This post was originally written for SHIFT UK
For the past few months I have been thinking about University, actually let me rephrase that, for the past few months I have been forced to think about University (my plan to remain in denial has been pretty fruitless) . First it was just the course, now it’s also the location, accommodation, proximity to home, grade requirements, prestige and the list goes on and on.
The whole University thing, although exciting, is incredibly scary and with the £9,000 tuition fees the pressure to get everything right first time round is immense. So here I am trying to stay alive with all this new information whizzing about and then George Osbourne throws a spanner in the works, not even a spanner but a whole freaking tool box! He says ‘we are scrapping Student Maintenance grants,’ in order for students to essentially ‘earn or learn’. For me this feels like this; ‘get punished, and squandered out of a future of financial stability because you want to get an education.’
A lot of people are trying to justify this whole situation saying that you will still get the amount of money that you deserve to survive at University but that is far from the point. The point is this, many lower and working class, (we need to stop with this whole class shebang but that’s a post for another day) are struggling financially already and University is supposed to be an investment into a better, brighter, financially stable future. Unfortunately now University seems like an investment into a future of debt.
Of course you don’t start paying it back until you are earning more than £21,000; of course it gets written off eventually but let’s be real, no one wants to spend their adult life paying money back, no one wants to be financially unstable simply because they want to further their education and hopefully become a valuable member of society.
We have a generation that did not pay University fees, who are now robbing us of a chance of a life of financial stability. I am aware that the economic situation in their time would have been very different to now and I definitely don’t know the ins and outs of the current economic situation in the UK. What I do know, however, is that University is one of many key investments to society, to the future in fact and provides people with the opportunity to gain skills and leave as well-rounded individuals who can impact the world they live in.
In scrapping maintenance grants the government are robbing my generation of brains and talent that could go on to do great things, because we cannot shy away from the fact that this is going to stop many people who want to, from going to University.
I don’t want to hear another ‘but you still get money’, yes I know that and I appreciate that, but I also want to have the opportunity to earn money and enjoy it, earn money and invest it for later on in my life, earn money and not spend a significant amount of my life paying it back.
I have read articles suggesting that the government plan on trying out the scrapping of maintenance grants for those of us entering University in 2016 and then they will see how well it works. Our futures are not buffets; you don’t try things out when it comes to the future of the next generation.
Accept it or not, we are the future, we, the very same people whom you have made it more and more difficult to get an education, are the ones who will be thrown into this highly competitive world, and all I want to know is if you are not making decisions that will help the future generation have a better quality of life than yourself, then why are you here?
How do you feel about the scrapping of student maintenance grants? Is it putting you off attending University or do you agree with the decision?
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