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Is the UK right to charge its students for higher education? Show more Show less

Just over twenty years ago, higher education was free in the UK for any student who secured a place on a university course. Flash forward to today and students graduate with an average debt of £50,000. Critics claim this is wildly unfair and inhibits social mobility. Others claim that high fees improve equality. With both sides aiming to reduce inequality, why do the positions on implementing fees and reducing grants contradict each other?
University education should be free for all to access. Education is a human right. The state has a duty to fund free higher education in its annual budget.
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Fees for higher education leave students with a psychological debt burden.

Charging students high fees can severely impact their mental health.

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Context

In recent years there has been a push to improve not only people's physical health, but also their mental health. Increasingly, studies suggest that our financial health can have a big impact on our mental health; as those with the least money report more feelings of anxiety and depression [1] If debt can lead to psychological problems, then fees may not only harm student's opportunities but also their health.

The Argument

Even though the current system effectively means that those who earn below £21,000 will not have to pay back their student loan, simply the thought of such a crushing debt can be problematic. For those who have to borrow the entire sum of their fees, and whose parents cannot contribute financially, such a debt burden in itself is problematic. There are frequent reports of students who have claimed that the quantity of money they owed deepened their mental health issues.

Counter arguments

Whilst debt and depression are linked, often depression can lead to an accumulation of debt from poor decision-making [[1]

Premises

P1. Debt causes depression and anxiety. P2. Tuition fees create debt. P3. Ergo, tuition fees cause depression and anxiety.

Rejecting the premises

If premise one is false, in that depression causes debt rather than vice versa, then this could be disproved.

References

  1. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47693725

Proponents

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This page was last edited on Wednesday, 4 Dec 2019 at 15:09 UTC