At the Conservative party conference last week, Theresa May promised to freeze tuition fees at £9,250, and increase the earnings repayment threshold from £21,000 to £25,000.
In collaboration with UBTV, we asked Bristol students what they thought of the changes.
Changes to repayment of HE fees to cost £2.3bn/yr.Would’ve been simpler(&more politically expedient) to reduce fees! https://t.co/It87wmqAKY
— James Sloam (@James_Sloam) October 6, 2017
Most saw the announcements as positive, but many had reservations.
One student said; ‘it sounds quite good, but it’s still too expensive anyway’. Another believed it was ‘good that they’ve raised the cap of when you pay it back’, but that ‘it doesn’t detract from the fact that the Tories did raise tuition fees from £3,000 to £9,000.’
There was a critical opinion among some international students, to whom the changes will not apply, and who expressed anger at the extortionate fees they have to pay, which are sometimes as much as double that of UK students.
Can’t see how tuition fee changes help Tories much when their tweak will be measured against Labour pledge to abolish them altogether
— Ian Katz (@iankatz1000) October 1, 2017
Many Bristol students expressed disbelief at Theresa May’s claim that the changes will save them £15,700 in debt.
Some felt that this figure proved the value of the changes, with one adding that ‘any saving or reassurance to students that they’re trying to make things better is a good thing.’
However, several of those interviewed saw the savings as inadequate, with one student arguing that Theresa May was only ‘trying to pander to younger voters rather than actually initiating a long term commitment to help them.’
‘Trying to pander to younger voters’
Most Bristol students felt that not enough was being done to reduce tuition fee debt.
One said; ‘it is pretty outrageous how much we spend on university. I think we are overpaying, especially considering what’s been in the media recently about Vice Chancellors and how much they’re paid. I think there is a lot of money in education that’s not getting to us’
Some endorsed Jeremy Corbyn’s proposals to scrap tuition fees entirely. One student believed ‘they should be abolished altogether’, as she argued ‘we shouldn’t be having to pay for our education.’
However, some were against the abolition of fees. One student said; ‘a lot of people at university are very middle class. I don’t want the burden to be on people who don’t earn as much money as me or my parents will in taxation.’
‘They should be abolished altogether’
All of those interviewed told Epigram and UBTV that the announcements will not affect their vote at the next election. Some felt that the changes were not substantial enough to sway their opinion, while many pointed out that tuition fees were not the sole driving force behind their political views.
See the full video below:
How do you respond to these changes? Let us know: