Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Home Alone

The Government is considering waiving tuition fees for students who don't need grants or loans. This will help limit University to the wealthy and those whose parents will allow them to live at home.

Why on Earth can't we face up to reality and go back to paying for the clever kids to go to Uni rather than encouraging those who can barely read or write to rack up a £20 000 debt whilst attempting a Mickey Mouse degree which, should they complete it; will offer them absolutely no possibility of a decent job?


R/T said...

Fuck the lot of you.

Me and Defunctymetrunty used to meet up with Whichendbites and smear peanut butter on our "truncheons"

Then we would go to the dog compound late at night and close our eyes whilst Rex and Fido and King would lick.......

Anonymous said...

oh. charming. It's always nice to read from people whi are really eloquent and educated (see above)

This government has spent ££££ to push illiterate morons into doing A-levels, now the unis are full to overflowing with same morons doing "vocational" courses. Such as analysing Coronation Street. Universities are for ACADEMICALLY minded people, not for those thriving on Beano and Corrie.

Kaptain_Von said...

The reason that we cannot face reality is because we have to be seen to be 'right on' and 'inclusive' in case someone claims otherwise and calls us something ending in 'ist'.

Now personally I don't give a damn whether a student is from a council sink estate or if mummy and daddy own half of Norfolk. As long as they are intelligent, diligent and can actually do their chosen subject (preferably one of some use in the real world) that is fine by me. Encourage these, yes but make sure that the no-hopers are weeded out beforehand and don't pander to the dumbed down generation with degrees in what are basically useless subjects.

Unfortunately the government and their targets to get more people to university has meant that we have seen a huge rise in the numbers of students who in many cases cannot grasp simple concepts and in a number require remedial tuition. Colleagues have had to arrange tuition in basic mathematics, English and science for students whose courses require a basic understanding of these subjects yet they have arrived seriously lacking in that knowledge even for some of the 'Mickey Mouse' subjects. Pushing some of these young people into university courses is a waste of their time and that of their tutors/lecturers but of course it looks good when targets are published.

Anonymous said...

True. and I can't understand the parents who stand idly by watching their children making choices such as "Media studies" , "Health and social care" and "tourism and Leisure". We should go back to SCHOOLS instead of creating "centres of excellence" where there is no excellence to be found anywhere.
As for anything ending in "ist", I would like to add to that list anything that starts with "dys". Plus all these "disorders" like ODD, get some discipline into them and make them buckle down and learn basics instead of being spoon-fed "stimulating fun stuff".

Home Loans said...

thank you, this one help me alot.

marksany said...

The deal appears to be a waiving of tuition fees if you don't take the student loan and/or grants out. I don't see how they could enforce living at home, my uni-based son does all corresponance through my home address. Given the fees are now in excess of £10k per degree, fees will dwarf the extra interest due on bank loans for subsistence taken out instaed of the student loan.

Anybody who can get their hands on enough cash to live through university will take this offer, including the vey rich. Unless of course this offer is means tested only for the "poor" and someone from the dfes regularly inspects your home to make sure your student offspring is living there - maybe they'll tag them?

Can I propose an alternative? Allow students the same benefits as their peers who choose to live their lives on a sofa. They could pay that back through a system called "income tax" when they get a job as a result of being a qualified graduate.

Lilyofthefield said...

Home loans, I'm not sure your post was ironic, so may I advise that "a lot" is actually two words. I'll ignore for now the other errors.

Tuition fees? They're a drop in the bucket compared with rent! We paid our kids' fees and rent and they used their student loans to have three years they will forever look back upon fondly, whilst paying the government back in spades.

Having them live at home would hardly have worked out cheaper, even presuming that Leeds University wanted them.

marksany said...

"Lily of the field" is four words, not one. Pedents on the internets: that's not nice. Engage with others' arguments, not their speling.

Drop in the bucket? £3,200 per year is a lot of money to most people. Waiving it for not taking up a loan with a slightly discounted interest rate is a very good deal.

How can you say rent is high, then say living at home would not have been cheaper?

MarkUK said...

Why, Frank, do I believe you and I are not alone in our thinking?

Universities were accused of being "elitist". If that was meant in an intellectual rather than a social vein, they damn well ought to be!

Universities should be for the top 10% intellectually. Trying to get 50% of the population through them is crazy.

If someone screws up at school, let them do a degree through the Open University. No qualifications are needed, but there's plenty of academic rigour. (Yes, my degree is from the OU. No, I didn't work hard enough at school - though I made up for it with the OU.)

It is ludicrous to pretend that if 50% of 18-y-o people go to uni that (a) the degrees are as challenging as they should be and (b) that graduates will get really good jobs.

We now have "associate" or "foundation" degrees that can be done over two years. Why not call them HND like we used to? Many excellent people had HND/HNC as their main qualification.

Anonymous said...

Off topic I know but

How did it *ever* get to this?

Lilyofthefield said...

"Lily of the field" is four words, not one.
It's a username. I don't believe the same rules apply, and I don't believe you do either.
Where does the £3200 per year figure come from? We only paid £1100 per year for our children's fees, slightly more for the youngest.

marksany said...

Rules? whose rules - yours? - did you make the rules for user names on teh internets?

"pedent", "speling" are pedant traps - you fell in - well done!

Picking up people's spelling & grammar is rude; don't do it if you want fruitful discussions.

Fees are now £3,200, having been raised to £3,000 in 2006 and increased each year since. One of my sons has just graduated after 4 years paying £1,000 per year. His brother starts this year and has to pay £3,200 per year.

Do try & keep up.

Lilyofthefield said...

Picking up spelling and grammar on a blog about education is rude? Ah well I'd rather be rude than semi-literate.
Are there any other recent changes about which you should enlighten me? Fiscal policy? EU arable set-aside regs?
If fees are now £3200 a year then obviously it makes a difference to the living expenses/tuition fees balance. My remorse is total that I was three years out of date. Please forgive me.

marksany said...

Lotf, "I'd rather be rude than semi-literate"

How sad that you value your relationship with the dictionary above your relationships with other people.

Ed said...

I think I can help a bit with details (Oxford undergrad, now DPhil).
For those whose parents earn less than the cut-off (about 25k I think), fees are paid by the government and the loan available is bumped up to about 4.3k. In addition, the University is required to set aside some of the money raised in fees to go to those who might need it. Practically, this means that those under the cut-off get an extra 3k.

This means that a student whose parents come in under that line pays no fees, and has 3k to live on before even needing to work or get a loan. Those strapped for cash are the ones with well-off parents who won't (or can't) help - lost their jobs, more children to support through uni/school...
These poor suckers get 4.3k to survive, total.
[before the fees went up to 3k it was far less 'progressive': Labour used the change to hurl money at those whose parents earn little]

The idea is nothing about cost of living, only about the better universities failure to follow the prescribed intake. Oxford's target for state-school educated is 77% (I think). Present intake, 54%. Present applications, about 54%.

Anonymous said...

Right on the button as ever Frank.

I made similar points on the 'Class of 2009' thread, but the comments remain relevant.

University is despised by the left because it's 'elitist' yes well that's the whole point you clowns: It's about acedemic excellence, unless of course they want the next generation of doctors, chemists, engineers ect to drawn from a pool of people who are completely unfit for these roles.

In order to rewrite the social demigraph working class kids are corralled into university where they happily waste three years of their lives, and rack up thousands of pounds in debt whilst taking; 'Media Studies''Social Studies' 'Music Journalism' 'American Studies' etc.

At the end of the course there are no jobs, and they haven't even learnt anything worth knowing. No employee will touch them because they haven't any work skills or experience to show for their three years at uni. Worse most employees recognise these degrees as worthless and they wonder if they really want to employ some one they view as freckless for having taken them in the first place.

Saddly many youngsters with Micky Mouse degrees find it very hard to find any form of employment or more often than not end up working in a shop or some similar low paid job. If they're really lucky they may eventually get a reasonable job working in the office of a public sector body, something which they could have done at 16 or 18 without the debt they now carry.

The whole system is based on political spite and class hatered.

Working class kids who demonstrate acedemic skill will not be turned away from universities and class should be no barrier to social mobility or access to education, but herd kids into university when they are clearly not suited to it is madness. Finally this subject is being talked about- which is a start.

One more thought my daughter is no where near university age, but if and when she wishes to go she'll have to take something vocational or meaningful, Mickey Mouse degrees will be out. One other poster touched on this. The reason most stupid parents allow their kids down this road is because it sounds good to say that Dawn or Dave have gone to uni - what a pity they'll end up working in a call centre with their business degree.

Lilyofthefield said...

Anonymous, I agree with most of what you say, but University shouldnt just be about getting s "better" job. My eldest studied Biology because he was interested in it. He works now in cancer research - not well-paid but he enjoys it. My middle boy studied Archaeology because he was interested in it - but thinks the job sucks. He has a low-paid admin job. My daughter studied Law and has taken up what could be a well-paid and prestigious career in it - if her firm hadn't recently shed its top and bottom layers!
Three graduates with 2:1 degrees from good Universities. We'd have let them go even if we'd known that it wasn't going to make THAT much difference to their prospects, largely I suspect because we had such a jolly good time there ourselves.
You can't know what's round the corner anymore.

marksany said...

Lotf, I agree. A degree should help you get into a more interesting or fulfilling job, not be just be about making more money. I did engineering and my sons Physics and Graphics, all can lead to good jobs - in the sense that the "good jobs" are interesting, even if not highly paid.

Dissolute_Graduate said...

Excellent post Frank.

The government is talking about funding 10,000 additional university places to cope with the rocketing demand. I sometimes wonder if Brown has taken to just saying things in the hope that wishing hard enough will make it happen!

Hurling funding at universities is not enough. You need to be able to accommodate students. You need classrooms to house seat them, and academics to teach them (although judging by some degrees, that last part has become an optional extra). It’s not like state education where you can cram thirty extra pupils into a classroom and hope that somebody learns something. The only places you could possibly find are at bottom-tier univerisites; the ones consistently in the bottom quarter of league tables with poor reputations distained by serious graduate employers.

For that matter, why would you want to do this terrible thing? How is it in the country’s best interests to fund another 10,000 bodies onto our burgeoning graduate scrap-heap? Ten thousand more people destined to become diversity officers, health and safety coordinators and other extraneous middle-management gobshites that the country could well do without!

Notice that applications for Chemistry, one of the few truly useful degrees to our economy, are uniquely down this year. That figure is before you count the chemistry departments which have closed over the last few years because of falling demand in the face of soft subject competition.

These ten thousand undergraduates will study Mickey-Mouse subjects from shite universities and graduate with qualifications not worth the paper they’re printed on! A policy consistent with Labour’s stance towards Higher Education at least!

Anonymous said...

Maybe they want all the parents to fight over buying houses by the uni(as they do with the best secondary schools). So land value increases, and they can sell off the Uni sports fields for housing at higher profit?.

J. Wibble said...

Ed, I think your understanding of the post-2006 funding system is slightly inaccurate. It's far, far more complicated than you describe. Apologies: this is extremely long, but I hope I've made it as clear as possible.

You don't have to pay anything up front - everything is now done on loans that the graduate begins paying back when they start to earn over £15k. If I put all the intricacies of repayment I'll be here all day, so I'll leave it at that.

This system was introduced in 2006, revised for 2008 entry and revised again for 2009 entry. These revisions haven't benefitted the guinea pigs who started in 2006 or 2007 - for example, if you started in 06 or 07 the bottom income rung is £18,360, if you started in 08 or 09 the bottom rung is £25k.

--Tuition fees--
Tuition fees are £3,225 per year for 09/10. You take out a tuition fee loan to cover this, or you can pay it up front to the University (almost everyone takes out the loan). Everyone can get the full tuition fee loan, it is not means-tested.

--Maintenance loan--
This is a loan per year to cover living costs. 75% is not income-assessed, the remaining 25% is based on your family's income (for students starting in 09/10 this is now 72%/28%). The total amounts available if you're starting in 09/10 are:
-Living at home: £3,838 (£2763 not assessed/£1075 assessed)
-Away from home outside London: £4,950 (£3564/£1386)
-Away from home in London: £6,928 (£4998/£1940)

--Mainentance grant--
The maintenance grant is a maximum of £2,906 per year. This is based on family income and does not have to be repaid, but if you get the grant they subtract some of the money off the amount of loan you can get. A household income under £25k gets you the full grant, this gradually decreases up to £50 for £50,020/£60,032 (see below) and above that you get nothing.

*For 09/10 starters this is 50p off the loan entitlement for every £1 in grant, and the household income limit is £50,002.
*For continuing students, if they get more than £1,292 in grant they take £1,292 off their loan entitlement and the household income limit is £60,032.

Every university charging the full fees (i.e. all of them) has to offer a bursary of at least £300 per year to any student receiving the full Maintenance Grant. In practice many offer more than this, but that's the mimimum. Every university offers different amounts, so as an example if you were at Staffordshire University with a family income of £25k you would get an £850 bursary per year.

--Total: Examples--
Total for money to live on from student finance, assuming a family income of £25k, not including any bursary:
-2009 starters get £6,403
-2008 starters get £6,359
-2006 or 2007 starters get £5,226


All that is just if you're a straightforward full-time dependent student. If you're part-time, if you're disabled, if you're a parent, if you're an independent student, if you're doing an access course or a foundation year, if you're studying medicine or your course has a year abroad or anything other than a British, straightforward, just-left-school 3 year degree course full-time student...good luck, you'll need it.

If you want to have a look, the full clear-as-mud rules are here.
Legacy info here if you want to look at previous years (though why I don't know).

Bugger, I haven't got around to actually expressing an opinion...oh, sod it, I'll do that later.