Tag Archives: tuition fees

Opinion: The new tuition fees argument – having your cake and eating it

tuition fees voteOn Friday, the Guardian published an article pointing out that a lot more public money than expected will have to be contributed to tuition fees loans.

This has been greeted with a certain amount of glee by the usual suspects. On some level, I can understand the excitement, but nevertheless, it looks like a case of trying hard to have this particular cake and keep eating it.

People who used to shout about fees are now upset that after all, the state is putting more money into the system than …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 117 Comments

EXCLUSIVE: What Lib Dem members think about nuclear power, fracking, tuition fees and online pornography

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Almost 700 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

In advance of this year’s federal conference in Glasgow, we asked about a number of hot-topic issues that are going to be discussed here over the next few days. here’s what you had to say about the issues being debated today, Sunday…

65% say yes to nuclear power

Do you believe that nuclear power, alongside oil and gas and

Posted in Conference and LDV Members poll | Also tagged , and | 39 Comments

The good news on university applications in 5 graphs

While the attention of the world’s media was focused on an 8lb 6oz bundle of Royal joy, there was perhaps even more significant good news about young people that didn’t garner quite so much coverage: demand for higher education from young people is at or near record levels for each country of the UK in 2013. This was announced by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) yesterday, an analysis of patterns of demand from over 20 million applications for higher education from 2004 to 2013 — if ever there were a day to bury good news…

Here are five graphs which tell the story…

Demand for higher education from young people is at or near record levels for each country of the UK in 2013.

ucas figures - application figs 2013

Application rates for English 18 year olds have increased by one percentage point to 35 per cent in 2013. This increase is typical of the trend between 2006 and 2011 and takes the application rate back to the 2011 level, after its decrease in 2012. Application rates for 18 year olds in Northern Ireland have increased to 48 per cent, application rates in Scotland (32 per cent) and Wales (30 per cent) are similar to the 2012 cycle.

Application rates for young, disadvantaged groups have increased to new highs in England.

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Two thoughts on Clegg’s Manchester speech (1 of 2): how not to repeat the tuition fees mistake

Nick Clegg’s pitch to the Lib Dems’ local government conference in Manchester yesterday was given the kind of build-up that seems to be an inevitable part of leaders’ speech-making. Nick was going to ‘deliver hard truths’ to his activists, ‘issuing a warning’ that we shouldn’t return to the safety of opposition, and urging us instead ‘to embrace the future’. That’s the way you get journalists’ attention, y’see.

But the billing wasn’t so very wide-of-the-mark. Nick Clegg did in fact offer the party a stark choice. And as the vigorous comments thread on my post yesterday attests, it hasn’t been …

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New university data shows everyone was wrong about tuition fees

May I introduce you to my latest graph? It’s based on the new data just published about university applications in England and compares the application rate for university places from the most deprived parts of the country with those from the least deprived. As you might expect, the least deprived areas see a higher university application rate than the most deprived. But look what’s happened to that gap:

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Three ways to make sure you’re talking sense on student numbers, tuition fees and all that

Want to make sure your comments are grounded in solid evidence when talking about the impact of tuition fees on students numbers and the like in England? Prefer evidence that stands up to a little basic scrutiny over that which falls apart the moment you apply a critical rather than a closed partisan mind to it? Then there are three things to remember.

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2013 can be the year Lib Dems prove the cynics wrong, but we have to get smart

Nick Clegg after his conference speechOne of the most interesting results in Lib Dem Voice’s most recent poll of party members was the answer to the following question: Do you support or oppose the Lib Dems being in the Coalition Government with the Conservatives?

After two-and-a-half years of difficult negotiations with our Conservative partners, deep spending cuts, unpopular tax rises, hundreds of council seats lost and a national poll rating now consistently in the single figures, still only 19% of Lib Dem

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Nick Clegg beats James Bond and the Queen

The BBC reports that You Tube has published its top trending videos of 2012 in the UK. That Gangnam Style came top is not really a surprise, I suppose. What caught my eye, though, is that the Poke’s auto-tuned video of Nick Clegg’s apology over tuition fees beat that iconic moment from the Olympic Opening Ceremony with Daniel Craig and the Queen.

The Clegg video has been seen by over 2 million people. Here it is again in case you missed it…

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Opinion: Tuition fees and inconvenient truths

Wednesday, 21st November 2012 is, to use Mr Roosevelt’s words, “a date that will live in infamy”. Indeed, it was a day that finally brought the government to its knees. The coalition had well and truly been smashed to pieces.

Well, that’s what you’d believe if you were a member of the Socialist Workers’ Party.

What really happened? A student protest that was never aimed at achieving anything (and indeed it didn’t). The protest of November 2010 aimed to lobby MPs in the run-up to the vote on raising tuition fees. For all the cost and effort put into organising it, this week’s

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 64 Comments

Two years on from the tuition fees U-turn – what do Lib Dem members think now?

Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum recently to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 550 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

7-in-10 say new fees system is fairer than old


LDV asked: Overall do you think the new tuition fees system introduced by the Coalition Government is fairer or less fair than the system it replaced?

    70% – Fairer
    21% – Less fair
    10% – Don’t know

A substantial majority of Lib …

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged | 24 Comments

How progressive is the new tuition fees system?

University campusThe Institute For Fiscal Studies (IFS) has been running its calculators and slide-rulers over the new system, and here are some of the key points that it has concluded:

  • “The new system eventually saves the taxpayer around £760 million per year, driven by a dramatic cut in direct public funding to universities.”
  • “But for universities, this cut is more than offset by almost £15,000 in additional fee income per graduate – a 140 per cent rise over the old system. Thus the total amount spent – from both private and public sources – on higher education is expected to increase as a result of these reforms.”
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A longer watch for the weekend: Martin Lewis on tuition fees

24 minutes and 1 second of the financial advisor and consumer champion Martin Lewis talking about the tuition fees system, how it works and what people get wrong about it:

Posted in News and YouTube | Also tagged and | 78 Comments

Opinion: Why Nick Clegg was wrong to apologise for tuition fees

When he apologised for the tuition fees debacle this week, Nick Clegg went dramatically down in my estimation.

From the start of his leadership, Clegg has taken the longer term view, and cast his gaze upon the country as a whole, rather than simply focusing, as previous leaders have, on playing to the gallery of the party membership.

His is the Liberalism of the historical sweep, as aware of the intellectual traditions that can be traced back to Edmund Burke as to the ‘pavement politics’ of David Penhaligan, and while seeing a place for both, respecting that embracing the former may leave …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 101 Comments

Nick Clegg: “We made a pledge. We didn’t stick to it – and for that I’m sorry”

Nick Clegg has just emailed Liberal Democrat party members:

I’ve been travelling the country talking to party members over the summer. I’ve heard a lot of you say you think it’s important for the party and me personally to address, head on, the many concerns raised about the decisions I took in recent years about higher education funding and tuition fees.

I agree. Where we get it wrong we must hold our hands up, but when we get it right, we can hold our heads up too.

That is why I’ve made this video which will be our next Party Political Broadcast and which we are sharing with the media this evening:

Posted in News | Also tagged | 127 Comments

Opinion: Dealing with critics on our own terms – graduate contributions

At an ALDC conference a number of weeks ago now I was encouraged by Nick Clegg’s call to be brave enough to “deal with our critics on our own terms” rather than accepting the (often false) basis for their criticisms and trying to explain away the difficult choices our party has had to make since May 2010.

So it got me thinking: why not develop our own narrative about the issue that has arguably caused us the most grief?

By accepting the premise of calling the charges incurred by students entering university from this year “tuition fees”, we tacitly accept that these are indeed fees which students pay for their tuition. Which gives the impression – thanks to all the uproar at the time the system was reformed, back in late 2010/early 2011, from the Labour Party and the NUS – that these are indeed upfront charges that students have to pay to go to university.

Posted in Op-eds | 33 Comments

The Politics of Coalition: How the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government Works

Robert Hazell and Ben Yong’s work, The Politics of Coalition: How the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government Works, is a very readable volume, written mostly in the style of an introductory politics textbook and based on extensive interviews with the participants, including at very senior levels.

The book is well done, readable, comprehensive and has a few gems lurking in the revelations from all the interviews, such as the limited involvement of Andrew Lansley and Paul Burstow in drafting the health section of the Coalition Agreement.

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Liberal Youth: It’s time to think about Freshers

As the academic year draws to a close, most young people are thinking about the summer ahead – not us though. At Liberal Youth we’re already planning for the next academic year and we want this year’s Freshers (the inaugural party / join-a-society week at the start of the academic term) to be the one that puts us back on the map.

The Freshers period is incredibly important to our organisation, more so now than ever. We’re not naive, we know the Liberal Democrats’ reputation on campus isn’t the same as it was a few years ago, but we’re working hard …

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Opinion: Tuition fees – a progressive model for welfare?

Given the proportion of public sector spending it accounts for, in austere times welfare spending has come under the spotlight, with sizeable cuts having already being made.

Looking at who is accessing benefits to ensure those in receipt of them should be is to be welcomed. A blind eye should not, however, be turned to wealthier individuals in receipt of things like winter fuel allowance whilst cuts are made to some of the poorest in our society.

It is right that Liberal Democrats have distanced ourselves from Cameron’s musings that everyone under 25 should not be able to rely on support from …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 49 Comments

Tuition fees: new IFS publication says new system “substantially more progressive”

News from the IFS confirms what others, including Money Saving Expert’s Martin Lewis and of course Nick Clegg, have previously argued:

The government’s decision to raise maximum tuition fees to £9,000 will create a system that is “substantially more progressive” than the previous system. That is because the 30% of graduates with the lowest lifetime earnings will be better off under the new arrangements.

And no cynical comments please about just how far down The Guardian’s story this paragraph was placed :-)

 

P.S. As it’s the weekend and people may have other things to do, in order to save time I’ve …

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Government win in human rights tuition fee challenge

The government has today successfully defended a judicial review challenge against its decision to raise university tuition fees. The case – brought by two students – alleged that the government acted in breach of various provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights and/or numerous pieces of equality legislation when it took the decision to raise fees. On virtually all the points, the government – and Vince Cable as the relevant minister – were vindicated, both on the substantive effects of the policy and the way in which the decision was made.

You can read the full judgment in the case here (pdf) (and it’s worth doing so to read the arguments of both sides and conclusions of the judge on the likely impact of the tuition fee increase). However, here are a few key from Lord Justice Elias’s judgment:

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Opinion: Vince Cable right to abandon penalties on early student loan repayments

Vince Cable has done the right thing, for the right reasons.

The new student loan system requires well off graduates to pay a higher rate of interest on their loans – up to three percent above inflation. This helps to cover the government losses on loans to graduates who end up on low incomes – overwhelmingly women working part time after having children – as well as making the system more progressive.

Cable was worried that well off graduates would pay off their loan early, to avoid paying the interest charges. He commissioned his department to look into creating early repayment …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 14 Comments

Pack & Tall Debate… Tuition fees: what should Lib Dem party policy now be?

In the week of the publication of university application figures, LibDemVoice co-editors Mark Pack and Stephen Tall debate what it means for the Lib Dems’ future policy…

Stephen Tall: The publication of the University application figures for 2012 — the first year of the new £9k maximum fees regime — has something for everyone. Those who have always claimed the prospect of huge debt would deter potential students can point to the headline 8.7% decline in applications. Those who say the new fees repayments system …

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LibLink: Simon Hughes MP – Students are not being put off university by tuition fees

Simon Hughes MP writes at Comment is Free, following the publication of the latest UCAS figures.

He acknowledges the top-line 8% decline in applications and the mass protest that followed the original decision, but points out that applications from students in deprived areas have barely declined at all:

…a more objective analysis of the data shows a clearer picture. Although applications were down by a significant number, the total number of 18-year-olds in England this year is significantly down as well. If you adjust the figures to take account of changes in demographic, the application rate in England – which

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Understanding the university application figures

Ahead of the preliminary university application figures late last year, I posted five questions by which to judge them when they were published. The gist of all the questions was, “what do the figures really mean if you scratch beneath the surface?”. In particular, the big spike in applications in the last year before the new fee arrangements, coupled with the declining teenage population, means that crude headline number comparisons can be very misleading. As it turned out, the five questions were a pretty good guide to what the university application figures really meant.

Now that we have the …

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University figures: Highest year ever for teenager applications – except for last year’s spike

The BBC reports:

University applications from UK students for the first year of higher tuition fees are down by 8.7%, according to figures from the admissions service.

With fees rising to up to £9,000 per year, the impact has been biggest for England’s universities – down by 9.9%.

The LibDem Voice team have been quick to respond. Mark Pack pointed out three key facts about the figures:

1. Proportion of poor school-leavers applying to uni. at record levels
2. Best year ever for applications by teenagers save last year’s spike
3. Drop in mature student applications, which has caused the overall decrease figure

And …

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The path to 2015 should be one guided by our principles, not by doubt

Before the Christmas break, I produced an article on Lib Dem Voice about how the EU veto could and should be the first step of many where our party expresses its individuality in coalition loud and clear. After this blog I saw many opinion articles about where we stood on various issues. The conclusion? Varied.

Let’s just take one example – tuition fees. Some of us think we will be congratulated at the next General Election for making the loans system fairer. Wrong. While ensuring that up-front fees are in the past and protecting graduates by asking no one to

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“A political trauma, but a policy success” – the FT’s verdict on tuition fees

One year on from what remains, for many Liberal Democrats, the most traumatic decision yet taken by the coalition, the FT (via an editorial in the newspaper) has provided its assessment of the policy.

Here’s what the newspaper says on the policy itself:

Many academics and students continue to grumble about the move to charge undergraduates for their tuition costs. But governments looking for ways to reduce their outgoings should consider raising such charges – so long as they do it fairly, as the UK has.

It is a big concern that high college fees – and the fear of them –

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Opinion: One year on from Tuition Fees: why I’m still a Liberal Democrat

It’s one year on from the vote on Tuition Fees, so I thought I would lay out some reasons why I, as a student, am still a Liberal Democrat after our great ‘betrayal’.

Although our ministers are having to make tough choices, Liberal Democrats have won a major victory – having a tax cut for the low paid, rather than the very rich, as the Tories would have preferred. Raising the income tax threshold to £10,000 is a good way to correct the disaster Gordon Brown created when he scrapped the 10p tax band. Plus it is a tax cut …

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The Independent View: And then there was one… (Unmasked! The only backbench Lib Dem MP 100% loyal to the Coalition)

When a quarter of the parliamentary Conservative party rebels, everyone sits up and takes notice. On 24 October, 2011, 81 Conservative MPs defied a three-line whip to vote in favour of an EU referendum: cue a blaze of negative publicity for David Cameron and the Tory party whips.

But a week or so later one-quarter of Lib Dem MPs rebelled, and (almost) no one noticed. In nine separate votes on 1 and 2 November, a total of 14 Lib Dem MPs voted against various aspects of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill. The largest …

Posted in News, Parliament and The Independent View | Also tagged , , , , , and | 13 Comments

Rennie challenges SNP to set fair access test for Scottish universities

The Press Association reports:

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie called on the Scottish Government to put a fair access policy in place, or extend the remit of the the Office of Fair Access north of the border. He said this would not only address the fair access gap for poorer students from England and Wales, but also improve the chances of Scottish students deciding to go to university.

Mr Rennie said: “With Scottish universities now able to set fees of up to £9,000 a year, and Edinburgh and St Andrews universities now the most expensive place to study in the

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