised the same distinction. However, the figure of £100bn (or £66bn) is growing by nearly £9.5bn pa as the 10-20 year old debts being repaid at the mature end of the loan aren't anything like as large as those being accumulated since the rise in fees to £9k pa.

This is just another impossible "ambition" in a long and growing list of voter bribes. More to the point it's not clear how asking non-graduate taxpayers to bail out the wealthier half of society would balance inequality. What are your thoughts on that?

By the way I'm not suggesting the Tories are beyond making challenging promises with their "ambitions" for deficit reduction and immigration targets. These are vote grabbers, true, but not bribes by any stretch of the imagination.
3
jkarran - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to BnB:

> This is just another impossible "ambition" in a long and growing list of voter bribes. More to the point it's not clear how asking non-graduate taxpayers to bail out the wealthier half of society would balance inequality. What are your thoughts on that?

It simply isn't impossible, you may think it unpalatable, fine, but that's very different to impossible. If it's possible for what, 5% or so of the population with that very high (£9k pa fees, 6% compound interest in a time of zero inflation) debt burden to pay it back it's also possible for the rest of us, the 80% of the population who pay tax to do so.

I think everyone benefits from education and from living in an educated society, even those that don't pursue it to the highest levels. I think a progressive tax system that taxes success not opportunity resolves your concern about the lower educated, lower earners bearing undue burden.

Convince me its possible for an individual to pay off their debt but impossible for 4-5 individuals, some of whom will have already benefited from socialised funding of tertiary education to share and pay off that debt.
jk
1
andyfallsoff - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to Jim C:

Can't we just work towards a middling system (maybe like the one before, with £3k fees and lower interest, plus some but not full govt funding for universities?

Main reasons being:

1. I don't see why it is fair that students should be saddled with a debt that far exceeds the government's own cost of borrowing - if the aim of the fees is to cover costs, then they should do that - and not need an additional profit from the interest. The suggestion is that the higher rate was needed so that they could be securitised (i.e. sold), which means this is just an extra profit on students to be paid to the private sector. As such, this doesn't even pay for the education - if so, is that fair?

2. keeping the amounts lower means this is more in the character of a debt - something that most hard working grads can aspire to repay. Psychologically, I think that is a good thing.

3. I don't see an issue in some state funding of universities. We all benefit from having a better educated, better trained workforce - those grads will go on to do higher paying jobs (on average) in any event, and having a strong university system is one of this country's strongest export industries.
stevieb - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to wintertree:

I understand the fundamentals of the student loan from the consumer point of view. And for someone earning £40000, repayments would be well over 4% (£1710), and interest would currently be running at 6.1% (CPI + 3%). So I don't know where 2% of pay comes from. Interest payments will double the repayment amount (interest is lower for lower earners after graduation but still above CPI)
For comparison, I can currently get a £25k unsecured loan (so no repo men) at a fixed 2.9% for 7 years.
I think student loans only make sense now, on the basis that your debt will be written off.

As I said, much higher up, I agree with the principle of some tuition fees, but the massive increase in tuition fees from £3k to £9k has generated massive debts for students, but not saved the government very much, because they have had to calculate much higher default levels.
stevieb - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to andyfallsoff:

I think you've put my view in a much better way than I have
ads.ukclimbing.com
neilh - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to stevieb:
£1710 a year.£142.50 a month.

£40 k. That is £3333 gross a month.

So their pay would reduce to £3190 gross a month.

For somebody on £40k they can afford this.

That is the counter argument.

The fact that they get an annual statement showing the loan and what has been repaid is the phsycological issue.

It would be better just rebranded as a tax for 30 odd years.This is in effect what it is.
Post edited at 10:55
1
stevieb - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to neilh:

Yes, it is affordable, but as you say, and as Andy says higher, it becomes an extra tax, as it is incredibly difficult to pay it off. For 90+% of students this level of debt will remain for 25-30 years. The fact that the loan will never be repaid will also encourage career breaks, working abroad etc. (People working abroad are still liable, but to date there has never been a court case in a foreign court)
I must be missing something, because as far as I can tell, a student coming out with £45000 debt would need to earn over £50000 for the repayments to be more than the 6.1% interest (£2745) (lower earners will be paying 4.1 or 5.1% but with much lower repayments).
Iceblink - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

> “And I don’t see why those that had the historical misfortune to be at university during the £9,000 period should be burdened excessively compared to those that went before or those that come after. I will deal with it.”

> J Corbyn esq, in an interview with the NME.

Indeed. A long way from an explicit pledge in a manifesto to clear £100 mill of debt.
1
neilh - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to stevieb:

I just do not have a problem with it. All the govt is doing is showing how these things are financed, but in a very blunt and crude way.

Just view it as a tax that remains for 30 years.
1
Irk the Purist - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to neilh:

Student loans are taken from net pay
krikoman - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to Jim C:

You've conflated two separate issues, to be honest, the title of your thread "scrap tuition fees" then has a link to "abolishing student debt " these aren't the same thing.

As regards tuition fees, I'd prefer to live in a society where education is open to all. charging fees puts a lot of people off, and if nothing else teaches these that take it up how do live with debt, rather than how to live within your means.

I think education benefits all of society and free education, whoever you are and what ever age your is, is something we should be striving for.

I'd like my doctors and politicians of the future to come from a wide range of society, not just one's that could afford to go to university. Why should the privileged be the only one's to benefit?
Coel Hellier - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to krikoman:

> I'd like my doctors and politicians of the future to come from a wide range of society, not just one's that could afford to go to university. Why should the privileged be the only one's to benefit?

Since tuition fees came in, the fraction of people from less-well-off backgrounds going to university has *increased*. That's because they only start paying any money for tuition fees after graduation, after they've started working, and once they have a salary above £21,000. After that the payments are set a rate they can afford (9% of the extra *above* the £21,000 threshold).

Thus it is not the case that only "the privileged" can "afford to go". There are good reasons to critique tuition fees, but it would be good if critics did not misrepresent the system.

Second, I'd hope that doctors and politicians come from the top of the ability range. I think everyone agrees that society benefits from the top 20% of the cohort getting a university education.

What is a lot less clear is whether society benefits from those 35% to 45% down the ability range studying at university, as oppose to learning through experience and through continuing education and apprenticeships while working.
1
neilh - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to Irk the Purist:

Deducted from taxable earnings, so gross.

There are pre 2012 schemes where what you say might be correct.
L bearman68 - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Ah there you go again, using real figure to support and develop an argument. (You'd be much better off relying on your political preconceptions).

It's clear that firstly adopting fees, and then increasing fees has increased the number of students in University. (Counter initiative, but there you go). Equally in Scotland, where government pay student fees, the number of Scottish students going to university has fallen.
So if you want lot's of people to go to university, increase the prices. Perhaps because we are short of Drs and engineers, we should specifically select those subjects for price increases.
(Actually that's not so daft as it seems, because engineering in particular is a difficult and expensive subject to teach, and if universities are correctly costing their 'product' it would be in their interests to shrink the engineering departments. (Oh has this happened already, what a surprise)
Coel Hellier - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to bearman68:

> Perhaps because we are short of Drs and engineers, we should specifically select those subjects for price increases.

The government does indeed give universities extra funding to teach subjects such as engineering. Training for medical doctors is capped and restricted by the government because it is so expensive.
Big Ger - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to Iceblink:

> Indeed. A long way from an explicit pledge in a manifesto to clear £100 mill of debt.

Yes well, we cannot expect St Corbyn to be explicit in his lunacy can we?
6
krikoman - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Since tuition fees came in, the fraction of people from less-well-off backgrounds going to university has *increased*. That's because they only start paying any money for tuition fees after graduation, after they've started working, and once they have a salary above £21,000. After that the payments are set a rate they can afford (9% of the extra *above* the £21,000 threshold).

I'd argue that it's not the fees that have created the rise in university student, but the need for a degree for almost any decent job, and the perception that without a degree you almost doomed. This is especially true since the "craft" route to Engineering and management was dismantled in the 80's

> Thus it is not the case that only "the privileged" can "afford to go". There are good reasons to critique tuition fees, but it would be good if critics did not misrepresent the system.

It's not that they can't afford, it's the reliance on debt afterwards, if you are rich then it's not a problem.

> Second, I'd hope that doctors and politicians come from the top of the ability range. I think everyone agrees that society benefits from the top 20% of the cohort getting a university education.

Me too, that was my point, if tuition fees are going to put people off going then it's not an even spread of the population, it'll be the people who can afford it who end up getting educated.

> What is a lot less clear is whether society benefits from those 35% to 45% down the ability range studying at university, as oppose to learning through experience and through continuing education and apprenticeships while working.

A little harder to do since the likes of the EITB and other training schemes were abandoned.

But besides that, do you not think society benefits from having better educated people within it? I agree it's hard to quantify, but surely a more knowledgeable populous is a good thing. It might not even be the subject matter they are knowledgeable in that helps, but an ability to research, of simply study, which may help not just themselves but their children, friends or work colleagues.

1
krikoman - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to bearman68:

> (Actually that's not so daft as it seems, because engineering in particular is a difficult and expensive subject to teach, and if universities are correctly costing their 'product' it would be in their interests to shrink the engineering departments. (Oh has this happened already, what a surprise)

Why is it difficult and expensive to teach? It's no more difficult than most other subjects as for expensive, why?
3
Irk the Purist - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to neilh:

Sorry. Brevity corrupted my message. Calculated on gross but slightly misleading to illustrate as a change to gross.

My student loan deductions are about 8% of net pay.

It's my experience that people from a wide spectrum of backgrounds believe student loan repayments are affordable and inconsequential. The one thing they all have in common is that they haven't had to pay one.

I am 35. I have a good salary and a professional career but I am still paying off my loan from 2004. I have a young family and my loan deductions are considerably more than my disposable income each month.

They are about equal to my council tax. They are three times my monthly energy bill. They are about 2.5 weeks food bills. They are a massive burden and that's the pre-2012 terms.

andyfallsoff - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to neilh:

It's taken from (and calculated on the basis of) gross earnings, but it doesn't change your tax code so you don't get tax relief on it.
andyfallsoff - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

> Yes well, we cannot expect St Corbyn to be explicit in his lunacy can we?

This is brilliant. Your anti-Corbyn mania reaches new heights... Ah ha! What a cunning plan from him! He hasn't actually said the things you are berating him for, because that's how sneaky he is!
neilh - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to andyfallsoff:
Best thing to do is to listen to what Martin Lewis says about student loans . Even though he is not a big fan of the idea , he destroys a lot of the myths around the costs and issues. Well worth listening to.

Martin Lewis looks at student finance
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40563151
1
andyfallsoff - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to neilh:

Thanks, I'll try and look at that when I get a chance.

As I state above, I am coming round to the idea that some student finance isn't a terrible thing. However the present system doesn't work on a number of grounds - it's regressive (those who can fund upfront pay least; those who earn lots also pay less due to paying off and hence lower total interest; those who can't ever pay it off but are above the repayment threshold pay most).

Many of my objections would be countered (at least in part) if the interest wasn't so high, but 6.1% is punitive - it's this interest element that brings most of the unfairness into the system.

The question of what the amount of the fees should be in the first place is almost a separate point.
paul__in_sheffield - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to krikoman:
> Why is it difficult and expensive to teach? It's no more difficult than most other subjects as for expensive, why?

I was lucky enough to found a university School of Engineering on a greenfield site. Just the cost of setting up and maintaining the teaching laboratories was eye watering, plus factoring in technician support, lab consumables etc. Add in huge multi user software licenses for CAD, FEA and Matlab etc., plus making the delivery accreditable for IMechE etc. Same for applied sciences. I could have knocked out humanities or social science for a tenth of the price.
Edit,
Forgot that individual and group projects are mandatory throughout undergrad and postgrad programmes and have high associated costs..consumables, equipment etc
Post edited at 10:23
neilh - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to andyfallsoff:

Martyn Lewis destroys this view on the interest rate being high and unfair.

It is well worth a listen.
andyfallsoff - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to neilh:
Thanks - I have now listened but my points above still stand. (Interestingly, a direct quote from Martin at the start of the podcast - "I don't support the interest [rate] and I don't support the system".)

His whole point revolves around the fact that there is a set repayment ratio, so higher debt doesn't mean higher repayments *in a given year*, and for most, they may never pay it off. However,

1. all of the points I make above deal with the injustices that arise because some people can and do pay it all off, or pay for it upfront (so those better off people pay less overall), but many can't. (He doesn't deny this is the case - he explicitly acknowledges it, and says that some people will pay it off).

2. his argument rests on a logical fallacy - he says "the debt is waived after 30 years; IFS studies say 72% of people won't repay it within 30 years, so the amount of the debt and interest is irrelevant, because most people won't pay it off".

However, that stat - that 72% of people won't pay it off - is itself dependent on calculations made that depend on the amount of principal (and the amount of interest that accrues on it). If the amount of principal was lower, more people would be able to pay it off (obviously depending on the interest rate as well).

So his argument is dependent on an assumption which he then says doesn't matter. If the amount was lower, his argument would fall away - it only justifies why most people shouldn't worry if the notional fee amount was increased (they weren't going to pay it all off anyway, so it's irrelevant if over their lifetime what pay off is deemed to be e.g. 75% of 100k rather than 50% of £150k).

Also, none of this addresses the fact that the most well off will just pay up front for their children, and those individuals - those from absolutely the most well off backgrounds - will have paid the least.
Post edited at 11:42
summo on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to krikoman:

> Why is it difficult and expensive to teach? It's no more difficult than most other subjects as for expensive, why?

You think the resources needed for a student to produce 5000 words on a Shakespearean play are the same as a science, IT or engineering degree?
1
neilh - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to andyfallsoff:

He also says that it is a good system.( in so far as it goes)

I do not see why you are getting hung up about the well off.

You have to be seriously weatlhy to even consider paying off the loan early, as he says himself you need a serious amount of cash sitting there doing nothing to even warrant considering doing this.There are not in reality that many who can do this, and universities are not rammed full of them, far from the opposite I would suggest.

It is imho just a badly named product and should be rebranded and called a contribution tax.

krikoman - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to summo:
> You think the resources needed for a student to produce 5000 words on a Shakespearean play are the same as a science, IT or engineering degree?

Whoa, No one said anything about Science, Engineering was the term used!!
> "because engineering in particular is a difficult and expensive subject to teach"

OK so I'll give you, it might be more expensive to teach, than English literature.

Can you explain how it's more difficult than English literature?

Teaching me Engineering was relatively easy, but I can't say the same for English Lit.

What about Archaeology? Is that easy and cheaper to teach?
Post edited at 12:43
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wbo - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Jim C: couple of thoughts, esp. after reading Lord Adonis in the guardian today.
1. Should the government pay? Well the point that if the government shouldn't subsidise those who go to uni at the expense of those who don't is fair enough. But the arguments about affordability, social banding mean government support is absolutely necessary - the free market doesn't work here.
2. If it does, it will bite itself in the asre. The level of debt is very large coming out - these are supposed to be your next generation of premium consumers and house buyers, but with large amounts of debt they won't be. More economic stagnation.
3. All you're doing is moving government debt to private debt and growing it in the process. The country is still poorer , but see above, also the government has tools to reduce debt you or I don't (print money)

It might not be necessary for everyone in theory to have a degree, but in practice it's the new a level,, so if you know how to transform us back to 1980 let everyone in on the secret. Anyway you want the UK to be highly educated otherwise internationally you don't maintain a premium lifestyle

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summo on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to krikoman:

> Whoa, No one said anything about Science, Engineering was the term used!!

Ok, engineering. The only form of engineering that would require the same materials of reading and writing about Shakespeare would be origami. .

> Can you explain how it's more difficult than English literature?

Who said difficulty? We were talking about cost.

> Teaching me Engineering was relatively easy, but I can't say the same for English Lit.

Your point is?

> What about Archaeology? Is that easy and cheaper to teach?

Did I say it was ?

You seem to be trying to make this about how easy or difficult they are, everyone else is talking about cost.
neilh - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to krikoman:

Engineering or other materials sciences are expensive because of labs etc...I am sure you must recognise this.

Offwidth - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to wbo:
Its not just private debt though is it. A good proportion will be written off in the future by the taxpayer having grown by 6+% interest. Its feasible, given current low borrowing costs, that the government may end up paying more in real terms for the section written off than if it borrowed the money and funded a full no fee approach. The real problem is the way student loans have been handled since labour lost power is increasingly a scam: the debt continued to not appear on the UK government debt (so not affecting the holy grail of deficit reduction); they have now massively increased fees; worst still changed the terms of the repayment after the students signed the contract (I'm still not sure how this could be legal). They are literally pushing debt on our childrem for their degrees and have increased the future tax load on everyones children as well; all showing the full hypocrisy of the government approach compared to their rhetoric. Its a much bigger scandal than PFI's.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/08/dont-need-double-first-to-see-university-fundi...
Post edited at 13:35
andyfallsoff - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to neilh:
I don't recall him saying that - he leads by saying he doesn't support it, which I did notice! Could be confirmation bias if that is what I notice rather than the other, though. If I have more time later I may re-listen.

I'm getting hung up on the advantages the system gives the well off because of, well, fairness and equality and all that stuff. You yourself say it should be treated as a tax - but why then should we design a system that expressly favours the highest earners and makes them pay least?

You haven't said anything to counter the specific points I've made about the unfairness of the system... just that we shouldn't worry because you don't think many people are that rich. Which I don't buy as a reason driving public policy.
Post edited at 14:36
1
Coel Hellier - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to andyfallsoff:

> but why then should we design a system that expressly favours the highest earners and makes them pay least?

But we haven't. A tax of 9% of income above a threshold means that those with higher salaries will tend to pay more.
andyfallsoff - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:
See my post above. Sorry - I do accept that those who really never earn very much at all pay the least of all (but we're talking about people who never earn above 21k, I think?).

The current system means grads who earn more pay more up to a point, but those who earn more still are able to repay it all - so interest ceases to accrue for them, and the total they pay is less. Those who pay most are those who have slow earnings growth initially, so the interest increases the capital sum, but who never quite pay it off.

Those from the richest backgrounds can just pay the upfront cost (27k) and they then escape a lifetime of a 9% higher tax rate, giving them a further lifetime advantage over their peers from less wealthy backgrounds.

Is this what we want? A tax which particularly hits middle earners; so including most people who want to work hard and get a good job but aren't necessarily from a privileged background?
Post edited at 15:12
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neilh - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to andyfallsoff:
I do not think its a perfect system But the reality is that with something like 40% of 18 year olds going to university we have to think of a way of financing it. In respect of having well funded universities that certainly seems to be working. What's the alternative - taking money from other services such as social care. Putting up taxes across the board, so a large % of the population fund it...not sure that this is right.

The system rightly taxes graudates who start earning a reasonable income and you pay more the more you earn. I personally cannot fault that and as I said in one of my earleir posts my daughter will be hit and she has just graduated ( Thursday is graduation day) and got her first job with a starting salary of £30k.

What people do not like is that it is viewed as debt. That is the issue. Whover designed the system and thought of it as a loan /debt wants a good kick up the backside.
Post edited at 15:18
andyfallsoff - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to neilh:
> I do not think its a perfect system But the reality is that with something like 40% of 18 year olds going to university we have to think of a way of financing it. In respect of having well funded universities that certainly seems to be working. What's the alternative - taking money from other services such as social care. Putting up taxes across the board, so a large % of the population fund it...not sure that this is right.

> The system rightly taxes graudates who start earning a reasonable income and you pay more the more you earn. I personally cannot fault that and as I said in one of my earleir posts my daughter will be hit and she has just graduated ( Thursday is graduation day) and got her first job with a starting salary of £30k.

> What people do not like is that it is viewed as debt. That is the issue. Whover designed the system and thought of it as a loan /debt wants a good kick up the backside.

I agree with much ot that - most of my criticisms are around the fact that, as debt, it allows an unfair advantage to some.

However, I think if we acknowledged that calling it further income tax would mean that some high earning individuals could end up paying a marginal rate of nigh on 70% (including income tax, NI, withdrawal of personal allowance above 100k and student "tax") then most people would be horrified to see how highly we are taxing income.

If we aren't going to recover most of it anyway, why not make it a loan but set it at a level that is repayable for most; and (and this is where we differ) accept some government funding from tax. That will be progressive anyway as our tax system already taxes higher earners more, and I think that we as a society benefit from university education. Almost all other European countries seem able to afford it - why can't we?
Post edited at 15:23
wintertree - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to neilh:

> What's the alternative

Having a graduate tax where the total money taken over a career increases monotonocally with earnings, unlike the current tax (masquerading as a loan) that beyond a certain earnings level decreases the total money taken in relation to income.

It's that simple. Except people apparently would complain more about calling it a tax.
Post edited at 15:39
neilh - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to andyfallsoff:
If we set it at a level where most repay then we are looking at knocking the fees back to about £3k a year. There would be an uproar from the universites as where would their funding come from.

I do not think most people are to worried about the tax rates at the top end for those students who go above £100k a year.

I do not know enough about other European countries to understand how financing and selection for university works.Usually when you dig away at these things you find just as many problems from comparable sized countries to the UK.You may for example find you get it for free subject to tighter selection ( instinct tells me that in Germany alot more go to tech colleges and their future career is guided down that route rather than giving alot more personal freedom about the indivduals choice to follow a particular route at university).

The issue I have in all this is that 18 year olds are not turning away in droves from a Univeristy education.I think we would agree that any govt would be concerned if the numbers dramtically dropped off. Despite the loans issue, the numbers going are still strong.
Post edited at 16:04
andyfallsoff - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to neilh:

> If we set it at a level where most repay then we are looking at knocking the fees back to about £3k a year. There would be an uproar from the universites as where would their funding come from.

As I've said above - I think some public funding of universities is reasonable.

> I do not think most people are to worried about the tax rates at the top end for those students who go above £100k a year.

Probably not. Doesn't mean it is fair, though - and even if purely self-interested, people should exercise some care because the limits don't tend to be revised as / when average wages change. Do you remember a time when the 40% tax rate was only intended to apply to a very few people? More and more people crept into it...

> I do not know enough about other European countries to understand how financing and selection for university works.Usually when you dig away at these things you find just as many problems from comparable sized countries to the UK.You may for example find you get it for free subject to tighter selection ( instinct tells me that in Germany alot more go to tech colleges and their future career is guided down that route rather than giving alot more personal freedom about the indivduals choice to follow a particular route at university).

I would also support that approach to UK education - I think we're too uni focussed. Does it serve anyone's interest for everyone to go to uni?

> The issue I have in all this is that 18 year olds are not turning away in droves from a Univeristy education.I think we would agree that any govt would be concerned if the numbers dramtically dropped off. Despite the loans issue, the numbers going are still strong.

But is it helping anyone that they do? You mention Germany and technical colleges above - wouldn't it be better if we had an education system that offered more genuine choice, rather than everyone going to uni (which becomes self perpetuating - the more people go, the less anyone can afford to be left behind by not going). Once uni becomes a de facto necessity for participation in the jobs market, then the whole "grad tax" being an optional extra looks weak - and all of a sudden, our income tax rates shift to 49% and 54%, not even including NI.
Offwidth - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to neilh:
The problem people seem to be missing is the predicted end-point taxpayer cost is of the same order as that of no fees with the current fee structures: we have just dumped the debt (growing at 6%) that doesn't get paid by the students (ie probably most of it) on the future taxpayers (being off balance sheet wont change that). At 3k fees and the old lower interest rates it wasnt a major problem (most debt would be paid and the interest was less of an issue) but now it most certainly is. It's a brewing future debt scandal like PFI but much bigger.

All other EU countries have lower fees and more state funding (some have no fees). Most economic predictions seem to say investment in Universities is one the most productive uses of taxpayer monies. The US has a debt scandal already impacting on their economy.

This article on the US problem shows why things might be a lot more serious than some predict.

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/jun/26/student-debt-selective-statistics-crisis-misleading-da...
Post edited at 16:50
neilh - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

I agrre. the counter point is that government financing is probably done this way. No doubt there is some form of government bond or gilt financing it . Its just that this one is being done more openly and at a particular target group.So it focuses peoples attention on it.

Perhaps we should go back to the day when only 5% of that age group went to university and there were alot less places at Uni.If you want to try and sell that to those who have to be told-- no chance you are not good enough- then good luck as all I can say.I can just imagine the uproar.

The whole subject is a nightmare.

Meanwhile we do not turn out enough graduates in STEM subjects..as you and I both know.

Offwidth - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to neilh:
This 5% figure that people talk about is just plain daft (I'd expect better from you): we have more STEM graduates than that already in the UK and we desperately need more. If we need caps (I'm not at all convinced we do), I'd personally look at quotas for some subjects and anyone else wanting in who doesn't make the entry grade has to pay (with care taken for applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds who just miss the cut). I would like to see government regional protection of key subjects, such that if recruitment is difficult or some Uni mangement is trying to make things look uneconomic (to get rid) we don't end up with situations like Exeter where they tried to close the only Chemisty department for some distance (for those in Devon and Cornwall). Language study seems most affected by this blight at present. The 'market' in HE alongside fees has failed in most sensible respects (fees are almost the same everywhere, perhaps estates have improved and numbers are up but real quality.. not the TEF measures... is down a bit and the balance of graduates is heavily mismatched with UK needs) but it has certainly succeeded in rapidly expanding the pay and egos of our VCs and others in senior mangement... at noticeably increased risk to academic freedom IMHO.
Post edited at 17:53
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Irk the Purist - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to neilh:

I think a graduate tax is a great idea. I'm just not mad keen on it being set at 9% which as a proportion of tax paid by an individual is ludicrously high.
Coel Hellier - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to krikoman:

> Me too, that was my point, if tuition fees are going to put people off going then it's not an even spread of the population, it'll be the people who can afford it who end up getting educated.

The evidence is, though, that students from poorer backgrounds are not being put off. The number of such people going to university has not decreased after the tuition-fee increase, it has increased. Further, the fraction of poorer-background students in Scotland (where there are no tuition fees) is not higher, it is lower.

> But besides that, do you not think society benefits from having better educated people within it? I agree it's hard to quantify, but surely a more knowledgeable populous is a good thing.

To some extent it's a good thing, yes, but is it a sufficiently good thing that people well down the ability range should spend several adult years in full-time study at the expense of the taxpayer? To be honest, I'm highly dubious about that.
wintertree - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> But we haven't. A tax of 9% of income above a threshold means that those with higher salaries will tend to pay more.

The point being these higher earners will pay less (over the total period of their loan) because they pay more (per year), thus paying the loan down faster, resulting in less interest acruued over the period of the loan.

Excluding some of those who never fully repay the loan, the total cost is higher for lower earners, and will unavoidably be so as long as the interest rate is pegged above inflation.

This is an abominable non monotonic behaviour that amounts to a regressive tax. As a graph of total cost vs lifetime income, it starts at zero cost, peaks somewhere around £80k (my estimate not actual numbers) for middle earners and ends up at £27k for high earners/very rich (paid off in advance of almost immediately afterwards). Not in any way fair...
Post edited at 20:10
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andyfallsoff - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Irk the Purist:

Agree completely - 9% is insane!

Should going to university for 3 years really cost you 9% of your income for life?
Dave B on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to andyfallsoff:

We have created mini industries inside uni's that add very little to the education received, but employ huge numbers of people.

University is becoming hugely inefficient in terms of time actually spent on teaching vs other non research stuff.. And systems are not up to it.

9% is mad expensive

Coel Hellier - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to wintertree:

> As a graph of total cost vs lifetime income, it starts at zero cost, peaks somewhere around £80k (my estimate not actual numbers) for middle earners and ends up at £27k for high earners/very rich (paid off in advance of almost immediately afterwards). Not in any way fair...

I agree with your point, and don't see how the interest rates are justified; I think the rate should be limited to the rise in average incomes.

Though your comparison is slightly unfair since the £27k figure is in 2017 money and the £80k figure in 2040s money.
Coel Hellier - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to andyfallsoff:

> Should going to university for 3 years really cost you 9% of your income for life?

It's 9% of income above £21k, and it's for 30 years (or until paid) not "life".
1
Irk the Purist - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

That's ok then. Just the 30 years.
krikoman - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to summo:

> Ok, engineering. The only form of engineering that would require the same materials of reading and writing about Shakespeare would be origami. .

> Who said difficulty? We were talking about cost.
bearman68 Said Difficulty and cost, it was in the original quote you commented on.

> Your point is?

It's not more difficult

> Did I say it was ?

No you didn't, but it was in the post of mine you replied to.

> You seem to be trying to make this about how easy or difficult they are, everyone else is talking about cost.

Not me, see above, or read the posts you are replying to, first.

3
krikoman - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to neilh:

> Engineering or other materials sciences are expensive because of labs etc...I am sure you must recognise this.

Actually I don't, we had very few labs on either the of the courses I was on. Maybe it's because they we up north.

The few labs we did have, didn't require any expensive materials or machinery.

I can see that compared to English lit. it might be more expensive.

I've worked in Universities where there is a lot of expensive kit so I'm not discounting the expense bit completely. The point is to single out Engineering is a bit narrow, particle physics, is probably the most expensive, kit wise.
2
Big Ger - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to andyfallsoff:

> This is brilliant. Your anti-Corbyn mania reaches new heights... Ah ha! What a cunning plan from him! He hasn't actually said the things you are berating him for, because that's how sneaky he is!

Apart from the fact he DID say the things I castigated him for, you know, seeing as I quoted him, you may have a point.

Have you never come across politicians before?
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Babika - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Jim C:

People seem to be missing one point here - the debt is not £9250 a year for everyone; for the poorest students, ie those from the lowest income families there is a Maintenance Loan of around £8,400 a year and over £10,000 in London to pay rent, feed yourself etc

So some poorer students are running up student loan debt, before punitive interest, of almost £20,000 a year.

The students from wealthier families will not get the full maintenance loan, maybe only £3,000 a year as their parents are expected to make up the difference of £5,000 to £7,000 a year and in reality many (although not all) do. So once again the poorest students will be saddled with the biggest burden for 30 years.

I have 2 sons at Uni - 1 in London and 1 outside so I have quite a interest in this subject.

FWIW I agree with others who say the real issue is the steep hike in fees, the punitive level of interest charged and the variable quality of teaching rather than a policy of charging for Uni per se.
Offwidth - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

"The evidence is, though, that students from poorer backgrounds are not being put off. The number of such people going to university has not decreased after the tuition-fee increase, it has increased. Further, the fraction of poorer-background students in Scotland (where there are no tuition fees) is not higher, it is lower. "

Sure numbers are up but that doesn't mean there is no differential disincentives at work. The evidence is not anything like as clear as you imply. Numbers are only up a little and lets look at the full picture as academics before we decide whats going on. In England the middle classes send their children to University (nearly 2/3 participation now), yet participation from the disadvantaged has been plain terrible in comparison (still below 1/5 for the free school meals group). Scotland has worse problems but on a 55% participation rate ... much higher than England with a different balance of college vs University HE output and very different funding so the two countries started from different positions. Next, there have been huge initiatives and financial incentives in England to encourage engagement from the disadvantaged group as part of the fee. The Scottish funding system doesn't have this and does have pressure on expansion. There is also lots of evidence out there that bright young disadvantaged kids have changed their mind and tried apprentiships instead. As someone who was looking at straight A's on a full grant and set for Oxbridge I'd advise modern students in the same position I was in to try and get sponsored or go abroad (as sadly even the best the English University access offers don't come close to overall deals on cost vs quality elsewhere)

This is some analysis from a couple of years ago:

https://fullfact.org/education/are-there-record-numbers-young-people-going-university/

"is it a sufficiently good thing that people well down the ability range should spend several adult years in full-time study at the expense of the taxpayer? To be honest, I'm highly dubious about that."

This has been bullshit for years... the royals and some super rich getting educated at Cambridge (with sub-standard entry despite the best education money could buy) outed that idea. Now we have near 2/3 participation from the middle classes we certainly have large numbers of below average IQ but reasonably well educated students and by far the majority of students will have around average intelligence. The vast majority of western countries are well ahead of England in HE particpation (Scotland is more typical). Having worked in the Polytechnic and post 92 system for decades we added plenty of value to average kids in the pretty useful subject of Engineering as they worked hard... now mostly in good engineering careers (they sometimes come back to say hello and help us) yet even we struggled with some clever kids with zero motivation, who failed.
1
summo on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to krikoman:

> bearman68 Said Difficulty and cost, it was in the original quote you commented on.
> No you didn't, but it was in the post of mine you replied to.

Is this like one of those weird quizzes where you answer the next question, with the answer to the previous question? You know the context, but tougher for everyone else, crazy idea, but maybe we could use the quote feature and reply to the person etc.. if you want to talk about difficulty and not cost; you reply to that person not me etc..

> Not me, see above, or read the posts you are replying to, first.

I replied to your comnent; would seem obvious that you reply to mine.

So in summary. Science, IT and engineering degrees are more costly to run than literature.
krikoman - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to summo:

> I replied to your comnent; would seem obvious that you reply to mine.

I was replying to someone else's comment, Bearman68 @ 19:50 Monday.

You then replied to my reply to them.

Do try and keep up, it's not that difficult.

> So in summary. Science, IT and engineering degrees are more costly to run than literature.

That wasn't what Bearman68 said!!
3
stevieb - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to wintertree:

I think the other big concern, is how little the country benefits from the changes.
https://www.ifs.org.uk/comms/r94.pdf
The estimate is that the changes in 2012 which add over £20000 in fees and maintenance loans (probably £40000 in repayments) saves the country £1200 per student.
Given the way it impacts students I think That's a really poor cost / income ratio. And the subsequent removal of the cap on student numbers has probably cost far more.
With an intake of around 300 000 students a year, you couldn't even afford urgent Northern Irish infrastructure work for that sort of money.
neilh - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Offwidth:



i did not know about the numbers increasing for STEM subjects. Although when trawling round the Unis at the moment with my youngest who wants to do Maths I am amazed at how many students apply to do Maths.

I wish that somehow the govt would get control of subjects like Geography or History which seems to be the defacto default for alot of 18 year olds, who then seem to struggle finding a future career.

Granted the students who are really good do OK.But as my other daughter quickly twigged when doing part time catering work in London, there are one hell of alot of graduates doing catering jobs in London.
1
Offwidth - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to neilh:

Watch those assumptioms: at one point, about a decade or so back, History had the best tracked career prospects for men (EEE for women); one of the big computer companies had good experiences in recruiting humanities grads tested for clear analytical skills to train up as (unperverted) programmers.
1
Offwidth - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to stevieb:
That's the main point that counts and its a central part of a prediction: it may well end up costing us, rather than these predicted tiny savings. If you read that article on US fees I linked its easy to see how that might happen.
Post edited at 09:43
1
neilh - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

At the top end no doubt ( with graduates from Oxbridge or similar), and I assume that is still the case.

And then you have to dig down and look at their recruiting policy.

Gifted ones with the right motivation will always find a job, and most employers recognise this and seek them out.

Alright then let us take another subject - photography
1
Offwidth - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to neilh:
No the report on prospects was across the UK by subject (I spotted it being in EEE and interested in helping improve the gender balance) and the specific company recruitment was said to reasonably unbiased... tests for students with the best grades. Art students had the worst prospects at that time on average with those getting the best positions often doing this through unpaid internships (that poor grads struggle to afford) or through family/friend contacts. Britain is becoming increasingly nepotistic in my view (the sign of a country in decline, and wasting talent) but the requirements for success in the Arts takes some beating, even in this context.
Post edited at 09:56
1
Fuchs on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Jim C:

Makes you wonder how countries like Germany, Denmark or Sweden afford offering free university education to all their own and EU citizens (and mostly international students, too), eh?
neilh - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Offwidth:
Intersting.I agree on wasting talent in the Arts. you only have to look at the likes of who gets where in acting to grasp there is an issue. The nepotistic side in Arts has always been there and is getting worse.( John Peels son being a classic example, or should I say Tom Ravenscroft)

Not been able to intice my daughter to do Engineering- despite the best efforts of the Uni's and employers- last week she was on one of those headstart schemes for women in Engineering. Still wants to do Maths.
Post edited at 10:10
Fruit on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Jim C:

Martin Lewis was on 5 live with some interesting comments on the university funding system, of which he states he is not a fan, but this article covers some of what he had to say, interesting.
http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/students/student-loans-tuition-fees-changes
Offwidth - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to neilh:

I was a material's Engineer and did Physics... too much slog in many engineering courses that you really need to love. Maths is good fun according to friends and relatives currently studying that in good institutions. My impression is job prospects are similar, albeit engineering more conservative and obvious. It's also worth remembering there are some pretty innovative looking Engineering courses starting up with direct industrial links and much more of a project based focus (within the IET umbrella so no dropping exam standard).
summo on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Fuchs:

> Makes you wonder how countries like Germany, Denmark or Sweden afford offering free university education to all their own and EU citizens (and mostly international students, too), eh?

In Sweden you won't get many bachelor degrees that don't at least have year 1 or 2 in Swedish. As they progress much of source material will be in English, German or other Nordic language. You don't get many overseas students doing bsc/ba. Lund, KTH have the odd tech field and they do interview the odd worthy overseas candidate, provided they pass language test (English and or swedish) From 2011 non- eea students pay about £9k a year.

How does Sweden afford it for everyone else, through taxing everyone!. Although there is still degree status in some sectors, a large proportion of kids go to vocational colleges at 16 or 19, many residential. The difference I think although our kids aren't that age yet, if you don't get a good enough school pass at 16 (all subjects ) you might struggle for a high school place, then the same again at 19 for uni, there aren't degree places for all.
neilh - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

Maths also seems to attract more females, most unis seem to have a nearly 50/50 split.. It is clearly hard for alot of women to go on Engineering or simialr course where frankly you are in a minority- it is not good.My other daughter perserved with Computer Science where the numbers of women doing it appear to be in decline compared with a few years ago.When she started there were 10 out of 100 in her year. At the end it was down to 5.And yet in medical sciences, lots of women apply, and do really well.

It is a real pity.
bedspring on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Jim C:

What seems to get missed in these debates is where the money is going. It is funding the academic industry of which undoubtdley many parts give huge practical value, Maths, IT,Medical etc. But other parts such as the Arts, History and Philosophy, all of which I find personally hugely interesting maybe do not provide a positive return for societies financial investment. When I listen to Melvyn Braggs, In Our Time and I hear Professors warbling on about Socrates and Plato and other stuff, I do wonder if people who work in more mundane jobs should be paying taxes to fund them in these times of tough financial decisions.
1
neilh - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to summo:

So they are ruthless in weeding out people who should nto being going to Uni. Its the same in Japan as I understand it.Bet its the same in Germany and others.
Offwidth - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Fruit:
Martin is a good egg but this all asumes you want to study in the UK as a UK student (excepting the scottish situation). Also note Point 21 (cut and pasted below) that makes almost everything above it less than trustworthy. It also in its focus on the HE 'consumer' doesn't highlight the political implications of the current system being expensive for the UK taxpayer (smaller loans like the 3k under Labour and more direct funding would improve savings) and highly regressive (ie unfair on the middle). I'd also like to see his views on the unexpected problems that have arisn in the US from the link I attached above (many that occurred despite being based on illogical decisions.... you have to factor these things in).

It also ignores the elephant in the room... you can choose to study elsewhere (much cheaper currently for all in the EU or even in the US if you are bright enough for scholarships) or chose to study later in the UK when the fee regime may well be less onerous or choose an apprentiship. The incentives on this will be very disorted by class.

"21 Warning. This is how it works now – sadly it can be changed – even retrospectively

So now you understand it, the obvious question is, "how fixed is all this?"

The Government has already announced it's selling off the remaining £40bn of student loan debt it has – a concern to many of the over four million uni leavers since 1998 with outstanding loans. In itself that can't change the terms and structures of the way the loans work, but it can change operating practices which may be a pain in the neck for some.

Yet, it's important to understand Parliament is omnicompetent. In other words, it's completely free to make and change rules made in the past. This means there is no 100% guarantee the system will remain unchanged for the 30 years until you're clear. It's worth being aware this is a risk factor.

In the past it has always been thought that retrospective changes to the system go against natural justice and it hasn't happened – after all each time a new student finance system has been introduced, it has only applied to new starters.

Yet that sacred trust was breached in November 2015 – the Government froze the repayment threshold for all those who started in 2012 and beyond. The threshold had meant to be increased. This effectively hiked the cost of student loans above what people had thought they would be when they started university. That shouldn't happen. No commercial firm would be allowed to do so.

Worse still it refuses to enshrine many elements of student loan rates into statute – meaning it can change rates without a vote in the House of Commons.

This is a very worrying situation as it means it is difficult to trust the system. Yet unfortunately if you want to go to university you've no choice."
Post edited at 10:46
neilh - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to bedspring:

At the top end clearly yes. Those people in Melyn Bragg's programme are in that category.
Offwidth - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to neilh:

Its good for women they are in a distorted minority if they can cope with it.. prospects remain much better for women than for men in Engineering.
summo on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to neilh:

> So they are ruthless in weeding out people who should nto being going to Uni. Its the same in Japan as I understand it.Bet its the same in Germany and others.

I wouldn't say ruthless, its not unheard of kids being put back a year in school. Better to leave school later with some education than exit at 16 or 19 with nothing.

I think because trade skills, apprenticeship and vocational training in general are quite well regarded, a less academic person deciding not to go uni, isn't viewed as having failed or not excelled.
bedspring on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to neilh:

So should the carrier van driver pay taxes or an old person have poorer care or we deny one refugee so somone can study fairies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iV4OwPCdBE or fairy tales http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00h8t18 I am doubtful.
2
Offwidth - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to bedspring:
Good to hear the uninformed view. Sure its an industry but like any it's based on income. That Socratic prof needs to bring in grant or REF income to pay for his research bit of his salary... unlike most civilised countries, the UK doesn't have tenure and shows little qualms in booting out Profs who don't pay for their keep (unless you believe fantasists who think the left has a stanglehold on most institutions) It's also shown some of the biggest efficency gains in the public sector: SSRs have doubled in my three decades and research outputs are up with the best per capita for any big country.
Post edited at 11:04
1
neilh - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to bedspring:

At the top end - yes- becuase overall culturally we benefit from the likes of Cambridge professors who study weird medieval stuff for exmaple. Just think of the likes of CS Lewis or J R Tolkein as examples.If JR tolkein had not studied whatever weird subject he did, then there would not have film industry built around his stories.Game of Thrones would then probably not have happened.

I agree with you when it becomes a mediocre study area.
ads.ukclimbing.com
neilh - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

I am not sure women would agree with that answer, the hurdles they have to pass compared with men in these subjects are not good.
bedspring on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

> Good to hear the uninformed view.

When someone is uninformed, it is a trait of some to sneer, rather than consider it is an instutional failure to inform. My tutor at the OU had an operation this year and was incommunicado for 4 weeks, the OU provided no cover, he then went very low key as an active campaigner for the Labour Party. I cannot think of many other industries where the service provider withdraws service for circa 10% and diminished service for another 10% of the paid for period and thinks it justifiable. Academia needs to give the people paying for it value for money and lets not kid ourselves, very few students are going to pay the full amount, this is still being funded by the Taxpayer.
wbo - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to NeilH: if my child wanted to do maths over engineering I'd be clapping my hands.

Re. Geography students being unemployed - a bad student is more likely to be unemployed, picking the 'right'subject is not a free ticket round being a poor performer. I'm equally not bothered if there courses have had special projects with industry and so on. I'd rather they were bright and knew the basics over acquiring a few job specific tasks that are redundant 5 years later.

Re. Photography - surely the presence of courses such as photography,media, leisure or whatever - surely that's because e degree is now THE qualification - a levels, apprenticeships, HND are all a bit irrelevant, superceded. That's how it is - unless you've got a time machine you won't be able to fix that.

Bed spring - philosophy - I really don't have a problem with people studying these apparently impractical subjects. The differentiator the UK has is that it's got a high degree of education in diverse subjects, and you never know where value will come from. Not every subject has to be utterly applicable to a job else you're competing with the likes of India - degree in excel and presentation skills - very applicable, but would it add knowledge?

andyfallsoff - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to wbo:

Just to add some more support for a variety of degrees - I am a solicitor in a city law firm. My immediate colleagues include people who have studied classics, music, history, as well as more traditional subjects (law, economics, etc.). Their contribution - and the fact that they will bring different skills and experiences - are valued, provided their courses also include critical thinking. The specific job related skills are taught on the vocational law course (the LPC) and on the job.

My experience is that employers are put off by the "wrong" unis, but not by the "wrong" subjects, and that is the position in one of the more competitive job markets out there.

Offwidth - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to neilh:

That's not the evidence. As I said at one point EEE was top of the subjects for actual career progression for women and quite a few things have improved since then.
1
Offwidth - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to bedspring:

I agree your personal experience with your tutor sounds entirely unacceptable but there are complaints procedures to deal with such things. It is certainly not your tutor's responsibility to provide cover, if away on legitimate buisiness, it is the department's. If the absence was not legitimate that is a disciplinary issue and in addition to dealing with this the institution needs to provide fair resolution to you, through a complaint to the OIA if neccesary.

http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-to-complain-if-a-change-is-made-to-my-degree-cours...

However, you can't fairly extrapolate from your personal experience to damn an entire system (including Prof in subjects you don't care about). So I hope if you do complain you are more careful with what you say than what you posted here: when complaints are considered the veracity of the complainant's concerns is something that is taken into account..
Offwidth - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to andyfallsoff:
Whats a wrong University though and how much of that is snobbery based on no real facts? At one point my post '92 had the highest rated LPC course in the UK.

I still think prospective students should research things extensively and try and choose a course they think they will enjoy that will stretch them intellectually and be good value in this and be in a location they are happy being at for years. As things stand many should be heading out of the UK on that basis.
Post edited at 14:02
andyfallsoff - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

My experience is that for an undergrad degree employers in this type of sector favour Russell Group universities, although a non-Russell group uni is a disadvantage rather than a disqualifier for the job. Differs from employer to employer though, some (particularly US) firms seem to take a more Oxbridge focussed approach.

The position for the GDL, LPC etc is different and employers tend to look at the best providers for the course, or don't really discriminate - possibly because the market for post-grad course places isn't as competitive, so it isn't a badge of honour to have secured a place?
Offwidth - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to andyfallsoff:
There are not that many Oxbridge grads annually so focus as they might those companies will either need to offer a small fortune or look elsewhere.
Post edited at 14:04
andyfallsoff - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

> There are not that many Oxbridge grads annually so focus as they might those companies will either need to offer a small fortune or look elsewhere.

The US firms do the former!

They also tend to be smaller (so don't need to find that many people) than the big UK based firms. These are all generalisations anyway - they aren't looking exclusively at Oxbridge either, but my experience (and that of others I have spoken to) is that they prefer universities with a higher profile internationally (so Oxbridge as a priority, then LSE, UCL, etc.). Possibly a function of working on cross border transactions - an internationally renowned uni can be appreciated by clients across the world. University of [insert provincial town here] doesn't necessarily carry the same weight.
paul__in_sheffield - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

> Whats a wrong University though and how much of that is snobbery based on no real facts? At one point my post '92 had the highest rated LPC course in the UK.

Hi there
Of the 120 odd 'Universities', there are the Russell Group, Independents, and the handful of ex-Polys who actually engaged with becoming a University rather than just taking the title and carrying on. There's about 50 or 60 in this group. You know who the others are, because league tables from a variety of sources taken over years, tell a reasonably consistent story.
Paul
Offwidth - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:
I think the central 90% of the league tables are almost meaningless. Just look at the huge differences between the various league table providers. Hence, sadly, I think your statement is ridiculous. The quality of the tables is set to get even worse: LSE has just got TEF bronze , Coventry (an institution doing well for a post 92 in some respects but even more than most post-92s has serious governance issues leading to worrying implications for academic freedom) was top:

http://wonkhe.com/blogs/tef-results-the-full-core-metric-results/

Coventry is also 12th in the Guardian league table. I find this table especially worrying. Firstly as its so highly dependant on a fallacious link between NSS and quality (see below). Secondly the reality of SSRs faced by students is often terrible for institutions that look good (eg including huge numbrrs of researchers the students rarely see... we desperately need a table containing the weighted staff time spent on teaching as real SSRs are widely above 30 ... ie worse than at schools across much of UK HE provision). Thirdly their value added scores beggar belief (Oxford 6.7... really????)

https://www.theguardian.com/education/ng-interactive/2017/may/16/university-league-tables-2018

The work at Coventry to improve industrial links and employability is really good but although they do look after their students well there is also a good bit of 'gaming' NSS (and top spin for their TEF rationale). Yet I will never forget the Coventry researchers who charted the fall in quality of Maths A levels in the face of decades of Government denial.

The pitfalls of equating NSS outputs with quality were exposed by the RSS in their submission to TEF:

http://www.rss.org.uk/Images/PDF/influencing-change/2016/RSS-response-to-BIS-Technical-Consultation-...
Post edited at 10:07
Offwidth - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

..... maybe prospective students are catching on. The drop in mature students is especially worrying:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-40581643
paul__in_sheffield - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to Offwidth:
Hi Offwidth, you can't pick out individuals, you have to look at the overall picture, which like the Premiership table never lies, even when Leicester wins ;-)

Nobody takes the Guardian seriously as it doesn't really use research as one of its metrics.
Coventry and Lincoln for example have engaged with trying to be Universities, Exeter engaged with wanting to be Russell Group, the Mets and the big city Polys to a varying extent haven't. When I talk to PVCRs and External across the board, there's a good deal of objectivity regarding the landscape.
Having worked at all academic levels across Russell Group, New and Independents, I am rarely surprised by the league tables. If that's ridiculous then mea culpa.
neilh - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

Maybe employers are also offering more attractive deals to18 year olds to tempt them and shape them at 18?
Offwidth - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:
Plenty of people take the Guardian table seriously, partly as its the only table really focussed on student experience, flawed as it is.

I think we have a very different idea of what a University is if you think Coventry is worth highlighting as one of the few new universities engaging with being a University,. I see its current growth strategy as incredibly risky and the treatment of its key academic staff resource as well below par given its no longer a 'bottom feeder'...as I said I do see some really good things happening there but if the finances or academic morale collapses any good will get burnt.

England and Wales urgently need something equivalent to the Scottish Prondzynski led governance review to encourage good ideas without taking huge risks or leaving the academics behind in any gains. The fact post '92s are so nervous of academic staff input to governance and struggle to deal with critisism shows their most of their outward confidence in their planning to be a sham based on bullying cultures with poor internal communications. Luckily the staff care abut the students and their research and get on with it despite the poor way they are often managed. I find it bizarre that many Universoties have some of the most keen insights into good modern management practice in their Business Schools and such a terrible management performance themselves. These research based lists of 'unhealthy signs in an organsiation' seem to have been mistaken as a wish list to too many University exectutive teams.
Post edited at 12:27
Offwidth - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to neilh:
I strongly support that. Its a much better deal for most. I did a pre-University year and if I wasnt so sold on an academic life would have stayed. This was back before Thatcher pulled the graduate apprentice schemes... the opportunity has been missing for decades. Don't get me wrong I think my colleagues in HE do great work but they are in a system with faulty finance incentives for students.

The current governemnt investment in its new technology teaching initiatives is a joke... the funding would barely build one sizeable institution. The new apprentiships degrees are better : good ideas but again funding is still too tight (so tight we might make a loss on them as we start to run them)
Post edited at 12:28
BnB - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

> I strongly support that. Its a much better deal for most. I did a pre-University year and if I wasnt so sold on an academic life would have stayed. This was back before Thatcher pulled the graduate apprentice schemes... the opportunity has been missing for decades. Don't get me wrong I think my colleagues in HE do great work but they are in a system with faulty finance incentives for students.

> The current governemnt investment in its new technology teaching initiatives is a joke... the funding would barely build one sizeable institution. The new apprentiships degrees are better : good ideas but again funding is still too tight (so tight we might make a loss on them as we start to run them)

I'm impressed by the apprenticeship degree concept, particularly for IT. Not only are they are great way to reduce the skills gap, it seems an obvious pathway to reduce our dependence on migrant talent at a time when we're actively discouraging their participation in our economy. Not that I'm a fan of reduced migration in any way.

It's therefore very frustrating to hear these are not adequately promoted or funded.

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