The one good thing about tuition fees

I had a chat with a first-year student in Scotland earlier this week. She was just out of an exam and was still slightly in shock. Not because the exam had been particularly difficult. But because it had been utterly unlike any exam she had ever taken before.

How? Before the exam, she and her fellow students had been told that they would be allowed into the exam room 15 minutes early. The paper would be on the table for them to look at. They came in 15 minutes early and the paper was on the table, question side up.

But the really extraordinary thing was that there was no rule of silence during these 15 minutes, nor did they have to stay in the room once they arrived. So the paper and the questions were much discussed, the facts were checked and the answers were planned – all before the official three hours began.

And even when the official timekeeping did begin, people wandered in and out and the vast majority of the examined left before the end.

My young friend did not. That’s partly because she is pretty diligent, but also because she is not a Scot. So – unlike students from Scotland – she is paying full price for her university education. Given that her years at university are going to cost her going on £100,000 (after you add in interest on the loans), she can’t afford to fail. Perhaps those who aren’t paying for their own tuition don’t feel quite the same.

When tuition fees were first introduced, we were very against them. And I remain very anti the new loan system (which should be seen as an additional rate of income tax rather than anything else). But the one good thing about aligning cost with benefit is that it does force everyone to think about value.

It is the perception that there isn’t enough value in higher education that has driven applications down 10% since tuition fees were introduced, and the need to get value that makes fee-paying students stay to the end of exams while non-fee-paying students head off for an early lunch.

The good news of course is that if students demand more from their universities in return for their £9,000 a year, they will eventually get it (here’s one article that suggests that high fee-paying students “feel entitled to a better university experience”). And we will all benefit from that.

66 Responses

  1. 18/12/2012, Ellen wrote

    I disagree. If there are courses that are not worthy of being paid for, they should be scrapped. If some students are hardly doing 15 hours of lectures a week, their courses should be condensed into fewer years and lecturers should be expected to work full weeks (and full 12 month years).

    And the very person, Osborne, who has given the all clear to charge student interest at 3% above inflation (instead of base rate) is now actively persuing inflationary monetary policy – something that I hope will face legal challenges in the future.

    Extortionate student fees rely on the naivety of young students to pay too much for far too little.

  2. 18/12/2012, Boris MacDonut wrote

    #1 Ellen.What a load of Tory tommy rot. You propose that education is no longer a public good that one generation defrays for the next, but a lightly regulated mrket (like everything Tory) where consumer demand determines which courses are offered.
    The measure of quality is NOT student satisfaction. We are being led back to a system of Harrods education for the rich and Lidl for the rest based on who can pay. Should a keen bright boy be put off medicine due to the fees? Should a red toff girl be allowed to “do” Art History because daddy can afford it?

  3. 18/12/2012, Boris MacDonut wrote

    #2 Rats. I meant bored toff girls ,not red ones.

  4. 18/12/2012, Aff wrote

    Lets be completely honest. From the perspective of most graduates university degrees are a complete and total waste of time and money. Many students will end up with large debts and little else to show for it and very little benefit in the workplace afterwards.

    There is also the fact they will have been thoroughly indoctrinated into how to be obidient little parrots good at repeating what they’ve been told by the authorities. Which I suppose is what its really all about.

  5. 18/12/2012, Boris MacDonut wrote

    #54 Aff. What a grim and caustic view you have. Offering our young people a chance to mix with bright, creative folk while simultaneously expanding their own knowledge and personalities is a great leap forward in civilisation. A leap beyond the dour mechanics of a factory or the fear and death of the battlefields of our past.
    To sum it up in pound signs is a crass denial of the utility of a decent education both for the individual involved, becoming a more rounded person with a fulfilling life and for the benefits to society as a whole. I am heartily sick of killjoys like you telling everyone university is a waste of time unless you get get a high paid job, it’s like saying animals are a waste of time unless you can eat them. Grow up.

  6. 18/12/2012, Ellen wrote

    @Boris – And I am heartily sick of the likes of you claiming that getting youngsters into this level of debt before their first day of paid employment is OK. And the Con/LD minimizing the slow down in take up as ‘people not understanding how it works’

    I won’t pretend to understand what that response was that you gave me in ’2′ above – but you can’t object to a consumer led university system when you are asking students to mortgage their working lives against it.

    The advice I’m giving my children is that only half a dozen universities in this country are worth those fees.

  7. 19/12/2012, Mike wrote

    Our brightest students are increasingly accessing top US Ivy League universities for comparable or lower fees. My son is in his second year of a four year course in English and French at a UK university. He receives 20 hours of lectures and 8 hours of seminars for each of his six modules over a 20 week teaching period – a total of 168 hours per year. This is followed by 3/4 week exam period and 3/4 weeks waiting for the results. In neither year has he received any assessment and feedback in the first term. There are no personal tutors or tutorials, nor imaginative use of technology in supporting teaching and learning. However, it’s a great place to be, excellent for sport and its graduates are rated amongst the very best in the world by employers. But then they were amongst the brightest and most athletic students in the first place. Overall cost c. £16000 pa of which he pays c. £8000 through student loans. New fees would push that to c.£22000 pa. Good value?

  8. 19/12/2012, Aff wrote

    Boris my view is grim though I wouldn’t say caustic I’d say realistic. Maybe one day you’ll get a shock and find that your rose tinted glasses won’t be able to shield you from reality anymore?

    Many people in today’s world will pick some random degree because they don’t know what else to do. Yes they might enjoy mixing with other bright young minds and going out partying etc. This will all be funded by loans. When they come out the other end they may wonder regretfully why they bothered when confronted with the reality of their debts.

  9. 19/12/2012, Aff wrote

    Futher to previous comment. Its easy to not worry about pound signs and focus on mixing with bright young minds but not so easy when the party has ended, there aren’t any of those pound signs anymore and the baliffs are demanding payment.

    Debt = slavery

  10. 19/12/2012, Steve T wrote

    I usually rate the comments from Boris McDimwit alongside Daily mail articles, quite amusing but best not taken too seriously. But the comments on this article are puzzling me as they border on the incomprehensible. Boris old luv, have you been on the sauce, you little scallywag?

  11. 19/12/2012, Natalie wrote

    All education should have some nominal cost to the student or the parents – otherwise they don’t value it.

    These bright young minds of which you write.

    50% of our school leavers are now going to university.

    Intelligence follows a normal distribution, so half the world is above average intelligence (and the other half below average intelligence).

    All these bright young minds are doing is meeting up with those others with above average intelligence. They are not the “bright” young minds of yesteryear.

  12. 19/12/2012, Marie wrote

    I agree with Natalie. But the problem for the genuine bright young minds is that they are diluted by the not so bright. I(t has got to the stage where employers only really value a degree from the top
    institutions or in only practical subjects. Otherwise it is not worth the money. And you may now get better value in the USA…. unless you are Scottish of course.

  13. 19/12/2012, Jay wrote

    The fees are just not justifiable. 10 years ago, some buildings that were colleges are now university’s charging over valued education, One in North London being one of them.

    If it’s true 50% of school leavers are going uni, the other 50% who can’t afford the fees or don’t want that kind of debt, don’t even have the option of apprenticeships anymore. I feel for the young.

  14. 19/12/2012, 4caster wrote

    It is human nature to undervalue that for which we do not pay. But I cannot understand how the Scottish government gets away with discrimination against students from England and Wales. I thought all universities in the EU had offer the same terms to any student from anywhere within the EU. It seems that students from the continent and the Republic of Ireland get free tuition in Scotland – from anywhere in Europe except England and Wales.
    I suppose the answer is to make your permanent home in Scotland before applying for a university place. Or is the discrimination racial rather than residential?

  15. 19/12/2012, Mike wrote

    Nothing is paid back unless more than £21,000 is earned. Given that most women graduates work full time for 3 to 5 years then have children and go part time, this means that few will ever pay off their debts, and can expect them to be written off. This will affect the choice of subjects studied by men and women. Ie educating women in worthless subjects at the expense of (primarily) male taxpayers.

  16. 19/12/2012, Michael wrote

    Ellen, I hope your children don’t only take advice from you. There are certainly more than half a dozen universities in the country worth those fees. Check out the Russell Group, look at different university ranking tables which will show you how little consistency there is in ranking, but above all remember students don’t study universities, they study university courses. Best wishes.

  17. 19/12/2012, Nev wrote

    When only 5% of school leavers went to university a degree was worth almost any price – it was the door to a well paid career for the majority of graduates.
    Today a degree does not even guarantee a dead end job in a call centre.
    If you have £30,000 to spare, get a University degree for the experience and the discipline that GCSEs do not give. Otherwise only a vocational degree is worth going into debt for.

  18. 19/12/2012, Ellen wrote

    @16 Michael. My children need not take my advice but I don’t give financial assistance to something I regard as a poor investment.

    My eldest daughter is looking at science and medicine and will make her UCAS application. She will also apply to EU universities and has already attended an open day in Holland. Eunicas lists universities that teaches through the english language and a great deal more EU universities are targeting British students so these options will become more plentiful.

    We are also wading through available scholorships available at US uni’s and Mike@7 is correct that Ivy league fees are now comparable and even cheaper than even obscure universities here.

    As far as loans that have interest charged at 3% above base, with the threat of hyperinflation on the horizon, these loans are best avoided.

  19. 19/12/2012, Boris MacDonut wrote

    #6 Ellen. You only ever seem capable of seeing issues with your bean counter goggles on. You are preoccupied with costs especially to your own wallet. It is high time public discussion of the merit of universities and the fulfilment it can bring to both thevery clever and the just ordianary who get to mix with them, was moverd away from funding issues. You are reacting in an ill informed manner.Of course I object to making higher education consumer led. Debt is regrettable,but how else can these opportunities be widened? Would you go back to am elite of only 5% going to Uni’ ?
    Intellectual enquiry has an inherent worth.Our society needs it and individual students need it too. It is a worth not able to be measured by £ signs. Read Stefan Collini’s book “What are Universities for”,then see if you still think it is too much for too little.

  20. 19/12/2012, Ellen wrote

    Correction to previous comment -

    The student loans are being charged at 3% above inflation (RPI) and with Osborne actively persuing inflationary policies, attempting to inflate away government debt and creating a threat of hyperinflation – these student loans are possibly the worst possible way for a student to fund their education.

  21. 19/12/2012, Boris MacDonut wrote

    #10 How pointless and rude of you.
    #12. Marie. So would you stop youngsters from playing football because they are not as good as the elite ones who play for professional teams? Imagine soccer dilutes by the not so good players !! Stephen Hawking would have had a rubbish time at Uni if he was just there with Alan Turing .
    #14 4caster .Good point.

  22. 19/12/2012, Boris MacDonut wrote

    #18 Good God Ellen you are a helicopter parent. University education is not an investment ,it is a life enhancing experience with opportunities previously denied to ordinary folk. Opportunities to meet people, widen your reading and your understanding of the world we live in….it is not about you, nor is it about how much your family can make. You simply have to be an accountant to think in this way

  23. 19/12/2012, Ellen wrote

    @22 Boris. You are right. I am not interested in my children wandering around reciting Keats or contemplating the subtleties of Constable. Although I fail to see why you may think a UK university may have more in the way of fulfilling life experiences than a Dutch one.

    However, I simply wish my children to be self sufficient emotionally, spiritually and financially. I want them to have choices so they are not at the mercy of bad employers or cruel spouses. And, if I am lucky, I will be able to look a grandchild in the eye and know I did my best to give his or her parent the ability to nurture and prepare them also.

  24. 19/12/2012, Andrew H wrote

    Oh dear, tuition and payment are mentioned in the same sentence and Boris loses the gift of reasoning and rabidly foams at the mouth.

  25. 19/12/2012, Beta Adjusted wrote

    http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Education/UniversitiesColleges/16640/financial-help

    Am I understanding this correctly? an EU student DOESN’T have to pay fees to study at a scottish university but an English student DOES? thats utterly OUTRAGEOUS!!!

  26. 19/12/2012, Aff wrote

    Ellen your kids are lucky to have you for advice. Not so sure about boris, he doesn’t see the point of animals!

  27. 20/12/2012, Boris MacDonut wrote

    #23 Ellen you spurn civilisation in return for net profit. Weren’t we fighting anti-intellectuals like you in the 1930′s and 40′s.

  28. 20/12/2012, Jeff wrote

    The whole ‘loan’ scheme was an accounting measure purely designed to defer the cost and give the impression of a balanced budget. The Treasury knows that only a small % of loans will be paid with the vast majority written off. The cost of administering the scheme will probably exceed any monies paid back. The next Government will change things again…. In the meantime, my children plan to live abroad after graduating, not sure how HMRC will catch up with them in their foreign land?

  29. 20/12/2012, Ellen wrote

    @26 Alf. Thank you.
    @27 Boris. Spurn civilization? UK universities do not have the monopoly on civilization. You lead a very insular life if you think this. Maybe you should learn to broaden your horizons a little.

  30. 21/12/2012, Steve T wrote

    Ellen, you are absolutely right and Boris is absolutely wrong, as always. I would point out that the best response to big B is no response – would you engage with an idiot spouting nonsense in the pub? No, of course not, so why do it via Money Week? He only does it to wind you up, along with anyone else not living in his rather warped universe. Beam me up Scotty!

  31. 21/12/2012, Boris MacDonut wrote

    #29 & 30 Ellen and Steve. No, I don’t do it to wind you up. I do it to defend what I believe in. I am totally opposed to the sneering penny pinchers who seek to deride University education as of little or no worth. I happen to think it is a public good and a great achievement of the modern world. I have not said that Universities have a monopoly on civilisation, but I do feel they are a huge contributor to our general good.
    To reach a different conclusion should not lead to accusations of idiocy or a warped mind. Try putting a reasoned argument Steve.

  32. 21/12/2012, Orb wrote

    My existence has exposed me socially to a fairly wide spectrum of the populace & I’m amazed just how many ‘graduates’ (tradesmen too) hold low paid positions, & even no position at all! This leads me to the perception many (but not all?) ‘degree’ qualifications aren’t worth having anymore? Those I’ve spoken to complain they can’t use their qualification to secure ‘decent’ jobs & generally don’t have a clue how to apply their qualifications to industry. Others embarking on the application to or start of uni more often than not try getting as far away from home as possible – why? So their parents are less able to follow their ‘progress’. So many seem to look forward to ‘The Big Party’…

  33. 21/12/2012, Orb wrote

    …From these observations, I would be inclined to agree with the main message of the article: those having to sacrifice will take the priviledge of education more seriously, be more inclined to know exactly why they have chosen each subject, & know how its practical application to their future. Although many may be angered, I would fully endorse a move away from the ‘entitlement’ mentality towards the ‘take responsibility’ mentality.

    Personally, I am degree educated, but embarked on it after my mid-20s, and paid for it myself. Not only was I exposed to other ‘brilliant minds’, but the study material really encouraged me to scan well outside of ‘my box’, and from this personal experience, I couldn’t encourage education more, but ONLY if you can calculate the benefits.

  34. 21/12/2012, Orb wrote

    I don’t understand what’s wrong with signing up to a debt that could/will (if taken responsibly) lead to a much better future existence. And getting student work might offer the opportunity to minimise that debt? Making sacrifices to get ahead in life is the only way I know if you don’t have all the right friends in the right places – it’s how almost every successful (non-financial) business exists today. It’s like buying a house: you have to start somewhere, & it usually starts with debt!

    Perhaps introducing better preparation at school (guidance on debt, aptitude, application etc) is a way forward? And a government loan scheme at BofE rates? (They can do it for the banks..!)

  35. 21/12/2012, Orb wrote

    (and may I add how utterly distasteful it is that some feel emboldened by hiding behind their anonymity to deliberately make use of abusive reference to other contributors – you know who you are; don’t expect anything you write to be taken seriously :-(

    Come on people, let’s keep away from politics and keep it a healthy debate – we’re all entitled to our opinions; let’s aim to bring others onto our side!)

  36. 21/12/2012, Boris MacDonut wrote

    #32…..”aren’t worth having”. #33…..practical application to their future”. There you go again with the pound signs. What is wrong with education for education’s sake? You know. The sort that helps you do a crossword or a pub quiz. The sort that allows you to find your way around without a satnav. The sort that means you can hold a decent conversation about something other than X factor. The sort that helps you to be a more rounded person. Even dare I say it being interested in a subject for the love of it and not how much it impresses your mum’s friends.

  37. 22/12/2012, Ellen wrote

    on, but my units of time on the planet are measures in sterling. So this is my time I am allocating.

    When we started looking at degree options outside the UK, we were being completely driven by cost. However, the more we delve, the more my daughter is warming to doing a degree in another EU country for a variety of reasons. The US is more daunting because of distance but every other place we’ve looked at is a destination of a cheap RyanAir flight.

  38. 22/12/2012, Ellen wrote

    The ConLD have made a decision to punish success in the pricing university fees, who, ultimately, will be paying for it (and subsidizing others) and the very high interest charges they plan on levying against them. My daughter is planning for success and I do not want her to consider any value attached to failure.

  39. 22/12/2012, modsa wrote

    Any one thinking of going to university should do at least a rough cost benefit analysis of the value to them of a particular university course. If you are outgoing and mix easily the contacts made may well justify the fees. If you are introverted then a university course may do more harm than good. I think charging for courses is a good thing as it does at least ensure that the majority of students are motivated to make full use of the facilities. The last Government only wanted more students at university to keep the unemployment rate down!

  40. 22/12/2012, Dave wrote

    Could some one explain why I should be happy to pay for somebody elses university education when I neither had the oppertunity for a one myself, and have no children that could have one either. It seems a little bit wrong that I should have to pay for someone, only for them to then charge me rediculus fees when there qualified. I think most peaple call them Solicitors. Free further education should be limited to required professions that the nation as a whole will benifit from such as medical and health, or job creating like engineering. Aspirational like the Arts and English Lit should be paid for in full.

  41. 22/12/2012, SupportRevolution wrote

    My wife has recently returned to higher education on her mid 30′s and is paying the fees upfront. Having worked in the ‘real world’ she has been shocked at the unprofessional service actually being offered in both the teaching and administration of her degree. Nobody complains because many are not paying for the course directly but the fact remains that higher education is stuck with a 1970′s mentality and needs to be reformed. Ellen – our experience supports everything you’ve said. Boris needs to get in the real world.

  42. 22/12/2012, Andrew Hill wrote

    As the amount of student debt accumulates over the next few years surely someone at the treasury will see that much of this loan money is not being repaid and will convince a future chancellor that we now need to get this debt in. This will be justified by having to take tough decisions, in the national interest etc. If you think that what governments say now is what they will say in the future you are a very tusting person, just look at what they have done with pensions.

  43. 22/12/2012, Qube wrote

    The overwhelming issue is what is happening across the world. The rise of fee structures as in the UK and USA are almost entirely out of sync with the models of access in other countries, where fees are much less ( third less in Netherlands) if any at all (most German states are zero). The rise of free university courses online are also a pointer to the direction the rest of the world is heading. The UK can’t trade off its heritage indefinitely, while merryn argues that costs focus the mind, so does value. UK and USA are slowly, but surely being eclipsed.

  44. 22/12/2012, Qube wrote

    @Ellen. The options for study in Europe are broad and the standards are high. I lecture at a german university and we are offering more and more english medium bachelor and master courses (postgrad courses in English have been running for years).
    It is very easy to live in an island bubble in the UK and assume that ‘we are the best in the world’. I think this type of navel-gazing is very dangerous and makes us the laughing stock of the world. I applaud your thinking and search off the island, I’m sure your child(ren) will benefit hugely by living in a different culture and discovering something beyond the island.

  45. 22/12/2012, Jack wrote

    Really don’t see the problem with the current student fees, this coming from a 1st year undergraduate paying £9000 a year.

    It shouldn’t be considered “debt” at all, it is simply a 5% increase in income tax over 21k, which is totally fair enough in my mind.

    We get the benefit (possibly) from state funded university, and in return we pay a bit more in tax if we do well out of it. Fine by me!

    It really doesn’t matter if you leave university with £1,000,000 of this type of debt, there are no debt collectors and you will never repay if you don’t get a well paid job. It simply gives the illusion that the government is balancing the books, when in reality the vast majority of this debt will never be repaid.

  46. 22/12/2012, Michael wrote

    Qube, I would agree with you about the great benefit of living in a different culture, but you have a set view about the direction of travel which ignores the actual evidence that the US and UK still dominate the world rankings of universities and university courses. I wonder where the “navel-gazing” idea comes from, it’s at odds with my experience certainly. Cambridge, Imperial, Oxford, UCL, Edinburgh….are they part of an island bubble?!

  47. 22/12/2012, Boris MacDonut wrote

    #37 .Ellen. I had grandmothers too. It’s just that however clever they may have been the chance to broaden their great intellects by attending University was denied to them. They turned 18 in 1925……and I do scoff at you as your attitude is all wrong. #38 as for “planning for success” eat some humility for cripes sake.
    #40 Dave. You should be happy that the surgeon who saves your life did not pick up her skills at the University of Life.That is why you should be happy to pay. Alan Turing would not have gone to Uni’ on your criteria and WW2 would have lasted 3 years longer. The idea that our nation does not need arts graduates is offensive in the extreme.How ignorant of you.
    #41 I’m shocked at the level of service at a Travelodge.Do they not inhabit the”real world”.

  48. 22/12/2012, Boris MacDonut wrote

    #45 . Jack is spot on. Well said young man and don’t listen to these carping old curmudgeons from the Tory party.
    #46 Michael. Ellen is not forcing her kids to attend an European Uni’ for the cultural experience, it is entirely down to saving a few quid. Universities are a massive foreign income earner for us, but if you ask Ellen she’ll respond with a UKIP enhanced anti EU blather whether or not her kids go to Maastricht to do a degree in English. I’m fairly sure Ellen won’t encourage her penny pinching teens to actually learn Dutch, just be grateful that they have dodged a bill by acting in a high handed ,arrogant manner.

  49. 22/12/2012, Old timer wrote

    Before the explosion in university building on the 1960s, many people ,including myself, obtain ed professional qualifications e.g accountancy, via articles, distance learning, and on the job training, having obtained equivalent of O or A levels. Now it seems, a degree is required before you can embark on any structured professional training. The professional bodies could assist greatly by taking on trainees with just good A levels. By the way, I think the interest rate charged on the loan is extortionate.

  50. 22/12/2012, Boris Macdonut wrote

    #49 Gosh old timer, wasn’t the past so much better. If only they hadn’t gone and built all those Universities in the 1960′s we could all simply try and make do as best we could. What a pity they spoilt it with their ambition and largesse.

  51. 22/12/2012, Ellen wrote

    @Micheal 46. The universities you list are among the few that I would suggest are worth the fees being asked.

    @48 – Boris, geez. When do you stop talking outside of your subject knowledge? Clearly you could use a bit of ’rounding’ yourself.

    You know nothing about me or my politics. I am a committed European and fully support further political and economic ties with other EU states. And despite the current Euro crisis and MEPs not being held accountable enough, I think keeping the Eurozone strong is vital for our continent especially now the dog fight between China and America is underway.

    And if you think that attempting to make reductions on a debt in the order of £100K+ is penny pinching, (excluding higher UK living costs), despite your inability to stick to subjects you know something about, you must indeed be a very rich man.

  52. 22/12/2012, Ellen wrote

    @44. Qube. I agree with your evaluation of why the UK government think they can charge anything for an degree course to UK residents.

    I am interested to know what university you lecture in and which undergraduate courses are provided for in the english language.

  53. 22/12/2012, Ian from across the road wrote

    Despite a massive increase in the proportion of people going to university when compared to forty years ago, we still do not have enough competent graduates in some disciplines eg engineering. Without reducing the entry requirements should we not reduce the fees on selected courses to get the output that the nation requires? Similarly where we have a surplus of graduates eg media studies? Perhaps we should increase the fees in order to use economic forces to reduce the intake. Whilst this might seem harsh to some, surely we should be ensuring the best outcome for the nation at large and nurturing the skills that we need to prosper.

  54. 22/12/2012, Boris MacDonut wrote

    #51 Ellen. Sorry. My mistake. I assumed the right wing rhetoric would inevitably dump you in the anti EU camp. I have to say I agree Europe is the future ,while China and the US are scrabling for the leftovers.
    I know nothing about you other than your Fagin like capacity for avoiding costs.Somehow you know I “lead an insular life”, “need to broaden my horizons” and you know I am “talking outside my subject matter”. I do not and I am not. One would expect more gratitude for my pointing out where you are going wrong.

  55. 22/12/2012, David wrote

    The information you have about examinations at Scottish Universities is blatantly untrue. My son is an undergraduate student at one of them; I lecture at a second; and I am helping to supervise a PhD student at a third. None of the practices you describe are allowed.

  56. 22/12/2012, Boris MacDonut wrote

    #53 Ian. That is rather Stalinistic. Surely Universities are there to serve the people who use them not the UK economy. Despite a huge increase in car ownership and road use Britain only produces F1 champions at the rate of one a decade, shouldn’t we gear our roads and car use to more productive ends? We want the best outcome for the students/customers, not UK PLC.

  57. 22/12/2012, carol42 wrote

    If this is true things must have changed a lot since I attended the University of Glasgow until 1991. Exams were very strict you were not allowed to turn the paper over until it started and certainly not to leave the room, must say I find it hard to believe. It would have been better if they had called the fees a graduate tax, less emotive.

  58. 22/12/2012, Michael wrote

    Yes, I find it hard to believe too. It seems like we probably have half the story at best.

  59. 23/12/2012, Romford Dave wrote

    For those doubting the accuracy of the claim based on their own empirical evidence or because there appears to be a gap in the evidence, should ask themselves are they in a position to reach a conclusion?

    It’s not actually conclusive that the young lady was even attending a Scottish university from the article above, just an assumption.

    Trumping that though surely is Ellen’s apology from Boris, for only he could be enigmatic enough to wrap an apology up within an accusation.

    Is there some earlier Russian influence surfacing?

    How can following the axiom of a penny saved is a penny earned, warrant vilification as a handler of the kind of goods Fagin was famed for?

    Unless it was his miserly attributes you were alluding too, but then surely Scrooge would be more appropriate with it almost being Christmas?

    What the Dickens are you talking about Boris, denying free choice in the pursuit of education isn’t a lesson we should be teaching anyone?

  60. 23/12/2012, Orb wrote

    Boris @36 (hope I’m not too late – the debate’s been raging!), “education for education’s sake”, education isn’t a ‘low cost’ life-enhancing experience. Forget “there you go again… £-value” etc: this not insubstantial expense HAS to be paid for somehow. And if the state (taxpayers) are to foot the bill – whole or in part – isn’t it a privilege our National Debt can ill afford?

    And if the cost (debt) should be born privately, it seems an extravagant way to enhance your odds at the crossword etc!

    If it’s free for the benefactor, surely its potential benefit will inherently be valued less, thus enhancing the ‘entitlement’ mentality to which you are so opposed? And “what’s wrong” with making it count? Properly evaluated, a decision would (should) be based on one’s interests – a perfect choice for a career?

    I wholeheartedly embrace Jack @45′s inspiring view – it chimes well with that of #34.

  61. 23/12/2012, Orb wrote

    (Off the subject, Boris, in my experience, the educated were the first to embrace satnav; ‘X-Factor viewers’ weren’t able to afford early models!)

  62. 24/12/2012, Boris MacDonut wrote

    #60 Orb. Much of it won’t be paid. For someone on a salary of £33,000pa (14% above average like most graduates) it amounts to an additional tax rate of of 3%. At that rate it would take about 60 years to repay. It is really a way of kicking the problem down the road and having the jam today…and our youngsters have the gall to say the baby boomers snaffled all the pies.One good point is that toffs like Barristers will have to payfor their privileges.
    #61. I have a geaography A level grade “A” ,what would I need a satnav for?

  63. 24/12/2012, Old timer wrote

    My word Boris Donut, don’t you have a lot to say. In this case, you have missed the point. I was making a plea to the professional organisations to cease insisting on a degree before a person could enter for their examinations and allow entry for those with adequate Os and As. I can assure you that things were not better in the old days.

  64. 24/12/2012, Critic Al Rick wrote

    @ 62.

    Boris, if you had used a satnav you’d realise that’s like saying: “I’ve got an ‘A’ Level grade A in Mathematics, what would I need a calculator for?”

  65. 04/01/2013, Lefturn wrote

    “We will all benefit” ? Only those with money will benefit. Those that cannot afford the fees, and there are plenty of them, will not.

  66. 09/01/2013, Roger wrote

    I decide to send my kid to Princeton (got accepted in the first place of course), slightly more expensive, but much better future.

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