The Conservative government has announced that it will freeze tuition fees for another year at the current £9,250 per annum level, stating it delivers “better value for students”. In a normal year, this would be a slap in the face to any student fighting for lower tuition fees. But to hear this during the Covid-19 pandemic feels more like a kick in the gut. Not only are we being charged almost £10,000 for no in-person teaching, but we are being told its “better value” for us. Excuse me if I don’t see the value in a year of my lab-based degree with no actual labs.
The 2019 Augar report into university funding made several recommendations to the government, the most striking being a call to reduce tuition fees to £7,500 a year. This decrease would be a step in the right direction, but the loss of university income would need to be replaced by increased government spending to ensure no job cuts or course closures.
While tuition fees for the next year may be frozen, the continued efforts of the Socialist Students to push for free tuition will be as fiery as ever. We need fully funded, fully resourced, free education for all. This means making the super-rich pay.