All posts tagged 'University'

Uni? Do I HAVE to?

by Kent music reviews and teenage views, with Nick Tompkins Thursday, September 13 2012

I am seventeen years old. I've just begun the second and final year of my A levels, and all I hear day in day out, are the words, "personal statement", "degree" and most irratating of all "UCAS". At this point in time, if I could just find the individual responsible for the word "UCAS" I would most definitely fight them. Fisticuffs. 

The way I see it, I have just endured 14 years of education- beginning with finger paintings and egg and spoon races, with a slow progression to where I am now-  corsework, essays and ultimately two hour exams (of course via the albhabet, sex education and algebra). To get this far, the idea of another possible four years or more of attending lectures and meeting essay deadlines, kills me. This isn't even touching on the inevitability of walking away with £50,000 of debt. 

However, even as a 'nay-sayer' of University, I am still told by my teachers and peers, "Oh, you've still got to at least apply, otherwise if you change your mind you'll have nowhere to go!" at which point a small part of me dies inside. This is because despite my sheer dislike and contempt for the idea of University, I still have to spend hours of my time attending open days- none of which I believe will interest me considering the whole concept they are offering seems utterly depressing, despite the courses themselves- I must also write a personal statement: a document expressing my passion and desire for a place at said Uni, and through means of flattery, bragging and a bit of grovelling, I must then plead my case for how much I would LOVE to go to University. This process by the way, takes many months and usually several drafts are needed before the final product; I can't wait to get cracking on that bad boy...

Throughout my GCSEs and my A levels, myself and my peers have been drip fed ideas of Universities and degrees directly into our absorbant young brains, and I must admit, after that, it did take me a while to even imagine a post-school future for myself where a Uni wasn't present. However, even though I am heavily leaning towards not going to Uni, around 80% of my peers are all planning to head off to University next year. If this is roughly the case for all schools, and the majority of these students come out with a degree, just how credible is a degree going to be anyway? I mean, in the dark, dingy abyss that the economical future of my generation seems to be, there will of course be 'less jobs', 'less money' and 'more unemployment', so if EVERYBODY has a degree, what good will it do anyway? I'd much rather get out there (give or take) four years early with my youth on my side- lower sallery, easy to for the boss to manipulate, full of child-like enthusiasm- and get a head start on all these other competitors trying to take my job with a piece of paper and a silly hat with a square on the top. Another reason not to graduate: the hats look ridiculous.

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Categories: Education | School | Schools | Work

Why Kent puts £9k price tag on not being dubbed a "cheapjack" uni

by The Business Blog, with Trevor Sturgess Monday, April 4 2011

It’s no surprise that the University of Kent wants to hike fees to the maximum permitted £9,000.

Most universities are going for the higher figure and the rest will not wish to signal that it’s a “cheapjack” uni.

Spending cuts will affect higher education and universities want to claw back as much as they can.

The Coalition Government was naive to believe that the outcome would be anything other than a near-universal clamour for the top whack.

Of course, the Office for Fair Access (a weird PC name if ever there was one) will have to decide whether universities bidding for nine grand have strengthened their case by pledging enough sweeteners to students and their hard-pressed families.

The main political concern seems to be avoiding putting off students from poorer backgrounds and attracting as many as possible from homes without a university tradition.  Actually, this group will get a lot of financial help.

It is the usual suspects in the middle who will worry most about this hike. They will qualify for next to nothing but are already feeling the pinch from all sides - lower tax threshold, higher National Insurance, lower benefits etc. They will have taught their children to put money aside for pensions, and to buy a starter home as soon as they can – all adding to the overall debt burden.

Discussions are going on all over the country about whether their offspring should place themselves in hock to the tune of £50,000 or more for university education.  They will weigh up the cost benefit analysis. Will their sons and daughters be able to use their degree to enhance their incomes sufficiently to merit the hard work and financial sacrifice necessary? OK, it will be fun, but will that come at a price?

When you have huge youth and graduate unemployment, when many employers have not increased pay for years, when the public sector is taking on fewer, if any, trainees, they will have to consider whether three years’ practical experience will be more useful than three years’ study and graduation well behind their working peers. You certainly don’t need a degree to be an entrepreneur.

These are difficult decisions for people looking at jobs for which a degree is not compulsory, such as law or education.

Schools are keen to push their students to university, but it might not always be the best route. All this uncertainty gives a golden opportunity to enlightened employers keen to take on young talent and nurture it. Come 2012, there will probably be a bigger pool of people with A Levels available to the labour market than before.

KPMG, Lloyds TSB Bank and others have launched schemes to tap talent early. I hope there will be more, so that bright young people are given a promising alternative to years of stressful debt.


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Categories: Education

University plans will leave legacy of distrust

by The Business Blog, with Trevor Sturgess Wednesday, December 8 2010

Not long to go before MPs vote to fleece students and their parents for most of their lives.

Most Liberal Democrats are gearing up to rat on their solemn pre-election pledge not to increase university tuition fees. Like snake oil salesmen, MPs claim that the new scheme is fairer than the old one when it is nothing of the sort.

That their remedy will make you better however horrible the taste. Hiking charges by 300 per cent does not strike me as fair in any way. No business would be allowed to get away with such a massive hike.

Just because you raise the repayment salary threshold to £21,000 will make precious little difference to a young person facing decades of debt, possibly amounting – with interest - to more than £100,000. And that’s over and above housing and other costs of living. Not to mention the advice to put aside money for pensions that will continue to plummet.

There is nothing good about the proposal for students and parents. There is benefit for universities because they need to compensate for national revenue being stripped away. We want top quality unis.

Business needs skilled people and looks to universities to provide them. But it is not right to put all the onus on the individual to fund them. The state needs to invest more in higher education because the whole community benefits from a skilled workforce.

Universities should also publish the real cost of tuition for each course. The latest figure seems to have been plucked from the air. And why should English students pay so much when their Welsh and Scottish compatriots, no doubt subsidised by English taxpayers, are charged nothing? What's fair about that?

Many parents chose not to send their children to private school because they could not afford to. Now their offspring – no doubt with parental help - are being compelled to pay comparable levels of fees, yet household incomes have not changed much for the majority.

Only a minority of graduates will hit pay dirt. Most will be in jobs – if they can find one – that used to require A levels, and in some instances GCSEs. Good luck to the students who protest today (8) - keep it peaceful! - about a plan that is bound to deter a sizeable number of young people brought up in thrifty or low-income households from applying to university.

Cutting student numbers might well be one of the aims of this policy. But students' efforts will sadly change little because democracy does not work between elections. MPs will follow their leaders rather than their beliefs and instincts. What a poor lesson they are setting to young people about integrity, moral fibre and keeping promises.

It will leave a legacy of distrust to an impressionable generation. Never glad confident morning again.

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Categories: Business | Education

Why Middle England will be hardest hit by student loan reforms

by The Business Blog, with Trevor Sturgess Tuesday, October 12 2010

Lord Browne’s proposals for hiking university fees may please our academic institutions but is yet another blow to the budgets of millions of families on average or just above average earnings.

This generally law-abiding group that makes little demand on the state is being attacked from all sides. The rich will not notice much difference whether the fees are £3,000, or £7,000. The poorest will be given financial assistance.

But earners on or just above the 40 per cent tax threshold will lose child benefit and qualify for next to no help for doing their best for their family and the country.

Now their children face being saddled with massive lifetime debts for tuition fees, told by rich people to save huge sums for their pension, ordered to work until they drop at 70, as well as taking out a colossal mortgage to buy a home. It will be impossible for many who will abandon aspiration.

Hiking university fees will deter many potential undergraduates. Families already assailed on all fronts by a pincer movement of fewer benefits and higher costs will say enough is enough.

With the jobs market in such a parlous state, many graduates cannot find a job. Or if they can, their salary is likely to be pretty average, although no doubt just above the proposed £21,000 threshold when repayment - at standard interest rate mind you - will kick in. Not everyone will become an investment banker.

If a nation cannot help develop an educated workforce for its future, when India, China, Asia and a host of nations are already overtaking the UK, it is in a poor way.

Tory cuts and cost increases are going too far, creating a sense of pessimism among people who are willing to contribute so much. Labour went too far on a spending spree, the Coalition is going too far the other way.

Someone once said that they liked paying taxes because it bought them civilisation. Present policies are destroying this dictum. The UK is becoming an uncivilised place with a plummeting quality of life. It will be no surprise if the brightest vote to study abroad, while others, if they can afford it, will move abroad. Who could blame them in a society that is being increasingly cruel to Middle Britain.



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Categories: Celebrities | Education | Pictures

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