Who will explain the reality of fee increases to students applying for 2012 university entrance?

By | November 19, 2010

University2Whether you think that the policy behind it is right or wrong, it seems that the ‘hearts and minds’ campaign to convince students of the fairness of the proposed increase in university tuition is backfiring.

I’m not talking about the vandalism in London last week during the protest about the proposed hiking of fees from 2012, but two things that I have personally observed in Yorkshire in the last few days.

1. Students do not understand the proposed fee increases

The first is that current students do not realise that there will be no more of an upfront payment due under the proposed scheme, than there is under the present scheme – under which they entered and will leave higher education. 

This perhaps shows that government assumptions that everyone understands the new policy are not true and, in such a major change to higher education, this position needs stating time and again until the message hits home.

2.  Teachers in the dark about 2012 university entry

The second thing is that the teachers advising those who are going to apply for 2012 entry are hopelessly in the dark.  As intelligent people, they will have read and heard the news and have the basic information they need from there, but whilst universities themselves are digging to find the nuances of the Browne report and beginning to formulate their response to it, schools and colleges have their everyday business to run as usual. Higher education entry is an important part of their business but it is only one part of that business – and it is at the farthest end of their remit. 

Not only do universities have a duty to keep advising our next generation of students about how we are working through the implications of Browne generally, but I hope we also take on board and include schools and colleges – who provide the majority of our students now and in the future – in our conversations.

Have you found that students and teachers understand the reality of university fee increases for those young people applying for 2012 entry? 

About Chris Gale

Chris graduated from University College Cardiff in 1977 and qualified as a solicitor in 1980. He moved to academia in 1990 with an appointment at the Polytechnic of North London and joined Leeds Metropolitan University (Leeds Law School) in 1994, becoming head of undergraduate studies and being responsible for profiling, timetabling and staff development across the School. He joined Bradford University Law School as the inaugural Director of Legal Studies in July 2005.

Specialties: Human rights, Sport and the Law, Public Confidence in the Legal System

2 thoughts on “Who will explain the reality of fee increases to students applying for 2012 university entrance?

  1. Jane Crofts

    I would agree that it is true there is a lot of misunderstanding out there. First of all there is a presumption that everyone can get their head round the ideas of a ‘good debt’. Also the debt being contemplated is potentially higher over three years than the average household annual income there for the scale of the debt is not understood in a context that is helpful.
    I also believe there is mis-information that is adding to the confusion. The constant cry ‘you don’t have tp pay upfront’ is untrue but is being used to try and make the idea seem more pallatable. Finally there is a lot of skating over the reality of living costs that have to be added to the tuition fees and how that will impact on the situation.
    I teach at a University and have son in his second year of sixth form, we have not got our heads round the subject, his teachers have not and friends who genrally are from low income families are voting with their feet – as is my son.

  2. Gabriel St. Aimee

    I believe that students do not want to understand the Tuition reforms. The protest seem to have a two purposes; 1 to create the illusion of equality in education and to avoid debt.
    As it currently stands Students graduate with debt, the NUS is against students accumulating debt and the Bradford Students’ Union supports this stance.

    Granted a university education is beneficial in finding a career people are under the misguided assumption that university is the only avenue to securing a job (I hope they are not hoping for job security).
    I believe that once Teachers are able to recover from the shock they might be able to explain to students that alternative routes do exist.
    But for the moment teacher are shocked and don’t know what to say; purely because it might sound hypocritical and Students don’t want to hear the lib dems say anything in favour of raising tuition fees.

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