How does it feel to know your daughter, son, niece, nephew, granddaughter or grandson has £50,000 debt to their name by the age of 21? That’s the reality.
Since the 2012 rise in University tuition fees that allowed universities to charge up to £9,000 a year, students have been graduating with more than a degree. They’re also welcomed by a letter telling them just how much debt they’re in. In June 2017, graduates walked out of uni with an average debt of £32,220, and this is expected to rise each year. Adding interest to that number also makes it extremely unlikely that the average student will ever pay this debt off.
But some young people are still fighting for this unfair expense on young people to end. We spoke to Lara Duzgan, a member of the Youth Parliament about how the high student fees are affecting young people, and what she’s doing to try and fix it.
Stand Up Magazine: Can you tell us more about your efforts to decrease or abolish University tuition fees in England?
Lara Duzgan: The new legislation allows universities to increase the tuition fees as much as they want with no means to improve our educational system so what do we get out of it? In my opinion, we don’t get anything different from what students got ten years ago, like a bad poker night gambling our lives with the dream job to pay off the debt we owe. The education system is the same but the price keeps on rising. I want students, young people to stop and think “is this fair?!” Is it fair that we will have to pay an average debt of nearly £60,000 +6.1% interest rate without even getting a job yet? That is why I am designing a survey to see what the youth think about this matter, I have also contacted many MPs about my campaign and hopefully can take it to the House of Commons in the next year.
Stand Up Magazine: How do the high tuition fees effect young people?
Lara: Many can not take the risk of having such a huge debt which is understandable as some people try to avoid having such repayment. Which is ironic as the government encourages us to live a debt-free life, to use our money responsibly, however the first thing that happens when we enter “the real world” is huge amount of debt on our shoulders.
“The government encourages us to live a debt-free life, to use our money responsibly, however the first thing that happens when we enter “the real world” is huge amount of debt on our shoulders”
Stand Up Magazine: Why do you think it’s so important to make University more financially accessible for young people?
Lara: We are the next generation, and to have a career most of the time you need a degree and where do you get degree from? Universities. So when young people cannot attend universities the next generation is in danger, I am talking about youth that’s wanting to be the next doctors, engineers, teachers, scientists, accountants, where are they going? Society just forgets about them. So if the poor cannot afford that, the rich can, which means most people with a degree will have a wealthy background, which takes us back to hundreds of years of work and trying to break this hierarchy where the rich are more likely to succeed in life.
Also, the fact that young people don’t get a proper education to teach us financial responsibility. The unknown can make students have anxiety and depression; “How will I deal with the debt after?”, “Will I get a good job that will pay off the debts?”, “I’m not getting good enough grades, I’m going to fail and not be able to pay my debts off”. These are only a few snippets of what students are feeling. They are stressing over money then they are about exams. Is that really healthy? Money is taking over young people’s minds.
Stand Up Magazine: Are less young people considering University since the increase in tuition fees?
Lara: Yes, definitely, recent studies show that the figures from UCAS and the admissions clearinghouse, have a drastic fall in the number of applications for undergraduate students. This is the first time since 2012 that UK-based students do not want to attend to university. Why? Mostly because of the increase of university tuition fees. Which is a clear indication students cannot afford the raise.