The £327 million student opportunity fund helps to pay for disadvantaged students to go to University. This fund was set up because of the massive fee increase of up to £9,000 per year at many Universities throughout the UK. Now though, its budget is going to be slashed by roughly £200 million because of mistakes made by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. At first glance this seems like a terrible travesty but what if it could actually have a positive impact?
There are many arguments especially by Labour that the Tories are punishing the poorest again by threatening “the last direct funding of universities”. Of course it has been argued that given the exorbitantly high fees which Universities are now charging, nearly all British students are disadvantaged. With fees this high your parents will have to have pretty good jobs to pay for your education or if you take out a loan it is going to take a very long time to pay off the debt. In fact one of the only reasons that the Lib Dems agreed to the raising of fees by the Tories was because of the creation of this fund. The concept being that the poorest in society will still have access to University. Indeed this comes after the Chancellor already cut £150 million from the national scholarship fund. So to most people the immediate view would that this slash in funding is a bad thing.
But is it actually all bad? At present with the economy in the toilet there is a serious problem with everyone, even graduates getting jobs. Many graduates in fact are working in non-graduate positions because there is no other work available. With so many people going to University people need degrees in order to get any kind of work. Who knows perhaps in a few years you may need a degree in order to become a toilet cleaner or bin man. The fact of the matter is that there are too many graduates and the job market has become oversaturated. The only real solution is to reduce the number of graduates and you do this by reducing the number of people going to university. Given the fact that the Chancellor George Osborne recently announced that "We will abolish the cap on student numbers altogether." It could be argued that the Chancellor is perhaps agrees that too many people are going to university but is trying to appease the masses.
By reducing the amount of funding available, the government has reduced the amount of people who will go to university just because it’s what people do now. What is needed is a return to grammar school and apprenticeships system where people can gain valuable skills without going to University but learn them on the job. Only people with real drive and determination should go to University; the rise of the mickey mouse degrees has had a terrible effect on other graduates. If we can reduce the saturation and reclaim the prestige of a university education perhaps we will be one step closer to sorting out the employment problems. If we also offer comprehensive training and apprenticeships to people who choose not to go to universities we will be even closer.
It may be a controversial view but it is surely not without merit? Just think about job adds you have seen or have applied to recently; surely the graduate job market is over saturated. Something has to be done. After all what is the point in putting yourself in massive debt in order to get a degree that will benefit you in no way? Your comments below please!