UK University Fees Are Now The Highest In The Whole World

Yes, higher than America

UK University Fees Are Now The Highest In The Whole World

by Maeve Campbell |
Published on

So it’s now official. English university graduates are facing the most debt in the world.

Honestly, stepping foot in the world of work is daunting enough as it is, without the knowledge that we are saddled with an average of £44,000 to somehow pay back.

Quick history lesson. The Labour government introduced tuition fees in 1998 but back then, they were determined on a means basis, according to the student’s financial circumstances. Of course, since then the government has raised fees to £9,000 in 2012 (yes I was at the protest) and very sneakily hiking them up to** £9,250** last year. Did you even know? It took me a long time to realise, as it was so surreptitiously covered up by the Department of Education who deemed it not enough of a big deal to shout about. Well, £250 is a lot of money, if you’re a suffering student or a grovelling graduate.

So what’s it like everywhere else? In European terms (not that we are particularly European anymore) we are an absolute anomaly, with Germany, Italy, Austria, Belgium and others charging under £1000 per year. In France, students only pay around £350 a year.

There are even several countries where university is completely free, such as Scotland and much of Scandinavia. Och Aye.

Equally, it might surprise you to hear that our debt surpasses even the Americans, who are famed for having to pay thousands for Ivy League schools. Americans come out on average with around £20,000 a debt, still a huge amount of money, but we can beat it. The reason for this is that the American system offers a considerable amount of scholarships as well as having a ‘home-state’ discount which applies if you choose to study in the same place you grew up. Therefore, we really do pay more than in the US, and that’s despite the fact that courses over there last 4 years, whereas over here the average degree is 3 years. So there really is no excuse.

The fact that we pay so much is having detrimental effects on graduates’ quality of life, according to a report by The Sutton Trust. Many are deciding not to undertake a Masters because the thought of a further 10 grand debt is terrifying. The report also shows that graduates cannot even begin to afford a mortgage, leaving them stuck in the renting-forever-cycle, with the timing of having children and other major life decisions being adversely affected.

We, the guinea pig generation, are expected to bask in the ‘generosity’ of the clause that specifies earning a minimum of £21,000 is obligatory before repayment can begin. But it’s not like that’s a lot of money to live on, especially trying to get by in cities like London where rent and travel are utterly extortionate.

Not only do our tuition fees already skyrocket above everyone elses, but I’m sure you will be pleased to hear that rather than listening to our pleas, the government have recently announced that English universities will be able to further increase tuition fees, providing they have high quality teaching. This hierarchical system will take effect in autumn 2017. As Universities Minister Jo Johnson has said, this will 'extend aspiration and life chances for students from all backgrounds.' Sure it will Jo, sure it will.

**Liked this? You might also be interested in: **


**Today Brexit Begins, So What Should We Expect?

It's Not You, It's The Economy: The Real Reason Rents Are So High

Why Is The Issue Of Consent At University So Difficult To Grasp

Follow Maeve on Twitter @maevieCampbell

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us