Rise up against Fee Rises

Rise up against fee rises – why the new fee increases are worse than 2010’s

July 29, 2016

In 2010 the Coalition Government of the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats raised tuition fees from £3000 a year to £9000 a year. This was the first time that fees had been raised since 1997, when the Labour government introduced fees for the very first time in England and Wales. This increase was met with a huge reaction which led to massive protests on the streets of London. However, this hasn’t been the only rise in tuition fees since the coming of successive Conservative governments.

It was announced on the last day of Parliament that tuitions fees will be allowed to rise to £9,250 per year as of 2017. Despite this being a relatively small rise compared to the 2010 rise, it has a more significant effect upon the overall landscape of fees and sets a precedent for the future.

Casting our minds back to 2010, the fee rise did have an economic argument behind it. This was mainly that no rises for 13 years previously had led to a black hole the government was funding and with the ‘need for austerity’ the funding should be covered by the student as opposed to government money. This was George Osborne’s argument when it was passed in parliament and is still the one believed by those who supported the rise.

Now, comparing it to the current rise, there has been no argument put forward by the Chancellor, Higher Education Secretary (Jo Johnson, the seemingly normal brother of Boris) or even the new Prime Minister Theresa May. What happened is that the legislation snuck through parliament unnoticed by a majority of people and was then announced on the last day when a majority of journalists had gone on holiday and the PM was away smooth talking the EU in an attempt to pick up the best deal for the UK after Brexit.

This shows that the recent rise is nothing but a money grab by the current government. It doesn’t fall in line with inflation. it was allowed due to a loophole in the contracts we all signed in order for us to be able to go get our loans.

It also has set a precedent in allowing for the current system to be exploited and the fees to continually rise without a parliamentary debate or even consultation. We have no certainty on what our fees will be and even when the rises will stop. The only thing is for certain is that this will not be the end of the issue.

I ask that if you want to fight this you not only join me and many other students in fighting the current government via protests that will no doubt be happening in Autumn with the help of the SU, but also consider joining various societies that will also be battling the rise, such as the Free Education Soc, Young Greens and UEA Labour in order to get your voice heard and get the change that is so desperately needed in our Higher Education system.

How To Boost Your CV Over Summer

by Natalie Froome


1. Summer jobs

Alongside earning some cash for the summer and perhaps even saving for the next term, it also shows a potential graduate employer that you’ve got a good work ethic. Even if it’s a mundane or menial job that has nothing to do with your future plans, it lets them know you’re willing to get up each day and work hard. Any summer job will broaden your experiences and look good on a CV. Places that often recruit over summer include: summer camps, retailers, festivals and tourist attractions. The UEA MyCareerCentral site advertises summer jobs and is a good place to start.

2. Free courses

From animation to military ethics, Spanish to coding, sustainable fashion to film production, anatomy to finance, FutureLearn.com has literally hundreds of free online courses. Many of these are taught by leading universities (including several run by UEA) and are great for learning something new or building on the subject knowledge you already have. The courses taught by videos, articles and some include short multiple-choice tests. You can put them on your CV when you’re done, but if an employer ever requires you to prove you took the course (which they probably won’t) you can purchase a certificate of participation for around £30 from the site.

3. Volunteering

If you’ve got time on your hands, why not use it for some good? Check out local charity shops, homeless organisations and animal rescues. It’s more likely than not they’ll be happy for you to spend some time helping out. If you haven’t got that much time, or don’t want to commit to regular volunteering then you could try looking for events volunteering opportunities. Loads of charity races happen in the summer and require help marshalling, setting up and it usually only involves giving up a day of your time.

4. Learn a language

In a more global world, language skills can really help you stand out. There are lots of options, but one of the most popular is an online site called Duolingo. It’s completely free, easy to use, has 27 different languages on offer and contains a social aspect where you can add friends.

(photo courtesy of Nick Karvounis at https://unsplash.com/@nickkarvounis)

Brexit; the reality for EU students

The morning the result of the EU referendum was announced, 48% of voters woke up in utter shock – shock at the dropping pound, dropping pension funds, consequences quickly disowned by the Vote Leave campaigners.

Although everyone in Britain is affected by this, certain groups of people weren’t even allowed to participate in the vote in spite of the democracy we claim to be. Even the ones who will be affected the most by the vote, such as the EU migrants.

Since the initial announcement of the result, hate crimes have spiked. Abuse targeted at both EU migrants and non-white British citizens has been calculated to be nearly 57% higher than average.

Incidents such as posting hateful leaflets bearing slogans such as: ‘Leave the EU, No more Polish Vermin’ through letterboxes in Huntingdon, men chanting ‘OUT, OUT, OUT’ at Muslim women in Brockley, have become a new and frankly terrifying, daily routine.

In light of the economic turmoil brought upon Britain by provincial rage, everyone is already suffering. Arts funding already stands as low as it can be with consecutive cuts from the Tory government, but once EU funding is removed, it might vanish completely. Removing free movement of labour and services will also see the scientific progress fall due to the inability to easily communicate between UK scientists and Europe.

Uncertainty following EU nationals’ migrant status also hits universities. Many worry whether they will be able to do that Master’s degree without paying twice the yearly tuition fee out of their pocket, or whether their families can still stay in the country until pension age without repercussions. This anxiety has been widely felt through social media, although it has been quickly shot down by keyboard warriors with slightly too much time on their hands.

Thankfully, UEA’s Vice-Chancellor, David Richardson has eased the minds of current and prospective UEA students, stating that before the end of the Brexit negotiations there will be no change to the status of EU students who plan to/already attend the university. Until then, there will also be no change to the way Student Finance works, which means it’s still possible to take out loans for the years they will be attending.

However, despite many claims that Brexit is not a result of racist sentiments, as an immigrant I have been made to feel unsafe within the community I, just like many others, made my home. Although it’s clear that many left wing Leave voters had peaceful reasons for their vote, they have simultaneously promoted the far right, racist sentiments and legitimised the hate acts that have been happening all around the country.

This vote stopped being an ideological, detached argument when people are scared to speak their language on the streets in fear of being attacked. For the moment, all they can do is hope that the majority stops seeing them as the enemy.

Image: “Brexit” by Mick Baker is licensed under CC BY 2.0