Sunday, 2 March 2008

More debt woes

This was published as a letter in last weeks issue of The Socialist.

The Education Guardian (19/02/08) reported that this year a greater proportion of universities are in debt than at any point in the last decade. The report also said that many were banking on the lifting of the £3,145 cap on top-up fees to get themselves out of this debt. University vice chancellors have been aiming to get the cap lifted ever since top-up fees were introduced.

The thing that disgusted me most however, was the comments in an article by NUS president Gemma Tumelty. She rejects raising the cap on fees but says: "Universities should be working within the financial constraints they have and engaging in this debate, rather than surreptitiously counting up student money which is not theirs." No Gemma. Instead of the government wasting £75 billion on Trident nuclear missiles, we should be demanding that money is spent on public services. We should demand that the money is provided to pay for free education, with living grants for all. And rather than letting the current university heads mismanage these funds, universities should be democratically run by students, staff and the community.

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