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From The Socialist newspaper, 18 July 2012

Top-up fees: 50,000 debt leads to to 50,000 less students

Claire Laker-Mansfield, Socialist Students national organiser

'Education is a right not a privilege' was one of the main slogans of the tens of thousands of students who protested in 2010. We recognised the Con-Dem's tripling of tuition fees would cut off thousands from higher education, and have unfortunately been proven correct.

In England, where 9,000 is now the standard cost of a year's tuition, the drop in university applications has been the highest at 10%.

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have also seen drops in applications: 3%, 2% and 5% respectively. In total, 50,000 fewer young people have applied for university.

The spectre of 50,000 debt hangs heavily above our heads. When the government raised the cap on fees they ludicrously claimed it would have little effect on applications.

The Lib-Dems in particular, embarrassed by their flagrant disregard of election pledges, were at pains to add a veneer of 'social conscience'.

Even now the Con-Dems are attempting to spin statistics, pointing to lower reductions in applications from the very poorest.

But they skilfully 'forget' that applications from this group are already many times lower than those from people of more affluent backgrounds. This is thanks to a combination of poverty, underinvestment in primary and secondary education and the previous 3,000 fees (introduced by New Labour in 2006).

The bulk of the 10% reduction in applications are from middle income families. Increased debt, as well as the slimmer chances of finding a decent job after graduation, can make higher education seem like a gamble too far.

But the drop could have been greater. With one in five young people out of work, the prospect of 'waiting it out' at university and hoping things improve still looks like the best option for many.

This year's intake also face brutal cuts, privatisation and the threat of course or even whole university closures.

Only a determined mass campaign of students united with teachers, lecturers and the rest of the labour movement would be able to drive back the government and secure the right to free and decent education for ourselves and future generations.

Socialist Students will be building for mass student turnouts at both the 20 October TUC march and the 21 November National Union of Students demonstration. These must be used as a springboard to further action, including mass student walkouts and occupations, and supporting workers' strike action.

Help Socialist Students build the fight for our future - contact clairelaker@socialistparty.org.uk

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 18 July 2012:


Socialist Party news and analysis

March and strike against austerity

Miliband and Labour - no real alternative to Con-Dems

Tories stick the boot in on care funding

Oppose the closure of the Independent Living Fund

Witch-hunting Unison leadership "shabby" declares judge

Wales NHS - Reject the Case for Cuts report

Them... & Us


Socialist Party workplace news

Support striking Remploy workers!

RMT cleaners Trans-Pennine Express strike

Fighting against exploitation of seafarers and port workers


2012 London Olympics

Olympics: The greatest sporting, and money-making, show on earth

Olympics G4S scandal shows failure of privatisation

Olympic-watch

Bosses bank in on corporate olympics - we get austerity!

Teachers fight school privatisation

Top-up fees: 50,000 debt leads to to 50,000 less students


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Southampton: two Labour councillors vote against Labour council cuts

Bristol protests counter racist EDL

Tolpuddle festival shows fightback needed today

Obituary: Reg Fitch


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Spain: Class struggle erupts

Solidarity picket of Turkish Airlines


Reviews and comments

Review: BBC TV documentary "When I get older"

Bankers are "useless mouths"

Music review: Long live the struggle by The King Blues


 

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