It’s unfair to charge them for something I got free

UNFAIR Nick Clegg and David Cameron have let uni fees go up
UNFAIR Nick Clegg and David Cameron have let uni fees go up
Share this article
Picture: Shutterstock

LESLEY KEATING: A white-knuckle pursuit ending with a lesson in trust

Have your say

Now that they’ve got their results, you’ve got to wonder how this year’s A-level students are feeling.

Is the shine of satisfaction still lingering on, or are they starting to discover that getting the right grades doesn’t necessarily bring all their problems to an end?

Fourteen years ago I was contemplating my own further education future. Well I say contemplating but I mean packing.

It was oh-so-straightforward. I got what I needed and was looking forward to moving 200 miles away to have plenty of fun and frolics at my first choice university, doing the subject I wanted to do.

I might not have qualified for a maintenance grant but was lucky enough to have parents who could support me for three years.

Student loans with minimal interest rates were on offer and tuition fees simply didn’t exist.

Can this year’s crop of students imagine such a thing? Sadly not.

Of course, some argue that a university education should have a price tag attached to it. And I agree with that to some extent.

But what’s indefensible is the way the fees will leap up next year. Questions also need to be asked about the resulting pressure that fact has heaped on those who have just collected their grades.

There aren’t unlimited places available for everyone. But when some of the country’s brightest students find themselves being turned away, you’ve got to ask what having a university education really means.

I feel really sorry for these teenagers because they must feel like weeping at the injustice of it all. How can they be charged £9,000 a year for something my generation – and those before me – got for free.

They’re told it’s an investment in their future but I know plenty of graduates who earn less than their non-degree holding friends. I’m one of them.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg can bang on about why fees need to be upped until the cow’s come home – but that doesn’t make it right or fair.

Did you really expect any better from a Prime Minister and his deputy who were both privately educated though?