Friday, 10 December 2010

Student Riots - Punks Down on Their Luck

"You've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?"

Personally, yeah, I do. When I first went to university, just four years ago, I felt pretty unlucky. I was the first generation to have to pay £3k per year instead of £1k per year for my education. Now, students are facing £9k per year.

At the moment, I'm shouldering about £20k's worth of debt for my undergraduate degree (including living cost). I can imagine that with these new student fees, many students will be facing around £35-40k of debt. It's outrageous.

I'm unsure how post graduate degrees will be affected, but I'm also feeling lucky that I went for mine when I did. The cost was already on the cusp of an absurd amount to me. If it had been any higher, I would not be a student again right now.

MPs are saying that £9k a year is still a small price to pay for a degree, considering that students are given loans and won't have to pay anything back until they are earning £20k+. But degrees seem to be decreasing in value, since so many people have them, and there is already a lack of jobs. Graduate enemployment is at an all-time high, so how can it be justified that a degree is worth £40k in the end? It is not a guarantee for a higher paid job, or even a job at all.

If this price increase discourages people to go to university, the value of a degree will increase. But the people whole are dissuaded will be those from working and lower-middle-class backgrounds, for whom £35-40k of debt is actually a significant figure.

The BBC's top story today seems to be about a few protesters kicking Prince Charles' car. Because that's obviously the most important thing here.

I watched around three hours of news coverage of the riots last night, with mixed emotion. Students are rightly protesting. The minority are (in my opinion) wrongly protesting using violence.

Many people are saying that the decision is undemocratic. News reporters retaliated saying that the MPs making this decision were democratically elected. To which protesters responded that when they voted, these student fee increases were not in the parties' policies. Liberal Democrats said they would fight to abolish student fees, and the Conservatives said they would not increase student fees. Many people are angry because the voting system seems to be nothing more than a fa├žade.

I'm still in a state of disbelief. It's simply unsustainable, ridiculous, and outrageous.

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