Is Michael Gove right about tuition fees?

July 03, 2017

Yesterday, on the Andrew Marr Show the Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Gove decorated our screens with his attendance. Gove took a running jump to defend university tuition fees, after Damian Green (May’s right hand man) called for a debate on the issue. It’d be nice to have some votes back, eh Damian?


It has been argued that Jeremy Corbyn’s pledge to scrap tuition fees in the last election, was what swung him the young vote, rather than his sweet sweet personality and style. In response to this, Gove said on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show


“If we have to fund higher education, and if people who get university degrees go on to earn well, they should pay something back, which is what the current system does,” he said. “It’s wrong if people who don’t go to university find that they have to pay more in taxation to support those who do.”


So basically he’s saying: if student fees were stopped, why should the tax payer pay for it?


It seems like a fair point, to be honest with you. In order to answer the question posed, I’d like to take a quick look at Corbyn’s plan for where the money was coming from. In May, The Guardian reported that Labour said it would have paid for the £9.5bn policy by raising tax on higher earners. Their plan was to make those with an income of more than £80,000 (so your medics and financial managers/directors) pay the 45p rate of tax. Those earning £110,000+ a year (the loaded people) would be assigned a 50p rate.


When it comes to the idea of scrapping tuition fees, I’m in two minds. On the one hand, fuck yeah scrap tuition fees! But, on the other hand, I see my future and career is an investment. I personally don’t begrudge paying for my higher education. What I begrudge is paying £9250 + a year, when it’s not £9250 worth of education.


Not for one second, is this a criticism of my own university or tutors, but a criticism of the inflation. People received just as good an education when they were paying £3000 a year. What has changed? What extra are we receiving for the extra £6000 we’re paying? I’m just not seeing it.


To Gove’s credit, he used the right language “IF those with university degrees go on to earn well.” That’s a laugh. Everybody in higher education knows how difficult it is to nap yourself a graduate job. You’ll still be working in Sainsbury’s two years after you’ve finished your degree.


Last year, The Institute of Fiscal Studies conducted research which found that graduates will go on to earn less than non-graduates. If that doesn’t make you want to drop everything and walk away, I don’t know what will.


So, is Michael Gove right about tuition fees? I’m not sure. I do know that students should not be charged as much as they are for tuition when the teaching does not improve along with the price increase. Additionally, It’s going to be a long while before I am ‘earning well.’ But this doesn’t mean all non-uni goers should have a tax increase, just everybody that can afford it.


Let me know what you think!



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