We all know by now how the rise in tuition fees is going to affect future university students. Potentially fees could rise to anywhere between £6,000 and £9,000 leaving thousands of interest-gathering pounds in debt in graduates’ post-university years.
Those of you who attended, or supported, the protests against the increase in fees will know how passionately many students were against this rise. Alas, the student voice failed to resonate with Whitehall, and all hopeful applicants have to think about the monetary implications of this.
However, tuition and accommodation fees are not the only bane of student life, what about all those hidden costs?
I applaud the members of staff who are taking part in current discussions over how to give students at York ‘more for their money’ and help with the costly extras of being a student. My gut instinct was to question whether they should leave things as they are and reduce tuition fees as much as possible. The student loan is not a money concern in the short-term: it’s a lot of money and does have to be paid back, but not yet. Day to day expenditure is what causes most students to stress over their finances.
One thing that is being proposed by our own University is the potential of having all textbooks available electronically and I would fervently support this. Trekking to the library is all very well when you’re on central campus and you can reach any other point in no more than ten minutes, but living within a stone’s throw of Ziggy’s or in the distant land that is Tang Hall, your motivation for book-borrowing gets shrugged off. Having everything available online would mean we could all reach our aspirations of getting that 2:1 without leaving the bedroom.
Whoever called for complementary sports facilities and free York Sport to all students has my vote for Chancellorship. This would certainly appease the grumblings of all students, including myself, who would love to join the gym but can’t afford to.
By far the best suggestion put forward is the proposal to deplete seminar groups to two or three per tutor, as is the Oxbridge way. This would allow far more in-depth analysis of texts and of theories whilst obliging all students to prepare for the seminar rather than cower at the back hoping not to catch the tutor’s eye. This is the perfect way to ensure students not only get more for their money, but work to get more for their money, and in turn get more from their opportunities during and after university.
Those of you still arguing that it would be better if York just reduced its fees rather than concerning itself with the additional costs, think of this; we now have the inevitable situation where institutions will be judged on how much they charge. So would York’s reputation as one of the leading Universities in this country be helped by lower fees?
The league tables may soon be judging the top ten by comparing their fees to how much students are given in compensation across the board: in academics, sports, activities, and even in costs such as bus fares or providing free meals.
If the University were to raise its tuition fees to over £8,000, York would also be in a position to cover the costs of all textbooks and course materials, at no extra cost to the student. This would be a huge sigh of relief for many of you I’m sure; if like me, you’ve begrudgingly paid over £40 for a single book, any respite from this outflow would be enough to make even the Mona Lisa smile.
Now if we can only convince them to give us an Efes budget, we’d all be laughing.