Uni fees were bad enough before the pandemic - but are unjustifiable now

Students during a protest calling for the abolition of tuition fees and an end to student debt in We

Students during a protest calling for the abolition of tuition fees and an end to student debt in Westminster, London. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Students in England have the misfortune of paying some of the highest university tuition fees in the world.

For the unlucky minority doomed to further our education after 2011, the sums demanded of us are incomprehensible enough in normal times.

Just in case you weren’t aware, students now have to pay £9,250 per term: usually by taking out a loan. 

If they’re privileged enough their parents will probably pay it off for them, turning the loan into a tax on regular, working people who haven’t got vast reserves of cash in their bank accounts.

And don’t even get me started on the interest.

Yes, most of the time students don’t pay it all back — and a lot of them never even meet the £27,295 repayment threshold because they’re completely undervalued in the society we live in — but that’s irrelevant. 

So is the point that universities are now reliant on those fees, because how did they exist and function for all those decades prior, when students weren’t charged a penny? 

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Anyway, back to the point.

My brother just finished university and the last two years of his studies were horrific. He truly hated them. Thought they were pointless.

Everything was online, everyone was in bubbles, social mixing was limited and all the customary “uni” activities the rest of us got to enjoy weren’t available to him.

I know universities did their best to make the most of an awful situation, but it wasn’t good enough for how much they were expecting people to pay.

An OECD report looking into tuition fees in England has said the “value” of degrees will diminish if students do not receive the experience they’re promised.

And this year they almost certainly won’t. 

My answer is to reduce the fees. It’s simply unfair not to.