not sure that is the case Mick, doesn't it start from people that start their degrees in 2012?
I'm in two minds about the protests. I totally do NOT agree with the violence and rioting, however I do wonder what percentage of people there are actually doing the rioting. There was a HUGE deal made of the violence at the protests I went to. I was at the protest all day and I was practically unaware of it, as were a lot of other people there who we spoke to throughout the day and on our way home. (This was the first protest some time back in November) I did, however, notice LOTS of other people with the own political agendas, for example; anti-war protesters, anti-climate change protesters etc etc who were getting very angry and steering the protest more towards violence/offensive stuff (Swearing when chanting, 'tory scum', that sort of thing.)
I think the main reason many people were protesting is because of the Lib Dem's U-Turn on their policy. Everyone knew it would take a rather large miracle for them to get into power and an even bigger miracle if they did make university tuition free. The other reason was for the cuts to arts and humanities courses, which I personally find disgusting. Degrees in things such as 'David Beckham studies' and 'Wind Surfing' are a complete waste of resources if you ask me, but cutting a major part of the budget for arts and humanities courses is awful.
The 'debt' issue is a bit of a sore point for me. I can understand the reasons behind raising the cost and I think they've done it in the best possible way, however they're raising the cost, but they're not raising the boundaries for getting more help with the maintenance loan. My parents are high earners and I get the basic loan amount. My maintenance loan, which I am supposed to live off as well as getting uni supplies and transport costs, equates to about 2.8k for a whole year. If I moved away from home I'd get an extra £400. My parents could probably afford to pay for me to live away from home, but A.) Why is student accommodation allowed to be more expensive than someone's whole loan amount for a year? (for a room in halls I'd pay £4,290 a year) and B.) Why does the maintenance part of the loan not get increased?
If you don't benefit from your uni education (I.E don't get a job earning over 21k within something like 15 years) then you don't pay the loan back. If you do, you pay it back in tiny instalments. I totally think it's fair that students should be paying for our own education.
I think we are one of the few countries that up until now have had free uni education. I agree in people protesting but not in the way some have been behaving, although i tend to think there were possibly people there just to cause trouble and were not interested in protesting against fee's. I am also guessing we will be seeing a lot more protests next year.
The Lib Dems have done a complete U turn on their policy on tuition fees which is causing a lot of anger.
I can see both sides. Everyone points to the US and says they have to pay. Yes they do but a child's parent knows that from the day they are born and can start to plan from that day. Now in the UK we've gone suddenly from no fees to lots of fees and a lot of talented people will be put off of university education due to the amount of debt they will come out with and no guarantee of a superior job to a non-graduate. I'll never earn enough to pay back my student loans but some friends of mine I graduated with are struggling with debt over 10 years after finishing their education. The teacher whose class I work in will be in debt until she is 66 years old.
I wonder how many of Clegg and Co benefitted from a free university education?
And I don't condone the violence in any way. Have a friend who is a dog handler who's been on riot duty for the past 2 weeks in various towns.
The problems with the gatecrasher idea, although I'm sure it's the case, are 1. knowing that there are these rogue elements making such awful trouble and such violence, should the NUS be staging the events regularly without coming up with some way to prevent (in combination with the police and authorities). Is it easy to fix? I'm sure it's not, but "it's not us" isn't a good enough response out in the real world
and 2. I've seen a number of interviews with students who are obviously frustrated and keep saying things like well no ones listening so although I dont want anyone to get hurt, I think trashing a building, a police van etc is fair because we have to be heard.
Well they can't excuse it like that. It's someone's building and property, it's someone's car, it's someone's mum/dad in the car or out shopping and getting caught in the violence and peoples' sons/daughters/wife/husband etc. having to police these things and getting rocks thrown at them.
I feel incredibly sorry for the people/police caught up in these I really do and I'm sure that given the collective intellect of the students involved, they could come up with some more effective and peaceful way to demo.
Thing is, the lib dem party didn't get in, the coalition did and it's not just a play on names, the result really is inevitably going to be a different party with some give and take on both sides.
Sadly, since we bailed out the banking sector (think they're now earning more than they were BEFORE the crash so why do I feel like it's only us who've lost out?) the money isn't there to do some of the things we'd like to do.
The pay back really is more like a graduate tax than a loan. It's not repaid unless you're earning more than a certain amount and then its a % based system with people paying very little back if they're only just above the limit.
I truly think it's a fair system and if they'd just stop calling it a loan they'd do a lot better