Over the past couple of days, we’ve seen the words ‘budget’, ‘cuts’, ‘jobs’ and ‘reforms’ splashed across news channels and websites across the UK, but what does all this mean for us students? Should we be worried?
Cleverly announcing unwelcome information when we’re all enjoying a long summer break away from our universities, the government has once again dropped some budget bombshells. It was announced early this month that a ludicrous £100 million will be cut from the National Scholarship fund, and in addition to this, student grants would be frozen. According to the BBC, it is hoped that the National Scholarship fund will be stripped down to £50 million between 2015 and 2016. Not the best news we could have hoped for as this latest development makes it even harder for both citizens in the United Kingdom and international students to enjoy further education in the country.
After the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander announced the privatisation of student loan books, combined with increasing loan repayments and cuts to grants and scholarships, the NCAFC, or National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, have decided to take action in early October of 2013. Those who agree that ‘education should be an accessible public service’ are encouraged to find out more and take part.
…a mountain of debt in the other…
With tuition fees already sitting at around the £9,000 mark, it’s clear that poorer prospective students are being denied the opportunity to attend universities and obtain degrees. Initially, the National Scholarship Programme promised funding to up to 50,000 people who could not otherwise have been able to afford to attend university, and following these budget cuts designed to boost investment; these figures will almost certainly drop dramatically.
No one wants to leave years spent studying at university with a well-earned degree in one hand and a mountain of debt in the other, it makes the entire process seem not worth the headache, and this clearly shouldn’t be the case.
…Let’s just keep our fingers crossed and hope our voices can be heard…
So, what can we expect when universities start back later this year? We reckon we’ll see a fair few protests around the country, as students are unlikely to lie back and accept these new reforms happily. Okay, so it might not be as easy as staging a couple of friendly marches with banners and loud speakers, but an educated response may well be what is needed to make beneficial changes for the future. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed and hope our voices can be heard. Hopefully the government will take note that as students, we don’t agree that these cuts and reforms are beneficial to the UK as a whole.