Back in 2009, I decided that I wanted to use my experiences with Sausage’s birth to help other people in a similar position. I realised that I probably wouldn’t be allowed to do that without qualifications, so I embarked on some formal education in the form of a Psychology degree with the Open University. Despite not having A-levels, I was able to complete an access course which eased me into higher education and provided me with 60 of the 360 points needed to gain my degree.
I finished the course, passed, and enrolled on more as soon as I could. I started two at the same time, one a 60 pointer and another a short course worth 15 points. As often happens, life got in the way and I decided to quit the 60 point course and finish the short course before taking a break. I’ve done various things between then and now, working for myself, being a lady of leisure, working in a couple of offices, but it’s always been a niggly thing in the background, my unfinished degree so I made the decision to try to get it done.
I went to the OU site, chose a module, registered and waited for the forms to turn up. When I started the degree a 60 point course was, on average, between £650 and £750. This new course I want to do? £2500. And it seems all of the courses have gone up by that much. So, that means that from beginning to end instead of costing between £3900 and £4500, that very same qualification will now cost around £15,000. Put simply, the cost has almost tripled.
Now, were my household income below the threshold or we were in receipt of certain benefits, I’d get the full amount paid for me. As it stands, I’d get a partial award of around £600 towards my course fees, so I’d still need to find about £1900 for the rest of it.
I’m not saying that I think I’m entitled to a free education, but I really feel like the message is all wrong here.
For a start, I’m 28. Not everyone wishing to embark on a degree is a grown up, most are 18, fresh out of sixth form or college and looking to improve their life prospects. This means that either they take student loans and get themselves in a ton of debt (really not what we should be encouraging, in light of our current economy), work while studying and put more pressure on themselves, or turn to their parents who’ll need to find several thousand pounds to pay for the education, not to mention food and shelter for their children. I feel sorry for anyone with more than one kid at this point.
The fact is that by increasing the fees by this much, the majority of ‘average’ people are simply unable to afford to better themselves. £600 is a help, but I simply don’t have a spare £3800 a year, which means I just can’t complete my course. I have no choice but to remain incomplete, no way of increasing my earning potential, a vicious circle if you will.
All I know is, as much as I try to stay away from politics on this blog, I’m genuinely despairing of this government. It’s patently obvious to anyone who takes the time to notice that the Tories are doing everything they can to keep the ‘lower’ classes in their place (menial labour and servitude, I’m guessing?) by depriving them of a chance to education and we’re just letting them do it.
I’m not condoning the riots, but the people who were rioting were doing so because they felt disenfranchised and abandoned by their country. That was a relatively small group but one by one, the Tories are managing to make other social groups feel that same level of frustration and abandonment. I hate to think what will happen if that, much larger, group decides to take matters into their own hands to make themselves feel listened to.
Welcome to Tory Britain.
Welcome to the Middle Ages.