University tuition fees in England should be cut to £7,500 per year, a government commissioned review has recommended. The review also says student loan repayments should last for 40 years rather than the current limit of 30 years.
Tuition fees in England were trebled in 2012, and according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, students can now end up owing more than £50,000 when they leave university. Over 17,000 students from NI are in higher education in England, Scotland and Wales.
University for our parent’s generation was completely free, with fees only being introduced in 1998. But do you think your degree is worth the money? Or does the cost of university put you off going?
What are the alternatives?
Many arguments are being put forward on ways to deal with this. One argument is to reduce the length of courses, with some saying certain subjects such as journalism, humanities and social sciences do not need to be the required three years. This would reduce the amount of debt students on those courses have to repay and would also represent better value for money according to the report.
The government has also given universities the go-ahead to roll out ‘accelerated degrees’, which condense three-year degrees in to two years. However, universities can charge up to 20% more in fees for these courses, but the overall bill students would leave with is less than if they studied for a standard three-year degree.
Many students nowadays are considering alternatives to university. With the government introducing the Apprenticeship Levy in April 2017 to encourage more businesses to fund new apprenticeships, this could become a viable alternative in to the world of work for students who don’t want to go to university.
What is an apprenticeship?
People get confused between an apprenticeship and an internship. An apprenticeship differs from a university degree in that it allows you to combine work and study. You receive a mix of on-the-job training and classroom learning, working in a real job while studying for a formal qualification in a college or training centre for usually one day a week. They range in length but can take between one and four years to complete. For people who learn by doing, apprenticeships are a great way of learning a new skill and gaining a qualification.
An internship is different as it is a period of work experience usually offered to a graduate, with no formal qualification offered at the end of it. More information on internships is available here.
Would you consider an apprenticeship? Is a university degree the best way to get employed? Or have you gone to university and struggled to get a graduate job afterwards?
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