Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Students are important

This saddens me. Some people seem to think that students are a load of middle-class kids using government money to get drunk and steal traffic cones while not learning anything useful and getting into university with worse and worse A-level grades.

Well, news-flash – they’re not. If we take ‘student’ to mean ‘someone taking a degree’ then you’re also taking into account mature students and working class people who don’t fit the stereotype. We’re not leeching off the state – surprisingly enough, we don’t get grants any more. No, not only do we now pay for our education (and the cost of it is about to treble to £3000 per year for some more popular courses) but any government money is usually in the form of loans, which we pay back with interest upon graduation. In fact, now that the higher fees are going ahead in 2 years time, a considerable proportion of our earnings for the first 5-10 years after graduation will be debt repayments to the government. Average debt on graduation is already £12,000 for fees of just over £1000 a year – think what it’ll be when we’re paying £3000 a year. You’ve also got the rising cost of accommodation and living expenses, so if the average hits £20,000 in a few years time I won’t be surprised.
Imagine a country without graduates. Let’s say you’ve developed an eye problem and need medical attention. There’d be no eye specialists, or GPs for that matter, or even nurses to treat you. Naturally there’d be no opticians either. You couldn’t even go to the chemists because there’d be no pharmacists.
Getting around would be quite difficult because you would have very few automative engineers to design cars or civil engineers to design the transport infrastructure. We wouldn’t have many computers because there’d be no computer scientists to develop the hardware and software. Schools would run out of specialist subject teachers pretty quickly.
And yet, people treat students as if they’re scum of the earth. Graduates are so vital for the running of this country, you’d think the government would be more accommodating towards us. I know this has turned into a general rant about student hardship but, in my mind, this is a serious issue and I’ve seen first hand how people have struggled to make it through university due to financial hardship.


  1. its coz evry1 is just jealous of our intelligence

  2. I’m still figuring out if that statement is ment to be ironic.

  3. Agreed – we need students.
    You emphasise that students pay back their loans with interest – however in real terms student loans have no interest, as it is inflation-linked. If no interest at all was paid in real terms you would actually be paying back less than you borrowed.