UK / Germany / USA / etc.
Tuition fees, I do not think they should be abolished. By this I mean the idea of paying a sum to cover your tuition during your degree course at a University or equivalent.
University life in the UK should mean having to apply yourself to your studies while also reaping the benefits of a new adult experience that you can share with people from many different backgrounds. You need to be able to learn research and information gathering techniques, teamwork, presentation skills, analytical skills, how to put forward an objective argument and its supporting arguments from other sources, meet new people, form and understand the nature of different inter-personal relationships, manage your finances...
Huh? Wait a minute there.
F I N A N C E S ?
Yes, you will learn how to balance you accounts, because when you get to University, you're an adult, and adults make adult decisions. The fact of the matter is, if all tuition fees were abolished, Universities would not be a choice for the academic, but everyone who could equal the entry requirements set by the University.Let us just take a second to think about what might happen if Universities were free (Remember: we can't compare them to the days of student grants, because there are a hell of a lot more people going to University right now).
There is now have no money to pay the University Teaching staff, University Department staff, University Accomodation staff, University Application staff, University property caretakers, University Examination staff and the list gets longer. They need cash and quick and there are two options:
- Government subsidisation (most likely:
higher taxes could mean people who don't even intend on going to University get charged for the priviledge or very unlikely:
the Government makes cuts in... well somewhere.
- Universities secure advanced loans from banks and building societies, putting the country into even worse debt
- Universities turn to the big corporations for money, selling off sections of land to Fast Food chains, banks, clothes shops or whoever is willing to pay a high price for premium land with a guaranteed student demographic to market to. Bear in mind that this is already happening, take Birmingham campus' for example. It already has its own set of golden arches
a few hundred yards from it's university library! Imagine University's being paid to sell and advertise a certain brand of beer in the student union. Imagine WHSmith as your University's official stationers. Imagine losing the current situation
, where student bars and stationers offer much cheaper 'student' rates as a result of being non profit-making organisations.
One of the major drawbacks of having to make ends meet, would be Universities having to be very specific on which courses they can afford to offer. Many of the more expensive courses would either be prioritised or abolished. While this does have it's advantages (Universities concentrating efforts on a selected few subjects and offering better teaching on this basis), the face of University life would change forever. One of the greatest things about being at University is the amount of diversity, brought in part by students coming from all over the country, but also from the fact that they are mostly studying completely different subjects. I can tell you, this is a truly wholsome experience, and not one to be traded in purely for the sake of money
I'll stop here to mention Germany, another European country with an entirely different system. Germany's examination system is not a mockery. Germany does not have a 40% pass rate for the first year of University which doesn't even go towards your degree result. The German's are a little more sensible when it comes to education, and as a result their Universities have people from all over the country, nay the world fighting for their spaces.
If we currently had the proud academic situation that the Germans do, then perhaps we could justify subsidising tuition fees, but before we have reached that point it would be a rash decision to do so.