Britain faces a future of apartheid as Welsh students are spared higher tuition fees
Tensions surrounding government plans to increase tuition fees in England rose sharply last night following news that Welsh students would be exempt from higher charges.
English students will be forced to pay up to £9,000 a year, but Welsh students will be spared the higher fees, even if they study at English universities. Scottish students will continue to pay nothing at all, providing they study north of the border.
The escalating rows centre on Westminster plans to allow the cap on tuition fees in England to rise to £27,000 for three years from September 2012. The proposal has led students to take to the streets for a third week of protests.
The Welsh move will deepen concern over the ‘apartheid’ in public services between UK nations, with the devolved administrations in Edinburgh and Cardiff providing their citizens with better access to medicine and cheaper education due to higher public spending.
‘We are preserving the principle that the state will subsidise higher education and maintain opportunities for all,’ said Welsh education minister, Leighton Andrews. ‘In Wales, we remain committed to helping the most disadvantaged access education.’
Aaron Porter, president of the National Union of Students said: ‘Welsh students stand to have their higher fees paid for them, clearly showing where there is a will there is a way and that fees can effectively be kept at current levels.’
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the TaxPayers Alliance said, ‘Graduates derive a significant financial gain across their lifetime from their degree and so it is right that they should contribute towards the cost of their university education.
‘It’s completely unfair to expect those taxpayers who do not go to university to subsidise those who do, and that includes English taxpayers funding Welsh students fees.’
Should access to higher education be based on academic ability rather than ability to pay? Alternatively, perhaps you agree with the proposed rise in tuition fees and believe the cost outweighs the gain? We want to know what you think so post your comments below.