Students all over the UK are rising up in anger over the coalition government’s plans to institute regressive tuition fees that would see student debt balloon over the next few years. The government wants to shift the tax burden onto individual students who would have to pay back loans as soon as they start to earn over £21,000.
While there are many clever arguments put forward by the Tories as to why this is a brilliant idea (the wonders of the market/competition/incentives etc) , the crux of it is the continuing effort to shift debt from the rich to the less well off – a classic Tory move repeated throughout the ages. The idea is to create an individualistic system where every student is responsible for managing their own debt, shunning the notion that higher education is the responsibility of society as a whole. Under the shake up, universities will be cutting budgets and given more control over how they raise funds. Some universities will be able to charge up to £9000/year in extra fees, meaning over time, the better universities will inevitably cost more money.
As with all Tory ‘market’ based policies, the results will be a more tiered, more unequal system that will see the rich gain more advantage over the poor and keep high quality education for themselves.
Ironically, the millionaires responsible for crafting this new strategy for higher education were all the beneficiaries of free tuition. They climbed the ladder on the backs of those who built a fair and decent education system, and are now kicking it down for those beneath them.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.