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Just a Thought

Tuesday 16th November 2010

I’ve already written down some of my thoughts about the university fee proposals, on this blog and in comments elsewhere. I have little else to offer on the rights or wrongs of the policy, because frankly I’m fed up of reading impassioned critiques which are at best self-contradictory, or at worse seem to me to have little bearing on reality.

Anyway. Something that people often say is that fees prevent poorer people from going to university. As an aside, perhaps the correlation is more to do with the inequality in lower education; parents’ wealth apparently correlates with how well kids do at GCSEs. Which would imply that students from poorer backgrounds are at a disadvantage because they are less likely to be academically able enough to go to university. Perhaps.

Let’s assume that fees genuinely do deter poorer students from university. It’s probably a fair assumption actually, or at least part of the problem. But I would argue that there’s actually no real barrier to those people going to university, what with the generous terms of the loan, the bursaries that are available, and so on.

So why does that happen? I’ve read that it’s down to perception. That people just don’t like the idea of taking on debt, even though it’s the nicest form of debt you could possibly have, and you should never have problems paying for it.

If this is the case – and to me it seems the most plausible explanation – was it really wise for 50,000 students (or however many it was) to have a jolly to London last week, advertising how expensive university is and how people won’t be able to afford it? Is that really going to do anything to persuade those who are less well off that, actually, they can afford to study; or is it instead just going to reinforce that false perception that it’s too expensive? Hmm.

Posted at 3:02 am | Posted In: PoliticsRantSleep Tagged:

1 Comment:

Andy

Tuesday 16th November 2010, 3:19 am

Yeh, the NUS are massively overreacting on fees, and their scaremongering will probably do a lot of harm. One of the reasons Imperial quit the NUS was that large contingents within it have totally lost touch with reality.

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