The costs, and significance of university
Jeremy Corbyn is something of a rockstar to many of my piers, and I never understood why. In my eyes he is delusional, he is Nigel Farage for millennials.
For example, Corbyn said he’d make tuition fees by September of 2017. There are currently over 2 million students in the UK, and each of their tuition fees amount to £9,000 per year. Since universities are businesses and are not owned by the government, I imagine they would not want to lower that price. In order to pay all 2 million student’s degrees it would amount to around £18 billion.
This figure is greatly simplified, the actual number is much more.
The majority of those costs would be paying for courses that people don’t need to take in order to get into their chosen career. That may seem unfair, but three years of industry experience will fair much greater in the eyes of an employer than a degree. Many may disagree, but the majority of employers in the UK come from a generation that didn’t require a degree to succeed; they simply worked their way up, or were familiar with someone in a position to give them the opportunity.
Of course a degree helps many people, but if everybody got industry experience rather than going to uni it would be advantageous to all. Less debt, more people earning a wage, more people paying taxes, and – most importantly – a more level playing field (since many people are unable to go to uni due to the costs of accommodation etc).
I have no problem with university, it’s great for more than just educational purposes; the social aspect is also a huge benefit. Even if you don’t go to university, being able to go see your friends in other cities is really exciting.
I’m just pointing out the theoretical economic benefits of everyone not going to uni.
The £18 billion, and why nobody questioned it
This £18 billion is a figure that a lot of students overlooked, and I struggled to understand why.
I was brought up in a family who are very much business driven people. Through life I’d been taught the importance of money, and what businesses think like.
When Corbyn said he’d make tuition fees free, I thought it was a joke. Many will argue that the £18 billion figure could be negotiated down, but that seems unlikely. Universities have proven that students will pay the price, so why would they decrease it and lose out on such a huge amount of revenue?
The typical response to that question is “money isn’t everything”, but it really is.
I think too many students see money as a figure, rather than an actual value, and it’s not hard to see why. The costs of going to uni are ridiculous; £9k tuition, accommodation (which is in the thousands), travel, food, going out to town, and more. These are just numbers on a screen to them, and since the majority of students aren’t earning anywhere near these outgoing figures it’s pretty obvious why they can’t appreciate their value.
The money does have a value, though. That £9k tuition is what the universities run on, and whilst it may seem like meaningless numbers to many students, the money has to come from somewhere.
How £18 billion can be paid out without affecting public sectors is beyond me, and I have no idea if Corbyn would be able to follow through.
Please note, I did not vote Tory.