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Tuition Fees Should Be Reduced for the 2021-2022 Academic Year

library tuition fees uk

Roar writer Abdus Shaik on why tuition fees should be lowered for the 2021-2022 academic year. 

On Monday, July 5 2021, KCL students received an email regarding their tuition fees for the 2021-2022 academic year. Prior to this email, students had received statements from their respective departments informing them that lectures and exams would be held online for the first semester of the next academic year with seminars and other types of learning taking place in person where possible. Students were reassured that King’s aims “to have as much on-campus teaching, learning, and activities as circumstances allow”.

Students rushed onto social media to react to this email by talking about how they had been “ripped off” and how they wanted their “money back” for the 2020-2021 academic year. A 20-year-old PPE student said to me:

“It just feels like they don’t care about the amount of pressure on us”

Students who applied when the pandemic started, deferred their entry to 2021 so that they could have a totally “normal uni experience”. Unfortunately, that will not be the case and as a result, this has disappointed many students. One Medicine student, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “They can’t charge the same price for a product that isn’t the same. The price must either go up or down. And to unis, l say it must go down”

Students feel that the University is charging them the same price because “they do not care and just want to make money out of us. If they get paid, they are happy. But what about us?”

Another student who I interviewed said that their mental health had severely declined over the past academic year. They had spent a lot of their money on university accommodation and couldn’t live there because of “how depressing it was”. “How can we be expected to study in peace knowing that we will be in debt the second we graduate and we need to spend the next few years of our life trying to repay that loan?” they said.

An international student told us about how they felt like they’d “wasted money on an online degree”. “My mental health declined, I felt like I had wasted a lot of money so I moved back home in December and I just got lonelier. It was like I had to make a compromise between paying a lot of money to get the uni experience that l can get or saving that money and living at home”

Many students at King’s and other higher education institutions want one of two things – A partial refund for the 2020/21 academic year OR a reduction in tuition fees for the 2021/22 academic year.

In 2017, the conservative government increased the tuition fees to £9,250. Jo Johnson, the Universities Minister at the time, claimed that it would raise the quality of teaching at universities. And the government claims that reducing the tuition fees would create black holes in universities funding and plunge many institutions into financial ruin.

But let’s not forget university education in this country was free not so long ago and if it was possible then, it is possible now. Education needs to be a right, not a business. Education needs to be about us expressing what we love, not a capitalist scheme. Education is about us, not them.

Let’s make this clear – The student loan scheme is oppressive and even though people claim it’s getting better, it really isn’t. It has been designed to work for those who are rich and to oppress those who aren’t. The poorest 40% of society also accrue the most loan interest during university – £6,500 before they even graduate into work. According to research, Student loans increase inequality in society rather than reducing it.

Why should a 21-year-old, graduate from University in debt? Why should 17 and 18-year-old young people have to worry about being in debt, the first day they start studying a subject they love or start working to feed their families? Why should people tell their dates that they didn’t go to University because they “couldn’t afford it”? Why should society be like this? Is this the kind of society we want to be in? Where Boris Johnson can claim that spending £16bn on the military is “essential” when there are more food banks than McDonald’s in this country? Give it a thought.

International students face an even greater financial barrier to pursuing further education in this country. Why should someone born in a different country be forced to pay fees twice that of someone born here for the same education. It is simply discrimination without basis.

We, as students, hold the power of not only this country but the entire world. We are the future and we are the ones who will bring change for the better. As of now, we need to stand up for our rights, educate people, campaign for what we know is right, campaign for the education we love and what we are passionate about. We must protest because that is our fundamental right. And be there for each other, because only we can understand what we are going through. We are all on the same boat and we must all be there for each other.

Physics Student at King's College London | 07948080968 | [email protected]

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