When did it become automatically – and solely – the responsibility of students to balance the books of our nation’s universities?

Graduate Fog doesn’t usually get involved in the tuition fees debate. This website is about what happens after graduation, not before.

However, the latest news coverage has really got my back up.

Frankly, I’m sick of the universities insisting they are being forced to put up tuition fees because they are facing a funding crisis.

I see no reason why it is automatically – and solely – the students’ responsibility to make the universities’ sums add up, now that the government has removed much of their funding.

University funding is a complex thing – and I’m no expert on it. But whatever happens:

I strongly believe that students should only pay what their degree is worth – and not a penny more.

Already, too many graduates are complaining your degree wasn’t ‘worth’ anywhere near what you paid for it.

And that’s with tuition fees at their existing level.

I’m sorry that universities’ funding has been cut. I know that lands them in a serious pickle.

But it is not students’ job to balance the universities’ books. And it is certainly not right for universities to ask students to pay more than their degree is worth just to help them stay afloat.

Steve Smith, of Universities UK, who claimed universities faced losing £2.5bn-£3bn from their teaching funds, said:

“Aaron Porter [NUS President, who opposes the rise in tuition fees] does not want the university system to go into meltdown but we are at a situation where most political solutions [other than tuition fees] do not solve the funding problem and some of them make it far worse.”

And Dr Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities, insisted that graduate contributions were the only fair way to secure the future of the “UK’s world-class higher education system”.

See what I mean? The universities are not looking at this from the students’/graduates’ perspective.

It is all about what the universities need – and who is the softest target to squeeze the money out of.

(Students and your families).

I understand that there is a serious funding problem here. But the universities’ undignified scramble for cash is not a good enough reason to slap a price tag on a degree that is far beyond what they know it is worth to their students.

The universities must find another way.

Either they change the way they operate, to become more efficient (welcome to 2010, folks!) – or they seek funding elsewhere, from those with deeper pockets.

Hm, let’s think… Who else benefits from our highly educated workforce?

Oh yes, business.

Is anybody going to ask them to contribute?

Of course not – because that would upset them, and we can’t have that.

On the other hand, it’s apparently absolutely fine to continue robbing our young people of tens of thousands of pounds for a university education that doesn’t deliver anything close to what it promises…

*How much did you pay for you degree – and was it worth it?
Do you agree that universities should be forced to justify increased tuition fees – or should students simply have to pay whatever unis say they need? What advice would you give to sixth-formers considering spending £7,000 a year on going to uni now?

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