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Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Student fees/Student debts

Listening to the debate currently in the news concerning the level of student debts as our "Socialist" NuLabour Gauleiters try to drag more young people into university courses I am once more struck by the gap between the student reality and Whitehall/Westminster perceptions of reality. The Minister for Higher Education believes, because his puppet masters in the Civil Service tell him it is so, that student debt is reducing because although 43% are now taking up university places, only 58% are "in debt" and they claim this figure is down on previous years. Of course, you do have to look at how these figures are derived, and they are based on how many graduates are owing more than the Departments "average". Yet, in the Today programme on BBC Medical students and law students typically finish their courses owing the government or the banks more than £40,000 while a teacher may owe in the order of £25,000 (Around £2,000 above the average). Given that the "average" was, until recently, £15,000, this is a bit disingenuous.

Then there is the lottery of how much a family may get in support. Student grants are "Means tested" so that the poorest families may qualify for a full support grant (The student may still have only around £45 per week to live on) or a lesser amount if your parents combined incomes are below a "threshold" above which they are considered "wealthy". This is the trap that my family have always fallen into - my income and that of my ex-wife's have always been just above that threshold and some Whitehall W*nk*r has always taken great delight in simply rejecting every application and then billing us for everything they can - because we're supposed to be wealthy. So the Minister cheerfully announcing that "There are always those just above or just below the threshold who will win or lose ..." made my blood boil. Since the W*nk*rs that make up these rules and set the thresholds they are so rigid on are all able to send their children to private schools and the best universities at my expense because they are paid inflated salaries and - being the insiders to the rules, know exactly how to manipulate the system - make me pay again to support their childrens education by drawing the very support and benefits they deny my children. Someone somewhere needs to start asking how come some of the oiks now running Whitehall Departments can amass the sort of incomes that allow them to buy properties worth half a million or more in choice locations on what they claim are "average" salaries. Lies, damned lies and Civil Service statistics?

The government and the Civil Service argue that any student with a degree can earn "more than £100,000 more than someone without a degree - over their working lifetime. That last bit is the catch. As one architecture student said on the show yesterday, he would be looking to start work as an architect on £19,000 a year - assuming he could find a job - and unless he could set up his own practice or buy a partnership at some stage, would be unlikely to earn more than the equivalent of £50,000 a year by the end of his working life. In the meantime he had a debt of £40,000 to pay back and this meant, if he got a job, being unable to set aside anything for a pension until he earned considerably more.

On top of this universities in England are charging, at the government's behest (Remember that this Government is dominated by Scottish MP's whose dictats in Westminster have no impact on their constituencies in Scotland) Tuition Fees of up to £3,000 a year. Sounds OK until you learn that in Wales the Assembly subsidises this for Welsh students and in Scotland there is no such fee - unless you are a student from an English home. EU students are exempted by EU Law which states that they must be treated in the same manner and receive the same benefits as "nationals" - but apparently this does not extend to students who are "English" because the law in England says you can charge them .... Only a Civil Servant could create a system as unfair as this and only a socialist w*nk*r in NuLabour could ever argue that it is "fair" and a "matter of choice". And in the meantime the English taxpayers subsidise the Scottish students and the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Labour MPs constituents benefits.

The most amazing part of this entire debate is that almost all the politicians who have set up this system are the beneficiaries of the 1960's - 1980's free education system, which most of them abused horrendously. Now they are in the top jobs, in control of access and looking after their children and dynastic ambitions - they have pulled up the ladder behind them and locked everyone else into a debt trap.

2 comments:

  1. As someone still paying off student loans -- for a career I pretty much no longer have -- it's daunting to think that I'll be paying for years and years on this. The gov't has finally offered me a chance to reduce the amount I'm repaying because of my injury, but hey, I'll take whatever help I can get on this.

    While I don't think education should be free, I do wish there were a less expensive means of learning and earning...becoming a contributing member of society. Of course, there are those who make it their career to stay in school and keep adding meaningless initials after their name because it beats having to get a real job.

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  2. Got a set of Alpabet Soup after my own name - but they are all work related qualifications. And one of my daughters will be paying off her loan for years to come.

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