Cost of studying for a degree to double by 2012

The annual cost of studying for a degree will double by 2012 - having already risen 300 per cent since 1988, through a combination of grant cuts, rising living costs and tuition fees, which the government last week confirmed would increase to a maximum £9,000 per year. The news comes as thousands of students prepare to march on Westminster today to protest the coalition's "looming, savage education cuts".

The annual cost of studying for a degree will double by 2012 – having already quadrupled since 1988, through a combination of grant cuts, rising living costs and tuition fees, which the government last week confirmed would increase to a maximum £9,000 per year. The news comes as thousands of students prepare to march on Westminster today to protest the coalition’s “looming, savage education cuts”.

The figures, from the University and College Union (UCU), show that, in contrast with the 312 per cent increase in the cost of studying for a degree (fees + living costs – grants), the cost of everyday household items rose by 127 per cent. Student/staff ratios have also risen in recent years – in 1988, the ratio was 12.6:1; in 2008/9, the ratio was 16.3:1.

The union says the plans to raise fees to £9,000 would be “the final nail in the coffin of affordable university education” and “the end of genuine choice of degree” for thousands of people, adding 16-19 year olds would also be hit by the scrapping of the Educational Maintenance Allowance.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said:

“Politicians have consistently let students down over the years. However, these latest set of proposals go too far. If implemented, the government’s plans will completely change the landscape of further and higher education…

The rest of the world is investing in education yet we’re doing the opposite. College grants that are often the difference between some students being able to study or not – the EMA – are being axed and university students are expected to shoulder the burden of punitive cuts to teaching grants.”

Last week, Left Foot Forward reported on the complete abolition of teaching grants to 24 UK universities, including the LSE and SOAS, following universities minister David Willetts’s admission state funding funding of arts, humanities and social sciences degrees would be scrapped. It was also revealed that 73 universities will see their teaching budgets cut by more than three quarters.

Furthermore, the National Union of Students (NUS) last week said the fees hike “will deter four-in-five students“, while last month, Left Foot Forward’s Will Straw revealed that bankers would fare better than public servants under Lord Browne’s plans, that, although those on lower incomes will pay back a smaller proportion of their loans, graduates in top paying jobs will end up making smaller contributions than students on middle incomes.

• More information on today’s demo can be found at www.demo2010.org.

21 Responses to “Cost of studying for a degree to double by 2012”

  1. JamieSW

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cost of studying for a degree to double by 2012: //bit.ly/bgAcch writes @shamikdas

  2. David Marsden

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cost of studying for a degree to double by 2012: //bit.ly/bgAcch writes @shamikdas

  3. Cllr Krupesh Hirani

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cost of studying for a degree to double by 2012 //bit.ly/basdod

  4. Shlomo Pines

    RT @leftfootfwd Cost of studying for a degree to double by 2012: //bit.ly/bgAcch writes @shamikdas

  5. Nicholas Ripley

    Cost of studying for a degree to double by 2012 //bit.ly/ajP6zS /cc @feedly

  6. Sara Teresa

    I work at a university and completely support today's #demo2010 against the government's savage education cuts //bit.ly/cdNclK

  7. JulianaFarha

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cost of studying for a degree to double by 2012: //bit.ly/bgAcch writes @shamikdas

  8. cim

    “the cost of studying for a degree (fees + living costs – grants)

    That’s not the cost of studying for a degree. The actual cost is “upfront fees + living costs – grants – loans + loan repayments”, and the “loan repayments” part of the cost needs to be treated somewhat separately because it’s not paid at the same time as the degree.

    The goverment proposals keep the first at zero, doesn’t affect the second, raises the third and fourth, and depending on the income of the graduate either raises or lowers the fifth (in a fairly progressive fashion), compared with the current situation.

    Compared with when I did my degree in the late 90s, the current proposals decrease the first, have no effect on the second, increase the third and fourth, and increase the fifth. At the time of doing their degree, students will have more – not less – cash compared with expenditure than I did. They will also repay more later in life than I have, but it will be a smaller proportion of their annual income in the years in which they make repayments.

  9. Anon E Mouse

    cim – You’re making it sound like a graduate tax!

  10. merthyr_bill

    it is a graduate tax, but one that is limited to a certain amount paid back and does not start until a specific earnings threshold.

    it is not a loan in the normal sense that it can be called upon or you are in trouble if you can’t afford a payment.

    we should call it a graduate tax because that is what it is. we should also retrospectively tax current graduates to make it fair.

    then again, Primrose Mongo was in favour of a graduate tax so maybe it’s a terrible idea!

  11. Coventry Artspace

    RT @riprap007: Cost of studying for a degree to double by 2012 //bit.ly/ajP6zS /cc @feedly

  12. Shamik Das

    Merthyr_bill, as you know, we’re an open blog and welcome all points of view. However, some of your recent comments have been quite offensive – can you please stop using the term “mongo”. Thanks.

  13. merthyr_bill

    Shamik, fair enough, point taken. I think I’ve only used Mong or Mongo or perhaps ‘The Emperor’ a few times.

  14. Shamik Das

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cost of studying for a degree to double by 2012: //bit.ly/bgAcch writes @shamikdas #Demo2010

  15. cim

    I’ve suggested before how it could be rebranded as a zero-fees graduate tax without changing anything about its implementation whatsoever. The IFS says much the same: //www.ifs.org.uk/publications/5307

  16. 13eastie

    The analysis (not just in this article, but in general) is simply wrong.

    If any prospective student is put off by the idea of subscribing in a risk-free manner to what is a de facto (small) graduate tax, then we must question the intrinsic value of the qualification.

    If the student does not think the degree is worth paying for, why should the rest of us cough up?

    If the student does not think the degree is worth paying for, indeed it may not be.

    The biggest injustice to young people is Labour’s deceit: mass proliferation of costly, but worthless, Mickey Mouse degrees from third rate “universities” is a loss-making investment and justly so. THERE IS NO SENSIBLE REASON FOR SO MANY PEOPLE TO GO TO “UNIVERSITY”.

    But as the current proposals stand, they are more egalitarian than any previous scheme: no onus is placed on students or parents to fund their studies.

    THE MEANS TO PAY WILL FINALLY BE NO BAR TO ENTERING UNIVERSITY: ANYONE WHO CLAIMS OTHERWISE IS A LIAR.

  17. Clegg under fire over fees as violence mars student protest | Left Foot Forward

    […] morning, the University and College Union (UCU) revealed the cost of studying for a degree would double by 2012, while a survey of student teachers by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) […]

  18. 13eastie

    What an absolute rabble the NUS is.

    Aaron Porter has been shown comprehensively to be utterly out of his depth as the mob protest he “organised” descended into medieval barbarism.

    1. Completely hoodwinked by the Socialist “Worker” Party and other ramshackle trouble-makers
    2. Failed to gauge the potential among his own followers for violence or to communicate it to the authorities
    3. Neglected to mitigate the potential for vandalism / injury
    4. Was uninterested in doing anything personally to defuse the situation at Millbank
    5. Allowed official NUS reps to be seen on TV participating in the rioting

    There were 2,000 at Millbank from a claimed turn-out of 50,000. This is a lot more than a few bad apples.

    Porter is extremely fortunate no-one has been killed.

    Real life is a bit different to the JCR, eh, Aaron?

  19. merthyr_bill

    Today’s behaviour has been embarrassing. I watched interviews with a few participants. One, must have been 18 maximum, his voice not even broken saying “we’ve tried all other options”! what a turd.

  20. Tim Worstall

    “The annual cost of studying for a degree will double by 2012”

    Please do stop being silly. The cost of a degree hasn’t changed at all. Who is paying for it has. The cost has been moved from the general taxpayer to those who directly benefit from a degree: the students in the form of higher lifetime earnings.

    I’ve never really understood why it’s considered leftist or progressive to tax dustmen so that the upper middle classes can train to become bankers.

  21. Look Left – Real issues lost amidst the madness | Left Foot Forward

    […] on Wednesday, the University and College Union revealed the cost of studying for a degree would double by 2012, while a National Union of Teachers survey showed that four-fifths of student teachers […]

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