Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Lift Cash Yoke from Students' Teenagers Urge Reform of University Fees

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Lift Cash Yoke from Students' Teenagers Urge Reform of University Fees

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jonathan Hyde and Keiran Cudlip

BEING the opinionated politics enthusiasts that we are, last month we decided to take up an offer from the Institute for Public Policy Research North to attend a Youth Cafe Politique event.

Throughout the day the topic of university tuition fees came up repeatedly. With our university applications looming in the near future, the event got us thinking deeply about the unfairly high costs of higher education, and how it's a problem that simply must be addressed by the suits at Westminster.

Almost all Journal readers will know a teenager who is eagerly hoping to further their career prospects by attending a university, and so will understand how difficult it is for students to afford accommodation, basic necessities and of course the yearly pounds 3,000 tuition price. Our basic argument is quite simple: why not scrap tuition fees? Before coming to power, Tony Blair (remember him?) pledged that the key agenda of his Government would be "education, education, education". Whatever happened to this? Blair's vision has not been met.

Instead of enjoying university, the studying and the social aspect, many students are now increasingly relying on parttime jobs to finance their life at university. A poll by NatWest revealed that in 2006, 87% of the new intake at universities believed they would have to get part-time work.

Precious time that could be used to prepare for an exam is instead spent working long hours so they can afford to continue their studies. This is all thanks to the effect of tuition fees.

The solution to this problem is not as awkward as you might expect. We're not naive, so we recognise that the taxpayer would be outraged if income tax was increased to abolish tuition fees and fund all students who wanted to attend university.

We propose a solution that works out better for both the general public and students.

Why not create a system in which the State and the private sector jointly pay for all those who are eager to attend university? …

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