Students Protest Violently Over Tuition Fees

Students Protest Violently Over Tuition Fees

Few of you will have missed this morning’s headlines about yesterday’s violent student protests in London. Taking to the streets is not something that comes naturally to British people – unlike the French, who view student protests almost as a right of passage. So, having 50,000 of them marching in London shows the level of discontent over the government’s recent decision to increase tuition fees.

Part of me feels right behind the students for voicing their concerns, but I really wish they hadn’t descended to such shows of violence in the process. They are entirely justified to protest, but the behaviour we’ve been seeing on our screens since last night devalues their argument. I guess I am also bothered because the whole violence in the streets thing is so “un-British”.

I keep a very close eye on what’s going on in the world of higher education, and recently totted up what a typical 3-year degree is likely to cost students in England and Wales… The figures are staggering! 

At present, the average cost of a 3-year degree is £33,000. This cost is made up of:

  • Accommodation - around £2,580 per year (although this tends to be much higher in London)
  • Tuition Fees - £3,075 per year
  • Food/Travel/Books/Clothing/Computer Equipment etc - £5,330 per year

Which means that currently, tuition fees account for just under 30% of the total costs. In 2012, when the fees go to £6,000 (or up to £9,000 for some universities), the overall cost of a 3-year degree could be anywhere between £42,000 and £51,000. That's more than the price of the first house I bought 15 years ago! No wonder students are protesting. This means that fees will represent anywhere between 43% and 53% of the cost of a degree.

If I were a student today, I would be in the streets with them. The worse thing in all of this is that students are not even guaranteed to get a job at the end of it. The current economic situation has really hit graduates hard (check out these stories for more on this: Graduates look overseas as jobs dry up, Graduates warned of record 70 applicants for every job).

Most students are reasonable, pragmatic people who understand the value of education, and I am sure that they wouldn't feel so strongly about this increase if they were almost guaranteed a well paid job at the end of it. This is something which comes up time and time again with the students we talk to. Our long-term courses cost between £10,000 and £6,500, depending on whether you chose to study in our classrooms or online. Most students think it is a sizeable amount of money. But the minute we explain that we actively help them find a job and that 85% of escapees get a job in the industry within a year, then they instantly see the value of what we do. 

Drop me a line and let me know what you think.

Note - Statistics quoted here came from the following sources: 
Fair Investment: Average cost of £33,000 for a degree makes student debt soar
Money UK: Cost of taking degree 'rises 300%
The Guardian: Double economics: the cost of a university education
The BBC: Q&A: Student fees


2 Comments Isabelle Duarte

Posted by
Isabelle Duarte
Thu 11 Nov 2010: 11:40am

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  • Kazi Munir Hasan:

    my sentiment exactly, but everybody avoids the future of international students in UK. That's not good. We are a strong part of education & economy, but we usually can not say in UK anything at all. You said you have a good experience on world education, my friends in Canada said me they get co op jobs during study & after that they get Permanent Residence to use their merit in industry in Canada. Even good one gets investment for overseas or local projects. But the expense of study their for an international student is much lower. India, Malaysia, Hong Kong all are good examples for overseas study. Please compare it & say have I been a looser to come in UK?
    NB: Does Escape has any course for an international student, can they issue visa for their course?

  • john chen:

    tell you what, at least over in the UK and US there are opportunities to study at great places from Escape and Gnomon to name a few.

    Over here in Australia there are no places to study VFX at a level provided by overseas institutions like Escape, I'm about to graduate from a 12 month Diploma and feel that I'm at a level where I can benefit from learning industry techniques. Unfortunately there are no institutes here that come close to the level your students learn.

    Yes there is online learning, but personally I think been in a classroom environment is a key factor to success, particular to develop creativity.

    I've been deciding seriously whether or not to pack my bags, sell my house and move to the US or UK to study, priced it up to be about $100,000aud I'll need.

    To the students that are protesting, yes I see your view. But be mindful of the opportunity that you have at your disposal. For someone like me it's 10 times harder, and I can't imagine anyone trying to do this from a less developed country like Australia, it would be an impossibility.

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