For years, a social divide has been illustrated through the affordability of tuition fees in the UK. The education of an individual acts as a backbone for their employability and the invaluable knowledge possessed. Traditionally, university was directed towards middle and upper class students, who could afford the price of a degree, in order to keep the family title consistent through the generations. However, lower class students, commonly avoided university, enrolling straight into labourers jobs, to maintain a sustainable living standard for their household.
The permutation in the education system, has allowed a wider audience of students from any background and social class, to attend university. In fact, students whose parents did not attend university or endure benefits from the government are entitled to privileges, such as lower entrance requirements or grants. Furthermore, employers are seeking out high achievers from state schools and offering school leavers programmes, which offer a fully paid degree at a top university and permanent job afterwards.
Nevertheless, you may be wondering where it leaves everyone else. Perhaps left in debt, as tuition fees are expected to rise to a staggering £9,250 a year, even though agreements had enclosed that £9,000 a year would be the capped amount, it seems to have still been suppressed. Jo Johnson, the university minister, has supported the inflation in prices, through the hope of better quality teaching, amongst many students views this is a questionable proposition. A poll conducted by ‘isidewith’, concluded that overall 59% of people favoured scraping university tuition fees and 41% surprisingly, feel they should remain the same. The 59% believe that those from low income families should pay a reduced rate, especially if they are the first in the family to attend university. Arguably, the remaining 41% do have a fair stance, as university costs go up in accordance to a higher numbers of students each year, which correlates to a sustainably high number of resources needed.
Even though fees are seen to be a downfall, students are not required to pay any money back until they are earning over £21,000 a year, which provides students extra time to become more financially stable, before any money is taken as a repayment from their loan. Additionally, universities will have to present informative feedback on what improvements have been put forward from an increase in tuition fee. This can convey a positive side effect for employability, as this may increase due to universities challenging their rates, against other institutions, to show which one will provide the best outcome for students.
Whilst the UK struggles to control tuition fees, many other countries throughout Europe such as: Germany, Denmark, Iceland and Norway are free, with the acceptation of a small administrative fee. This leaves the UK to question, what holds them back from completely eradicating tuition fees and perhaps to cut expense on other areas of the government, such as foreign aid or military spending, if necessary.
Alternatively, apprenticeship schemes have been on the rise by 63.5%, with students discovering the benefits of earning a salary and learning at the same time. Certain youngsters may see this as an opportunity to avoid the debt of university and instead suppress themselves to a different type of education. This ironically presents the recycle of labourer’s jobs, which had similarly been the case for those who could not afford the cost of attending university in previous decades.