End discrimination of Swiss students

If you are a (close family member of a) EU national, you pay the reduced 'home' fee at Universities in England. There are residency requirements that you have not lived outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland in the three years before your course starts but there are no residency requirements for the UK.

If you are the child of a Swiss national, you also pay the reduced 'home' fee but you have to fulfil the above prior residency requirement AS WELL AS being resident in the United Kingdom on the first academic day of the first academic year of your course. For all courses beginning between August and December, this is universally defined as September 1.

The situation is thus that if an EU national and a child of a Swiss national both start a course in mid-October, the child of a Swiss national has to take up residence in the UK already on or before September 1, wheras the EU national can just arrive on the day his course actually starts.

The exactly same provision applies in terms of eligibility for student loans.

Such discrimination is unnecessary and unfair – EU and Swiss students should be treated similarly, otherwise the spirit of the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons between the EU and Switzerland is violated.

Source: http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/student/info_sheets/tuition_fees_ewni.php  and http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2009/uksi_20091555_en_18 (clauses 9 versus 11)

Why is this idea important?

If you are a (close family member of a) EU national, you pay the reduced 'home' fee at Universities in England. There are residency requirements that you have not lived outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland in the three years before your course starts but there are no residency requirements for the UK.

If you are the child of a Swiss national, you also pay the reduced 'home' fee but you have to fulfil the above prior residency requirement AS WELL AS being resident in the United Kingdom on the first academic day of the first academic year of your course. For all courses beginning between August and December, this is universally defined as September 1.

The situation is thus that if an EU national and a child of a Swiss national both start a course in mid-October, the child of a Swiss national has to take up residence in the UK already on or before September 1, wheras the EU national can just arrive on the day his course actually starts.

The exactly same provision applies in terms of eligibility for student loans.

Such discrimination is unnecessary and unfair – EU and Swiss students should be treated similarly, otherwise the spirit of the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons between the EU and Switzerland is violated.

Source: http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/student/info_sheets/tuition_fees_ewni.php  and http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2009/uksi_20091555_en_18 (clauses 9 versus 11)

Higher Education

There seems to be a number of issues with higher education:

1) The cost of Fees and students supporting themselves with living costs

2) The perception by employers that higher education does not prepare people for working life

3) Issues with university places and the clearing system

The most straightforward answer to these issues to make it compulsory for students to complete 1 year of work experience before entering university. Students would not apply to university until the spring of the following year.

In addition reduce most courses to 2 years. My BA course (Politics ironically) at University had a total of 10 hours lectures and tutorials a week. Even allowing for study time this means that this course could have been increased to 20 or 25 hours per week and therefore be cut down to 2 years or 18 months (or even 1 year if the huge summer holidays were cut down). I know that there are many other courses like this.

This has many benefits:

a) Gives students some valuable experience and an idea of the kind of skills employers are after.

b) Allows them to earn some money to help with living costs. If students only need to support themselves for 18 months to 2 years and already have some money behind them then this will greatly help to reduce the amount of debt that students leave university with.

c) Allows them to re-think their course choice and apply to the appropriate university for their grades as they will already know their results. Some may of course choose the stay in work freeing up places for others while adding to the tax -paying work-force.

d) It allows for networking at an employer and may lead to a job offer when they graduate.

e) A course that demanded full time (30-35 hours pw) study is much better preparation for the demands of a working environment.

However there are also some issues that would need working through:

a) Some courses cannot be condensed e.g. Medicine as they are pretty much full time already. This may lead to some courses becoming the prerogative of the rich but then that is not much different to now.

b) There needs to be a sufficient pool of available jobs. However if key employers (the government being the main one) could be signed up to support a placement scheme then this could provide a real benefit to both the students and the economy.

How much does the government spend on expensive temps and interns when there is a huge source of  reasonably priced labour that is not being utilised?

Employer interest could easily be peaked if there was an incentive e.g. reduced employer national insurance contributions for 1 year for those that are taken on under the scheme.

I would be interested to hear what people think of this idea.

Why is this idea important?

There seems to be a number of issues with higher education:

1) The cost of Fees and students supporting themselves with living costs

2) The perception by employers that higher education does not prepare people for working life

3) Issues with university places and the clearing system

The most straightforward answer to these issues to make it compulsory for students to complete 1 year of work experience before entering university. Students would not apply to university until the spring of the following year.

In addition reduce most courses to 2 years. My BA course (Politics ironically) at University had a total of 10 hours lectures and tutorials a week. Even allowing for study time this means that this course could have been increased to 20 or 25 hours per week and therefore be cut down to 2 years or 18 months (or even 1 year if the huge summer holidays were cut down). I know that there are many other courses like this.

This has many benefits:

a) Gives students some valuable experience and an idea of the kind of skills employers are after.

b) Allows them to earn some money to help with living costs. If students only need to support themselves for 18 months to 2 years and already have some money behind them then this will greatly help to reduce the amount of debt that students leave university with.

c) Allows them to re-think their course choice and apply to the appropriate university for their grades as they will already know their results. Some may of course choose the stay in work freeing up places for others while adding to the tax -paying work-force.

d) It allows for networking at an employer and may lead to a job offer when they graduate.

e) A course that demanded full time (30-35 hours pw) study is much better preparation for the demands of a working environment.

However there are also some issues that would need working through:

a) Some courses cannot be condensed e.g. Medicine as they are pretty much full time already. This may lead to some courses becoming the prerogative of the rich but then that is not much different to now.

b) There needs to be a sufficient pool of available jobs. However if key employers (the government being the main one) could be signed up to support a placement scheme then this could provide a real benefit to both the students and the economy.

How much does the government spend on expensive temps and interns when there is a huge source of  reasonably priced labour that is not being utilised?

Employer interest could easily be peaked if there was an incentive e.g. reduced employer national insurance contributions for 1 year for those that are taken on under the scheme.

I would be interested to hear what people think of this idea.

Abolish student loans

Student loans are a curse that gets students of all ages into debt, on the supposition that they will be able to get a job afterwords to repay the loan, which either may not exist, or may not pay half as much as they expected, and thus leave them in a serious long term debt problem.

The culture of personal debt, which benefits only the banks, who suck on the public like leeches, must end, except in the case of essential major purchases like a home and possibly a car.

Banks instead should be lending to (mainly in the form of credit agreements) to businesses, and not funding mass higher education, which except in the case of certan professional jobs like medicine (and I mean DOCTORS, not NURSES) nobody needs, to say nothing of the ridiculous number of ever high and mostly meaningless degrees like Masters and so on, which numerous people are now feeling obliged to take to distinguish themselves from the glut of people with first degree, should shouldn't actually have one in the first place because it neither represents any truly useful knowledge, nor does society need them toi have it.

What we need is people who can DO THEIR JOBS PROPERLY, regardless of whether they have a degree or not, and most jobs can be done by ON THE JOB TRAINING given to suitable candidates tested for aptitude and chosen at the discretion of the employer.

 

 

 

Why is this idea important?

Student loans are a curse that gets students of all ages into debt, on the supposition that they will be able to get a job afterwords to repay the loan, which either may not exist, or may not pay half as much as they expected, and thus leave them in a serious long term debt problem.

The culture of personal debt, which benefits only the banks, who suck on the public like leeches, must end, except in the case of essential major purchases like a home and possibly a car.

Banks instead should be lending to (mainly in the form of credit agreements) to businesses, and not funding mass higher education, which except in the case of certan professional jobs like medicine (and I mean DOCTORS, not NURSES) nobody needs, to say nothing of the ridiculous number of ever high and mostly meaningless degrees like Masters and so on, which numerous people are now feeling obliged to take to distinguish themselves from the glut of people with first degree, should shouldn't actually have one in the first place because it neither represents any truly useful knowledge, nor does society need them toi have it.

What we need is people who can DO THEIR JOBS PROPERLY, regardless of whether they have a degree or not, and most jobs can be done by ON THE JOB TRAINING given to suitable candidates tested for aptitude and chosen at the discretion of the employer.

 

 

 

Reduce top-down regulations at universities

British Academics are among the most regulated in the western world. The government is talking about reducing top-down control and let professionals get on with their work.

How about applying this to universities? The RAE/REF, TQA and QAA require excessive amounts of academic time – actually taking away considerable time and resources from teaching, student contact and research. There are also plenty of unintended consequences which haven't done the sector any good – e.g. the artifically distorted hiring cycles caused by the RAE/REF, artificial, over-complicated administrative procedures introduced to satisfy the QAA, endless monitoring routines which make teachers more timid and teaching less innovative due to the TQA.
Last but not least, there is also a considerable cost to these exercises, both within institutions and nationwide.

Cut the red tape and let academics get on with their work, which ought to be research and teaching – not endless admin.

Why is this idea important?

British Academics are among the most regulated in the western world. The government is talking about reducing top-down control and let professionals get on with their work.

How about applying this to universities? The RAE/REF, TQA and QAA require excessive amounts of academic time – actually taking away considerable time and resources from teaching, student contact and research. There are also plenty of unintended consequences which haven't done the sector any good – e.g. the artifically distorted hiring cycles caused by the RAE/REF, artificial, over-complicated administrative procedures introduced to satisfy the QAA, endless monitoring routines which make teachers more timid and teaching less innovative due to the TQA.
Last but not least, there is also a considerable cost to these exercises, both within institutions and nationwide.

Cut the red tape and let academics get on with their work, which ought to be research and teaching – not endless admin.

Commit to expert vocational training for non-academic students

Vocational education should be unified in a single system endorsed by industry. There are now thousands of validating bodies of varying quality, and no way for students and employers to know which qualifications are valuable (apart from bias and rumour). 

We should have specialist technical institutes for relevant industries in priority sectors, led & taught by people who excel in their fields. We ought to go back to polytechnics and conservatories. 

Why is this idea important?

Vocational education should be unified in a single system endorsed by industry. There are now thousands of validating bodies of varying quality, and no way for students and employers to know which qualifications are valuable (apart from bias and rumour). 

We should have specialist technical institutes for relevant industries in priority sectors, led & taught by people who excel in their fields. We ought to go back to polytechnics and conservatories. 

ELQ policy should be reversed

The policy to remove support for HE students in England studying for Qualifications at Equivalent or Lower level than their highest current qualification needs reversing, especially for part-time students. The policy has been introduced gradually over the last few years and means that people who need to retrain, by obtaining an HE qualification in a new area, when they already have a degree in another, have to pay international student level fees, making it prohibitive for a great many to do so.

Why is this idea important?

The policy to remove support for HE students in England studying for Qualifications at Equivalent or Lower level than their highest current qualification needs reversing, especially for part-time students. The policy has been introduced gradually over the last few years and means that people who need to retrain, by obtaining an HE qualification in a new area, when they already have a degree in another, have to pay international student level fees, making it prohibitive for a great many to do so.

Free tuition for your first REAL degree

Free tuition should be available for everyones first degree, no grants, just no tuition.

Industry should decide on the number of places available on each degree course universities offer (with a minimum number available for each)

Student loans for living costs should be available at an interest rate that makes is cost neutral for the government to run.

Why is this idea important?

Free tuition should be available for everyones first degree, no grants, just no tuition.

Industry should decide on the number of places available on each degree course universities offer (with a minimum number available for each)

Student loans for living costs should be available at an interest rate that makes is cost neutral for the government to run.

Education

Everyone has right to a decent education however you define it. The higher education committee are not looking beyond the traditional A levels, then Uni format.

Why is this idea important?

Everyone has right to a decent education however you define it. The higher education committee are not looking beyond the traditional A levels, then Uni format.

Tuition Fees

Scrap and at least permanently cap tuition fees and scrap the very idea of charging commercial interest rates. Introduce an equitable graduate tax as percentage of earnings, ringfenced for funding higher eductaion.

I put this suggestion in the section on civil liberties because every person should be enabled in a developed country to be educated to the highest standard they can achieve. A young person's suitability for higher education should be determined by their academic ability, talent and ambition, not by how much their parents earn.

Ringfencing higher education for the higest paid minority, such as children of financiers, has no place in the 21st century. It is oppressive, it harms social freedom, social mobility. It deprives the country of academic ambition and of the diverse talent and skills it needs in a modern world.

Why is this idea important?

Scrap and at least permanently cap tuition fees and scrap the very idea of charging commercial interest rates. Introduce an equitable graduate tax as percentage of earnings, ringfenced for funding higher eductaion.

I put this suggestion in the section on civil liberties because every person should be enabled in a developed country to be educated to the highest standard they can achieve. A young person's suitability for higher education should be determined by their academic ability, talent and ambition, not by how much their parents earn.

Ringfencing higher education for the higest paid minority, such as children of financiers, has no place in the 21st century. It is oppressive, it harms social freedom, social mobility. It deprives the country of academic ambition and of the diverse talent and skills it needs in a modern world.

Review of university fees – make the system fairer

 

The system needs updating. The way that the university fees are calculated simply does not work. I was at uni a couple of years ago and found a wide range of situations:

– rich parents who would not help their kids as they wanted them to learn to fend for themselves

– rich parents who paid for everything and the kids simply took out student loans so they could invest the money as it worked out better for them (and they have earned money without needing a job)

– poor parents who would/could not help with living expenses (kids did not pay fees)

– poor parents who helped out with living expenses and fees were not charged so effectively these kids had lots of money

The other situation that I think is rarely considered is the number of children a family has – is it right to charge the parents of triplets high fees for uni if they earn above a threshold when they have realistically less money to spend than a family on the same income with one child?

The current system removes money your parents pay into a pension from their total earnings, but not money they are paying to a mortgage. My mother moved house during my time at university and as she was 50 when she took out a £90k mortgage she was charged a lot each month. This was money that was not available to her so she had to reduce the amount she was paying into her pension, which subsequently slashed the amount I was able to get from my grant, even though she had less money in her pocket each month and I had not received any financial support from her (I never asked).

With many more people taking gap years these days, when students do start uni they are often much more mature and more independent and therefore less financially reliant on their parents, so why should their parents income have any bearing on their university fees?

I appreciate that fees cannot be scrapped completely but an overhaul is needed. It should be less heavily based on a parents income and maybe more closely linked to estimated earnings after a degree is completed (medicine costs more to teach and with F1s earning £30k should they not pay more in fees than someone who studies Biomedical Science which costs less to teach and has an estimated starting salary around £10k less? Law, whilst not necessarily costing more to teach, will net the student a higher salary, and therefore could be a good income earner helping to reduce fees for things like nurses, social workers etc)

Why is this idea important?

 

The system needs updating. The way that the university fees are calculated simply does not work. I was at uni a couple of years ago and found a wide range of situations:

– rich parents who would not help their kids as they wanted them to learn to fend for themselves

– rich parents who paid for everything and the kids simply took out student loans so they could invest the money as it worked out better for them (and they have earned money without needing a job)

– poor parents who would/could not help with living expenses (kids did not pay fees)

– poor parents who helped out with living expenses and fees were not charged so effectively these kids had lots of money

The other situation that I think is rarely considered is the number of children a family has – is it right to charge the parents of triplets high fees for uni if they earn above a threshold when they have realistically less money to spend than a family on the same income with one child?

The current system removes money your parents pay into a pension from their total earnings, but not money they are paying to a mortgage. My mother moved house during my time at university and as she was 50 when she took out a £90k mortgage she was charged a lot each month. This was money that was not available to her so she had to reduce the amount she was paying into her pension, which subsequently slashed the amount I was able to get from my grant, even though she had less money in her pocket each month and I had not received any financial support from her (I never asked).

With many more people taking gap years these days, when students do start uni they are often much more mature and more independent and therefore less financially reliant on their parents, so why should their parents income have any bearing on their university fees?

I appreciate that fees cannot be scrapped completely but an overhaul is needed. It should be less heavily based on a parents income and maybe more closely linked to estimated earnings after a degree is completed (medicine costs more to teach and with F1s earning £30k should they not pay more in fees than someone who studies Biomedical Science which costs less to teach and has an estimated starting salary around £10k less? Law, whilst not necessarily costing more to teach, will net the student a higher salary, and therefore could be a good income earner helping to reduce fees for things like nurses, social workers etc)