Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/629/9827
Willetts approves tuition fees hike
ON 9 June the new universities minister, David Willetts, gave his clearest indication yet of his government's intention to raise tuition fees. The announcement comes in advance of the fees review, which will be completed in September.
The review - which has been chaired by the former BP chief executive, Lord Browne - is likely to recommend an increase in fees to between £5,000 and £9,000 a year.
Higher tuition fees will deter many young people from going to university for financial reasons, with those that do being left with a burden of crippling debt.
With so few jobs available, young people are left with few options when it comes to deciding what to do after leaving school. It is estimated that students studying longer courses, such as medicine, could end up leaving university with £90,000 worth of debt.
The government's plan will spark the anger of young people, who are struggling under the burden of already high tuition fees and the prospect of long term unemployment.
The University and Colleges Union, UCU, has condemned a rise in tuition fees, arguing that this would be the "most regressive piece of education policy since the Second World War". Students and workers must unite in struggle if these attacks on education are to be defeated.
It is important that students take part in the national day of action called by UCU and Unison on 21 June, which coincides with strike action against cuts at Sussex University.
Socialist Students, which has been involved in a campaign to defeat fees for many years, calls for the formation of a mass national campaign against cuts and fees. The calling of an anti-cuts conference by the National Union of Students (NUS) this June is a welcome development, but it must resolve to take concrete action.
Socialist Students delegates to this conference will argue that NUS should call a mass demonstration in the autumn against both higher education funding cuts and tuition fees. Only with a strong national campaign uniting education workers, university, college and school students and young people currently not in education, can these attacks be pushed back and defeated.
In The Socialist 16 June 2010:
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