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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:23 pm 
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Links to blogs are not normally permitted on the forum, but the Moderators have agreed to an exception in this instance. Sally-Anne.

Many thanks to the Mods for allowing me to use this forum to draw attention to an excellent blog and petition relating to the impending increase in university tuition fees for English students, which will affect so many of our DCs.

I don't know the person who prepared the blog personally, but she has clearly put a lot of work into it, unfortunately it does not seem to have attracted a great deal of support as she is using Google rather than Facebook or something that might enable it to spread a bit more quickly. The blog neatly brings together all the flaws in the legislation that have been coming to light since the vote was rushed through at breakneck speed last December, and the associated petition is simply asking Parliament to "delay £9,000 fee cap implementation until higher Education Bill is properly debated & voted on, and full information available for 2012 applicants". Sounds perfectly reasonable to me!

The blog is here:
http://tuitionfeerise.blogspot.com/

and the petition is here:
http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/12760

If they reach 100,000 signatures there is a chance it could be raised in Parliament. Quite a few more to go then, but these things can sometimes take off...so please tell your friends! :)

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:48 pm 
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Location: Solihull, West Midlands
Those on facebook can click on a link to add it to their own facebook wall


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:53 pm 
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solimum wrote:
Those on facebook can click on a link to add it to their own facebook wall


Thanks - that's a great idea! I didn't spot the link and just pasted the URL so not sure if it worked properly...but managed to get a few signatures that way. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:59 pm 
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Interesting, but I think some of the analysis is rather muddled.

* "If a petition can get 100,000 signatures government should debate that petition." It is merely that 100,000 is the minimum threshold for consideration to be added to a list of possible debates to fill very few slots. Most petitions that reach it will never be debated, though that is no reason not to try.

* "Is this the first UK tax to be levied, not based on an individual's income, but on their parents' income?" No, it's not that simple: whether or not you get a fee waiver may depend on parental income (or lack of), but repayment is entirely based on the graduates' income.

* "One of the major arguments for the fees, the £100,000 graduate gain, is not a reliable figure." Maybe not, but the threshold for repayment will be higher than the previous scheme.

* It argues that it's a loan, not a tax, but it isn't, because the repayments are unrelated to how much is "borrowed" (a £6k pa degree won't be any cheaper than a £9k one), but are entirely related to income after graduation.

* "As a loan it leaves the debt holders highly vulnerable to the whims of future governments." Irrelevant: that's true whether it's a loan or a tax.


Unfortunately, that makes me seem keener on the idea than I am. I heartily agree with point 8, that it's all being rushed through, so families are having to make decisions before all the facts are definite.

Wrong arguments don't help the case against, imo.


Last edited by zee on Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:30 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:11 pm 
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Zee, some good points - I don't know anything about the 100,000 signature rule and appreciate that it doesn't mean that the matter definitely will be debated, but it is clear that the policy they've ended up with now isn't what was being proposed at the start with various bits being added here and there to plug loopholes and keep certain factions appeased.. In any case, given the level of dissatisfaction with this policy it will be a brave government that just puts any new legislation through on the nod, imo. And I for one have never bought the argument that borrowing three times the amount to be paid back over a period three times as long somehow makes you better off. :?

Regarding the loan/tax issue - with the fee waiver scheme in which some students have one or more years paid for them, it means that some will leave with a much lower debt in real terms than others who did not benefit from the waiver purely on the basis of their parents' circumstances years before, despite possibly having a greater earning potential. (e.g. someone entering law or finance with only two years' worth to pay back, compared to a new entrant to nursing or teaching with three years' worth.)

Perhaps it does need further thought, but it just shows that many people are confused by these new arrangements which seem to have been made on the hoof, and have good cause to be deeply worried about their children's future especially those in the first cohort to be affected by the new arrangements, who really don't know what they are letting themselves in for as it hasn't yet been finalized.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:04 am 
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This is a complete waste of time. The horse bolted long ago. I work in a university and we are already collecting fees for students entering in 2012. All the fees for 2012-13 are in the public domain. There isn't a cat in ****'s chance of setting aside this legislation.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:26 am 
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Marylou wrote:
... it just shows that many people are confused by these new arrangements... and have good cause to be deeply worried about their children's future especially those in the first cohort to be affected by the new arrangements, who really don't know what they are letting themselves in for as it hasn't yet been finalized.

Yes, that's us, or rather, DS1.

Kesteven wrote:
This is a complete waste of time. The horse bolted long ago. I work in a university and we are already collecting fees for students entering in 2012. All the fees for 2012-13 are in the public domain. There isn't a cat in ****'s chance of setting aside this legislation.

I agree about the horse and the cat, but I'm puzzled as to how you are collecting fees for students who have not yet applied.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:56 am 
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zee wrote:
I agree about the horse and the cat, but I'm puzzled as to how you are collecting fees for students who have not yet applied.


Yes, I was wondering that too. But presumably the fees will still be advanced to the universities by the Government as normal, it's the way in which they are ultimately paid for that is changing. In other words, students will have to pay back more when they graduate instead of the government footing the bill as with the old system. In that case, the system isn't going to kick in properly until three years from now, when the first cohort graduates...so what happens if there is a change of government in the meantime? Could there be some kind of readjustment?

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:57 am 
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zee wrote:
* "Is this the first UK tax to be levied, not based on an individual's income, but on their parents' income?" No, it's not that simple: whether or not you get a fee waiver may depend on parental income (or lack of), but repayment is entirely based on the graduates' income.


And one has to ask, which golden age is being held up? Prior to the Anderson Committee in 1960, university funding for people whose parents couldn't just write a cheque was in the hands of patchy and arbitrary state, country, local authority and charitable scholarships, which were de-facto means tested on the parents' income ("deserving" cases), plus fudges like Board of Education grants, which committed the recipient to teaching. The golden age is usually claimed to be 1960--1990 (which I suspect covers many of the people here who are parents) when fees were paid by the state but maintenance was provided by a grant which was --- yet again --- means-tested on the basis of parental income: you had no right to enforce the payment of the parental contribution, and there were no loans, so if they didn't pay you were in a very difficult situation. People whose parents were poor, or whose parents were better off and paid their contribution, left university with less debt (and let's be honest, even in the 1970s and 1980s most people left with an overdraft) than those whose parents couldn't or wouldn't pay their contribution.

There has never been a time when student funding was available without reference to the parents' circumstances. I cannot seriously believe that people think a politically practical objection to the current (or indeed any past) funding regime is that Charlie Gilmour can't get a grant because of his father's income.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:10 am 
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Marylou wrote:
zee wrote:
I agree about the horse and the cat, but I'm puzzled as to how you are collecting fees for students who have not yet applied.


In that case, the system isn't going to kick in properly until three years from now, when the first cohort graduates...so what happens if there is a change of government in the meantime? Could there be some kind of readjustment?


The usual statement is that the system won't be self-funding for about fifteen years: many/most students will make zero or very small repayments for their early years of work, and it will not be until a substantial number of students from the 2012 cohort are in their prime earning years, say around 2025 onwards, that the repayments will come remotely close to funding the new loans, never mind paying down the money advanced in the intervening years. And because a large number of the loans will start to be written off from 2037 or 2040 onwards (I can't remember if the 25 year write-off is from first payment or from graduation; it doesn't really matter) the scheme will always run in substantial deficit. Of course, reasonable accountants and actuaries will realise that loans that are substantially "behind" repayment at year 10 will be unlikely to be repaid by year 25 (if you're a lower quintile earner at 30, you're not likely to become an upper quintile earner by 40) , so will mark them as impaired anyway, but the write-offs won't start to crystalise until the late 2030s.

The point about this scheme is that it moves undergraduate funding out of the current account and the PSBR, and it's in essence a slightly less mad version of PFI. With university take-up at 50%, today's young people are going to pay for their education one way or another, whether it's as tax being used to service the public borrowing that funded their education, or whether it's "direct" as in the current scheme. Personally I'd be in favour of funding higher education entirely from general taxation, but it's the over forties that vote, and they show no appetite for voting for tax rises. Similarly retrospective graduate taxes; there are all sorts of reasons why that wouldn't work, but let's ignore those and instead just look at the political reality that student funding exercises people under thirty who don't vote, while tax rises exercise those over thirty who do. It's politically impossible.


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