Should Higher Education Be Free to Students?

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Economics for Business
Should higher education be free to students?
University education has become a major hot topic recently as governments have struggled to find the funds for universities. Therefore, there have been many debates raised of what the best way to fund university education is and whether it should be free or not. Firstly, we will start by going over why tuition fees were actually introduced. The idea began in the labour party manifesto in 1997 when Education was known to be the biggest priority as Tony Blair called for ‘Education, Education and Education’. Tuition fees were all paid by the governments before and many more grants were given out. However, throughout the years the government had lost the money and had no income to be able to pay for university education so therefore top-up-fees started. This was a way in which universities can charge fees for whatever price they wish. When labour came to power in 1997, there were no fees but there were only means-tested maintenance grants. But after one year grants were no longer available and a means-tested fee regime of £1,000 a year was introduced. In 2004 the higher education bill brought in top-up fees of up to £3,000. The tuition fee limit has remained at about £3,000 up to now and there are current plans and proposals to increase the fees even further. Some senior former advisers at the World Bank argue that some university institutions should even charge up to £20,000 a year. This is because some economists and professors argue that UK institutions could do better by just charging full fees as it would free them from the state and allow them to produce greater revenue for hiring out top academics and bursaries for able students who cannot afford tuition fees. There are many reasons why education should not be free. Proposals have been made to ‘reflect the true economic costs of undergraduate education’. Firstly, British higher education needs income if it is to continue to compete in the...
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