Thursday, 9 December 2010

GUEST POST: Voice of a Student

I’m a student at Queen Elizabeth High School in Hexham and I will be part of the first generation of students that will have to pay the new tuition fees.

I don’t think tuition fees are perfect, I’m not even sure they are ideal – but they do seem fair.

Some one has to pay, and what is fairer; that student’s pay or the tax payer does? As a prospective University student I recognise the benefits it will hopefully bring me in my career – on average around £100,000.

With the proposed plan graduates will not have to pay one penny back until they are earning over £21,000 a year, and then they will be paying back £45 less a month than they do at the present – is that so unfair?

Any university which is charging more than £6,000 a year will have to prove that they are taking in increasing numbers of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. That sounds fair to me.

£150 million being invested into a National Scholarships Programme to get disadvantaged students into top universities. That sounds fair to me.

Would I rather not pay? Sure. But with 45% of us going to university it is not sustainable for the tax payer to cover all students’ fees - and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask me to make a contribution.

Ed Miliband and Labour have been quick to jump on the band wagon. As a young person interested in politics nothing puts me off more than seeing politicians chasing headlines. This is our future and difficult decisions have to be made.

Labour set up the Browne report, yet have no credible alternative of their own. It may be getting Labour good headlines but playing politics with our future is not winning them support with students like me.