When applying to University, there are always those adults who endlessly remind you of how expensive it is – as if you didn’t already know! You hear it constantly during your last years of school, with comments like: ‘I don’t know how anyone affords it!’ and ‘You’re better off getting a job!’. And whilst these sorts of comments are irritating and patronising, with their ‘I know better’ tone – I mostly agree. The cost of University is extortionate and unfair, it is unreasonable to make students pay for education, which is available free of charge up until the age of eighteen. When I considered university, I expected to feel constantly stressed because of the price. As I am an extremely money conscious person, I knew it would be hard for me to ignore that lingering unpaid debt I owed to the system. So, to reassure myself, I read up on it and I ended up learning to view it as an additional tax that I will later pay when I earn enough. I thought that thinking of it in this way would help ease the stress and keep me sane!
The flaw in this thinking, is that we should never have had to pay it in the first place. This kind of thinking resigns ourselves to student debt being the status quo from now on. And 40% of us will leave university and end up paying thousands of pounds to the government for trying to create the best future we can. Had we not chosen to extend our education in this way, we would not hold such a burden. I know that many people were educated in schools that taught with the assumption that they would go to university. This has created a system where many young people are viewing themselves as failures if they don’t get into university, and with the increased price tags on a university education, money is becoming more important than the quality of students education.
The lecturer strikes last year were a powerful call to action against the commodification of education, and those that striked at Queen Mary did themselves proud. Queen Mary students ‘Occupied the Octagon’ in support of our striking lecturers for weeks and their demands were met! Showing how our demands are not unreasonable, policies can change. Their determination shows how fighting back can make a difference. If we keep the momentum going we will continue to make things better.
Instead of just pushing the thought of ‘debt’ aside, we should be fighting the cost. Protesting, signing petitions, anything to get our voices heard. And from that, the question beckons, who will pay for students fees if the tuition fees are abolished? That is clear, the taxpayers. Those who are able to afford taxes, can contribute back into the system to ensure there is prosperity for Britain, to ensure we have a highly educated workforce, who benefited from higher education without the prolonged stress of owning what they learnt from it back to the Government. Is it not the goal of every generation to create a better world for their children?