In the run up to the 1997 general election, Tony Blair promised that the new Labour/New Labour government would be about three things; the now famous, ?Education, education, education!? We now know with the benefit of hindsight that he was really promoting arbitrary targets alongside part privatisation of schools. The same sort of hatchet job has been applied to university and higher education funding where rarely the student or institution is satisfied. With the Union asking for student consultation with regards to their future policy on higher education funding (through the online survey), big questions and easy solutions are thrown about. I am personally for free education, and luckily due to my background I enjoy not having to pay tuition fees. However, I have witnessed first hand people struggling to pay tuition fees and the financial uncertainties it brings.
Aside from my ideological viewpoint that education should be free and readily available to all, I see the system as inherently hypocritical. New Labour set the now infamous target of fifty percent of school leavers to attend university. Through this they immediately aligned themselves with university admissions and ideas of wider availability. However, at the same time they present a cheque as a solution to the funding implications. The main difficulty I have is the fact that those who suffer most from the tuition fees are the lower middle classes whose income lies just above the fees threshold. New Labour was about wooing Middle England and to do the above just makes no political sense, these are also the people I have seen suffer the most.
You are lumbered with debts, which is a problem that you will personally have to solve. If anything, this destroys the nature of social mobility, or at least makes it about as easy as walking through a pool of treacle. Whether a Students? Union should naturally be in favour of free education will hopefully come to light from this survey; the Union is there to represent your interests. Just remember that education is the most liberating of human endeavours; could placing a price tag on it only undermine this liberty? Whether you believe this or are a self-proclaimed "pragmatist", one thing is for sure, someone will be burdened by the cost. However, you can choose who will be better at dealing with it.