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Thread: A Bleak Outlook for us youngens in the UK

  1. #1

    Default A Bleak Outlook for us youngens in the UK

    As some of you may be or may not be aware, the UK government is currently planning to treble student tuition fees, from 3000 to 9000 by 2012:

    Lib Dems should vote for tuition fees package, says senior party figure | Education |

    Whilst this in itself is pretty upsetting to those of us at the age of either, preparing for University, at University, or considering going back to University; I believe this is a symptom of something much more worrying. This is just a theory, but I think predicting the future become quite obvious if you look at the facts.

    The baby boomers of the 1950s to 1970s are all hurtling towards retirement age. It is this generation that is in power in the UK at the moment, and will most likely continue to be for at least the next 10 years, if not longer.

    It is rather worrying to think that my generation, those of us born in the 80's onwards, will be paying for the baby-boomers retirement (through state pensions, which I reckon will rise substantially over the next 10 years while they're in power), and not only that but their health-care as well. This is the reason why the NHS is barely being touched at all in the UK's budget cuts. As people get older, their health becomes more and more of a priority. Instead of cutting the NHS and Education equally over the coming years, Education will be cut to shreds.

    The strain I can see this having, on our comparatively smaller young population, will make much of our lives a real struggle. Not only will we be paying for the retirement and health-care of a very large demographic of people, but their average living age is likely to increase, due to the money that will be ploughed in to the national health service, so we'll be doing it for longer! Our cost of living will go up, our children won't have the same high quality education that we had, and even less access to higher education, the retirement age will increase, important powerful jobs will be hung onto by older persons for much longer. The list goes on and on. Our generation's honeymoon period is drawing to a close. A rift will soon form between young and old.

    I really don't think the next couple of decades in the UK will be pretty.

    I know I've summarised this somewhat. I could have written a 2000 word essay on what's running through my head right now, am just lazy I guess :P. What do you guys think about it? Has it crossed any of your minds that this might be imminent?

    PS: Sorry for the depressing post, has been on my mind this morning and wanted to share :X.

  2. #2


    I agree completely. The Baby Boomer generation has been the most selfish in history. They grew up with free health services, free education, a good job market and now that they are the generation "in power", they've ruined the job market, are smashing education, public transport, raising the retirement age behind them, and no doubt healthcare for the under-60s will be next to the guillotine. The only consolation is that maybe they won't get a free bus pass.

  3. #3


    This has definitely been on my mind considering I will be the 1st year to experience the proposed increase in fees.

    I have been to every peaceful protest that has been held in London since the announcement of this bill (I wasn't part of the fringe group which became violent at Millbank). If the Lib Dems vote for this they will be directly opposing what they said they'd do in their manifesto, thereby creating an even worse image of government and politics than was portrayed by the expenses scandal. In my opinion it is totally unacceptable for ANY party to go back on a manifesto promise, whether they are in a coalition or not (especially one which likely got them many of their votes in regions with high levels of student voters as well as being one of their most pushed points pre-election)

    Not only will this effect me, but my parents, as they will now have to try and support me through University a small bit, so that I only come out with a debt of 30,000 as opposed to 40,000 (I'm doing a 4 year master's course)

    This is almost a regressive tax, as it is forcing those who cannot afford university out of the opportunity to go, even if they are far smarter than their competition. This will just ruin the workforce's ability in the future, as it will mean not as many people in Britain will have the qualifications that many jobs are actually asking for (In fact, even when my older brother came out of a respected Russell Group university in July he was only able to finally get a job 2 weeks ago) If it takes high level qualifications to get jobs, then how can the government expect people to find jobs in 10 years time, when they have likely missed their opportunity to go into university and need to find a job?



  4. #4


    I accept that frankly too many people want to go to university nowadays - I'm sorry, but with all the degrees in strange subjects which people take instead of doing some sort of vocational qualification, it makes the degrees of those who do hard sciences or more classical subjects (eg history) less valuable - but raising taxes on those who do go is not the way to do it. And what the government don't want to admit is that while a contribution after 21k or whatever sounds fair, that isn't going to happen for another 6 years or so, and in the mean time you will be paying fees up front.

    A much better way to go about it, other than of course just making education free for all - heck, you pay living expenses anyway which come to close on 30k for a 3 year course - would be a proper graduate tax, where those making lots of money pay more than those who don't, so eg a lawyer would pay more than a scientist, but with a cut-off point after which you no longer pay tax for it.

    One more thing which people aren't mentioning much is international students. The girl who lives a few doors from me is from China, and she ALREADY pays 15,000 per annum for a master's course. This is also set to treble. Consider that, close on 50 grand for a single year's tuition...

  5. #5


    It's not as depressing as you may think. Over in the USA, graduation rates have been going down, schools aren't collecting or releasing placement data, and tuition is going up. And we're now seeing "Energy Use" fees rolled in to our tuition as well.

    And no one bats an eye.

    At least over there, the students were up in arms protesting. Here, not so.

    As for the point about the next couple decades: I think you're correct, but I'd expand this out to the West as a whole. The next couple decades will be about "rebalancing," at the expense of those who work through it. : (

    ---------- Post added at 04:20 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:20 PM ----------

    Hmm... we have auto-double posting now. Awesome.

  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by TheNewNo2 View Post
    One more thing which people aren't mentioning much is international students. The girl who lives a few doors from me is from China, and she ALREADY pays 15,000 per annum for a master's course. This is also set to treble. Consider that, close on 50 grand for a single year's tuition...
    I did notice that, and I felt that was absolutely ludicrous. The government are basically attacking the people who can't vote yet, and who probably wouldn't have voted for them. In my school there was a mock election, and about 90% of those from my district voted Labour, yet their parents must have voted Conservative, because conservative won the chair. If this goes through I would put forward a petition to call for 2 things,
    1, To unseat all Lib Dem members who vote for the rises for opposing their own manifesto and;
    2, To call for a referendum, in order to allow the public to vote on the matter.

  7. #7


    I thought the idea was no fees up front and then tiered repayment triggered from 21kPA? I'm not sure how that necessarily prices anyone out of education, as there's no initial "hit", which means it isn't regressive. Not saying I agree with the increase or WANT people saddled with up to 27k of debt before they've even got a salary, but it's not quite the same as paying 9k a year up front, which is how some people are presenting it, deliberately or otherwise. If you're poor and clever, you're in the same boat at the start as everyone else - there is equality of opportunity. If you get good results in a good subject and end up earning a decent salary, you're then in a position to make the repayment. If you don't, you don't. Part of me thinks we are now reaping what we've sown in terms of education policy. Wanting a better educated population is a laudable goal, but that isn't the same thing as "university for all!". The recent OECD data shows the UK slumping rather worryingly over the last decade, despite much heralded extra spending and "education education education". Not the fault of the students, they've just been unfortunate to find themselves in an era of targets and box ticking rather than actually teaching people stuff, but it rather suggests that having a degree and being better educated are not necessarily linked. When I was of school leaving age, degrees were what you did if you KNEW what career you wanted - it was a very specific thing - now it just seems to be assumed that everyone will leave school and get shunted off to university regardless, which I fear has debased the qualification, raised expectations to unrealistic levels and not really helped anyone at all.

    In my opinion it is totally unacceptable for ANY party to go back on a manifesto promise, whether they are in a coalition or not
    Whilst I can understand the ire being directed at the Lib Dems over this, let's remember who introduced fees in the first place, having made a manifesto pledge not to, and indeed promised to legislate against them. The issue is not as politically clear cut as some are trying to make out. We can't make education free for all to the nth level, as there simply isn't the money. Let's say we spin forward 15 years when today's students are (hopefully) on decent money. The Government of the day decides that everyone should have a PhD and it's all free at source. How's that being paid for? Taxes. I'd wager not many of the current generation would be out on the street praising that decision whilst watching their take home get clobbered to pay for it. This is why I really don't think there's much public support for the issue - people are already worried about seeing their pensions raided, their savings income inflated away, losing their job and paying their ever increasing fuel bills as energy goes ever upwards without having to fund vanity degrees in non-subjects from ex-regional polytechnics. We're not all sat out here rolling in pools of cash sipping champagne and laughing, we have just as much to fret about as the protesters.

  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by TheNewNo2 View Post
    I accept that frankly too many people want to go to university nowadays
    To be frank, I think the "system" is a victim of itself. Everything that was taught to us about the "real world" in school reinforced one notion: a successful person has a University degree. Period. Of my high school friends, the only ones that decided not to go to university had ok grades at best. The way college was spoken of in school, it was basically a place for those that weren't smart enough to get into university (that's always the impression I got from my guidance counselor, too: since I had the grades to get into university, I shouldn't consider college)...

    I don't know if this kind of culture is prevalent in the UK, but in North America the message that is hammered down to kids is "get trough college and everything will be fine".

  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by Luca View Post
    As some of you may be or may not be aware, the UK government is currently planning to treble student tuition fees, from 3000 to 9000 by 2012:
    Holy Crap! From the snippets (sans numbers) I heard on the news over here (U.S.), I was ready to call you guys a bunch of crybabies! Tripling tuition to what would be exclusive private school level over here is going to be a disaster! Not just for students, but Britain as a whole! By all means continue your protests, but at the same time, be on the lookout for other ways to get the skills you need and take care of yourself!

    This isn't good for anybody. Being a Boomer myself, I've got some skin in the game, but I saw this coming decades ago, so I'm semi-prepared. In our defense, I don't think we're any more or less selfish than any other generation, its just that there's so many of us that we're driving the bus whether we like it or not.

    On our side, we've got our own problems: Parents who are outliving their savings, and kids who can't find decent jobs and end up coming back to live with us. I've been fortunat on both ends, but not so with many of our friends.

    P.S. A college degree is still just a piece of paper that verifies you can survive x quantity of bullshit for y number of years. With the benefit of hindsight, most of the actual functional knowledge I've needed to do my various jobs I picked up via independent study, ie, looking up how to do something at the library, from my dad, a friend, a coworker, etc. These days its even easier to learn on the fly via the Internet. I enjoyed my college years, and I'm glad I went, but it didn't make me any smarter or more capable.

  10. #10


    philder, in principle it's a nice idea, but the reality is bs. Like I said, the payment via taxes won't come in until 2016, nor will it be increased until 2021. At an inflation rate of 2.2%, that means it's 16.5k in today's money, which is hardly a great salary. You also have to take into account the scrapping of the EMA, which will make it even harder for children of low income families to afford sixth form, let alone university.

    To me, one of the bigger issues is that raising the cap introduces price as an issue when deciding what degree you want to do. To pretend it won't is naive at best, and is in fact willfully ignorant. Moreover, it creates positive feedback in the system - say a university charges 9k pa, then it gets more money than a university which charges less, will attract better staff, etc. We'd be left with a two-tier system - good universities for the rich, crap ones for the poor.

    I suggest reading the letters from NUS president Aaron Porter (even though he's an ineffectual tosser) to Nick Clegg on the website, they're quite eye-opening.

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