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The issue of funding higher education in the UK is something of a political hot potato. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has been pilloried for the Lib Dems’ U-turn on university tuition fees – they failed to deliver on their pre-election pledge to abolish tuition fees, which have in fact increased under the Coalition government to £9,000 per year.
Understandably, students are not happy about the increasing cost of a university education. Recently 10,000 university and sixth form students took to the streets in the Free Education march to protest against fees. The organiser of the march, Aaron Kiely said ‘we want to end the lifetime of debt which is a massive burden for students ‘.
He has a point. The average university student will graduate with £44,000 of debt and an independent study into the funding system of England’s universities by the Higher Education Commission has claimed that it offers the ‘worst of both worlds’. While students are seeing the bill for their education rise ever higher, the government continues to write off high levels of student debt (even middle earning graduates such as teachers are unlikely to pay back their loans within the 30-year repayment period) and universities still find themselves strapped for cash with the fixed fee cap seeing income eroded by inflation year on year. The report concludes that the funding arrangements clearly don’t work for any of the parties involved but finding the solution is proving tricky.
Suggestions including the lower of tuition fees, a graduate tax, removing the £9,000 cap on fees enabling universities to charge higher fees and charging different fees for different universities or courses. But each of these suggested solutions comes with its own set of issues and debate rages as to the best course of action. For non UK citizens and UK nationals are expatriates the cost of an English university education is significantly higher as they have to pay the overseas student rate.
In spite of the increasing cost of a university education, it remains highly advantageous to have one. Reports have shown that irrespective of the degree studied, graduates earn on average more than non-graduates and are more likely to be in employment. The return on investment would seem to be worth it.
Given that it seems unlikely that the cost of a university education will go down anytime soon, how can you give your child the best start in life without either you, or them, going bankrupt in the process? The key is in the planning: start saving early and do it regularly. Infinity can help you set up an education plan suited to your budget so you can be putting money aside safe in the knowledge that it is working as hard as possible for you earning compound interest to pay those tuition fees and living costs
For information on education fee planning get in touch today.