Cutting the Aspirations of a Generation – Lib Dem Broken Promises: Tuition Fees

The Lib Dems have backed proposals that will lead to a rise in tuition fees. The £3,290 cap on fees is proposed to be removed meaning that top Universities will be allowed to double charges, cutting off access to top Universities for young people from lower and middle income families. This could increase charges for most universities by nearly £4,000 a year.

Source: Left Food Forward - Nick Clegg before the election, holding up a signed pledge that he will not increase tuition fees

During the election campaign, key Lib Dem figures held up pledges to vote down any proposed rise to tuition fees. A few ministerial cars later and they are actually actively proposing the complete opposite and looking to remove the cap on tuition fees, which will inevitably raise them to unprecedented levels.

Barely begun to pay back my student debt and it is worrisome for a young person in Britain today to think about how we will get out of the vicious circle of debt. I finished University three years ago with a student debt of nearly £15,000 and my current account in overdraft. Now that I am working, I think it is a manageable debt. But the magnitude of debt that the Lib Dems and Tories are going to impose on young people is disheartening. If fees go up for top Universities to over £7,000 a year, taking into account living costs, young people could leave University with debts of up to £50,000; more than what many parents paid for their mortgages! For families where more than one child aspires to go to University, this is a devastating blow.

The Lib Dems and the Tories say that we must move away from an economy built on the foundations of debt. If this is the approach they wish to have for our banking system, why are they consigning young people to a lifetime of debt?

What Sarah Teather has said:

Under [Labour] Government plans, students will soon have to pay £3000 a year to attend university. The Lib Dems predict that students leaving university could find themselves with debts of £20,000. The Liberal Democrats have launched a nationwide petition against these unjust fees. The Lib Dems call on the Government to scrap tuition fees and abandon their plans for top-up fees. Students should not be burdened with huge debts!

Source: Sarah Teather’s website!

“Labour, backed by the Tories, are creating a university system where less well off people will be unable to attend. I believe this is completely wrong. I am proud that the Lib Dems are opposing ‘top up fees’ as well as fighting to abolish tuition fees.”

Source: Sarah Teather – calling for Tuition fees to be AXED altogether

“Fear of debt is a major obstacle for students wanting to take up university places. A Barclays Bank survey has predicted that by 2010 students could face debts of up to £30,000. This is totally unacceptable. These plans are likely to mean that many of our brightest students in Brent would no longer be able to afford a university entrance fees.”

Source: Sarah Teather

But for me, the worst thing about this is that the one group that will be ignored and not consulted on this is young people. People who were 16 or 17 at the time of the May 2010 election may be affected by the changes that the Lib Dems will enact on tuition fees. However, they did not vote for it because they were not allowed to.

I wonder if this solution would be pursued if young people had the right to vote. The solution is to lower the voting age to 16. Another principle the Lib Dems seem to have abandoned.

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