Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
12 views
12 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
36 views
36 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
36 views
36 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
66 views
66 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
372 Views

Things Students Need: abolishing tuition fees is not one of them

In light of the Labour Party’s shock survival at the General Election last June, Jeremy Corbyn’s flagship policy of abolishing tuition fees looks set to dominate the debate over education for years to come. But beyond giving a few people the right to yell empty slogans about ‘free education’, the argument for this holy grail of left wing politics is a pretty thin one.

Introducing fees, and then raising them to their current level, has done virtually nothing to deter people from all socioeconomic backgrounds from going to university. Our student loan system means university is paid for as a modest percentage of earnings over a certain threshold after graduation. It’s a system that works. Statistics show that more working class people than ever before are going to university. The one part of the UK where university is free – Scotland – actually does the worst at this. Could it be that the vast expense of subsidising tuition is acting as a drain on money and resources that are needed elsewhere?

Imagine taking a load of money from a working class family where no one has ever gone to university, and handing it to a well-off graduate. That’s the literal reality of what abolishing tuition fees would mean. It’s a direct transfer of wealth from the poor to the middle class and the rich. This is money that could be spent on the NHS, social care, outreach programs to encourage poorer kids to apply for university… As regressive a policy as you can get, yet oddly enough advocated by all manner of people claiming to be progressives.

But enough about what British students don’t need. Here are a few suggestions of what they do need.

Britain’s students aren’t losing that much sleep over their invisible student loan debt. Okay, admittedly, that 6% interest rate is ludicrously high, though mercifully that appears to be under review. But what they’re really losing sleep over is, well, the place they’re sleeping – specifically, how to pay for it. Especially in a city like Brighton.

The obvious solution to spiralling rents across the UK is summed up in that age old saying ‘build more sodding houses’, but since promising new houses is like promising unicorns, there’s a few things that can be done in the meantime to help students who are left at the mercy of the housing market. Banning the legalised extortion that is agency fees would be a good start (whenever you’re ready Theresa, it was in your manifesto). Before I moved to Brighton I thought shelling out £75 per person for my letting agent to print out 12 A4 pages was expensive (those were the days). You can imagine my horror trying to find accommodation here and being quoted figures as high as £360 (!). Expenses like that can be financially crippling for less well-off students. More effective regulation to deal with some of the cowboy landlords and letting agents out there wouldn’t go amiss too. We shouldn’t have to wait 3 month for our collapsed sofa to be replaced, or 12 months for the lock on the front door to be fixed (wait no they never fixed that).

Maintenance loans are also a mess. A system that gives one size loan for London and another for every single other place in the country together is so mind-numbingly stupid it could only have been designed by someone who’d never ventured past the M25. Students in places like Brighton, where rents are comparable to London, are particularly disadvantaged by this system. Change it so that the size of the loan reflects average student living costs in whatever part of the country you are in. You could go further and abolish the means-testing of it too. Means-testing based on your parents’ income ignores all manner of factors such as other siblings at university, your parents’ financial commitments and debts, their generosity – all of which may impact their ability to support you (if at all). It’s also extraordinarily easy to game the system if your parents are divorced. Replace it with a flat-rate for everyone (adjusted by location only), and set it significantly higher than the current minimum (which is too low to even cover rent in many places). A system like this would be fairer to students from all economic backgrounds. Give students the choice, and those who feel they don’t need it all can always choose to take less of it.

None of these solutions would require major additional spending by the government. If you want to put more money into education, you could spend relatively modest sums investing in university facilities, or improving schools to give more children the opportunity to attend the best universities. But don’t waste £10 billion a year on a middle class handout that won’t help students or universities.

Edward Baines

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
12 views
12 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
36 views
36 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
36 views
36 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
66 views
66 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
12 views
Arts
12 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018

Starting university comes with both exciting but potentially daunting changes, with both moving away from home and studying at degree level posing to be two new challenges.…

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist
Film & Theatre
25 views
Film & Theatre
25 views

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist

Anonymous - September 18, 2018

One key film in the development of anyone who grew up in the early 2000s was The Incredibles (2004). It’s comedy, vibrancy, and general sense of fun…

France in Fine Fettle
Sports
36 views
Sports
36 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Prior to the start of the quadrennial tournament this summer, football fans across the world grew sceptical over Russia’s credentials and ability to host the most prestigious…

Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
36 views
Arts
36 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Boredom is impossible when you throw yourself into everything this weird and wonderful city has to offer. The specific and unique cultural wonders of Brighton are indeed…

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
66 views
Arts
66 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

During this year’s Pride Festival, Brighton had the honour of welcoming international pop star and voice of the early 2000s, Britney Spears, to the main stage. Undoubtedly,…

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
1132 views1
Campus News
1132 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Sussex Lecturer Accused of Making Transphobic Comments Ahead of Brighton Trans Pride 2018
News
67 views1
News
67 views1

Sussex Lecturer Accused of Making Transphobic Comments Ahead of Brighton Trans Pride 2018

Jessica Hubbard - September 15, 2018

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy Lecturer at Sussex, was accused of making transphobic comments in July 2018. This followed various interviews and blog posts by Stock. Stock told…

Welcome 2018 Freshers!
Campus News
71 views
Campus News
71 views

Welcome 2018 Freshers!

Billie-Jean Johnson - September 15, 2018

Ah, Freshers. You’ve no idea the amazing year you have ahead of you! As you read this now, you’ve probably met your flatmates and maybe even met…

A conversation with Kathleen Stock on Transgender Identity
Opinion
64 views
Opinion
64 views

A conversation with Kathleen Stock on Transgender Identity

Jessica Hubbard - September 15, 2018

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy lecturer at Sussex University, met with controversy after criticising the government’s reform of the Gender Recognition Act (2004). The amendment would ‘de-medicalise’ the…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
389 views
Arts
389 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
390 views
Arts
390 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
368 views
Arts
368 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
430 views
Arts
430 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
445 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
385 views
Arts
385 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
362 views
Arts
362 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
548 views
Campus News
548 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
312 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
911 views
Arts
911 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
371 views
Arts
371 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu
Artist Focus
452 views
Artist Focus
452 views

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - May 16, 2018

Last week artist Fedilou made her debut exhibition in the downstairs space of Morelli Zorelli, a quaint vegan Italian restaurant in Hove, featuring a collection of intimate…