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Fees don't pay

By Mariya Hussain

Monday 1 December 2014 Student Journalists

Students are directly impacted by fees from the beginning of their studies, all the way to the end of their university experience, and even beyond, explains NUS Journalist Mariya Hussain.

As prospective students look at courses and universities they are not given the freedom they should have. Tuition fees force the consideration of the financial return of a course and education is being looked at as a financial transaction rather than a transaction of knowledge and skills.

Vocational courses are therefore often oversubscribed and highly competitive, and an intellectual void is created within the arts, humanities and social sciences. This financial consideration has a massive impact on those considering postgraduate education also, as financial support in the form of loans almost completely disappears. This financial barrier is dangerous and only perpetuates inequality within the education system.

Students will be on average saddled with £44,015 worth of debt at the end of the university experience, according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies - debt that will likely stay with them through the majority of their adult working life.

With the lack of graduate positions out there, many will end up unable to pay off the debt and will accrue interest. The strain and impact of tuition fees is not felt only whilst a student is at university, but for the entire time the debt is on their shoulders.

It is not only students who are served a bad deal. Neither the government nor universities will benefit from the £9,000 fees in the long term. With 73% of students expected to be unable to pay off their loans, a black hole of unpaid debt will be left for the government. In the end, the taxpayer will be paying for it, as would happen if the system was state-funded.

Universities too are facing an “annual erosion of real terms income”, says a report by the Higher Education Commission. This loss of income could result in a decline in the quality of education and the reputation of British institutions, including even the most prestigious.

The increase of tuition fees in 2010 was a ‘quick fix’, however it is already proving to have been a bad and unsustainable decision. It is important that we continue to ensure our voices are heard, particularly in the run up the general election. The long term effects of the system are detrimental to all parties involved, and the evidence has shown that the fees simply aren’t paying.


My name is Mariya Hussain and I am currently in my second year of studying English at King’s College London. Education is something I am very passionate about. I believe everyone should have the opportunity to receive a quality education regardless of race, class, financial means or other causes that can limit a person’s access to education. As a result, I’m very happy to be writing on education!

I aspire to move further into journalism, and am excited to use and develop my skills whilst writing on the student perspective as an NUS Journalist. I’m also a photographer and enjoy using both words and images to share new and interesting stories.