Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuition Fee Riots

Protests against rising tuition fees in London turned violent today with massive property damage as angry students swarmed the street. I first heard this story on CNN and saw it again on the BBC. Both networks kept citing that the fees would triple, which is a very dramatic increase. But no one said how exactly how much fees were increase which told me it wasn't as high as your gt reaction might believe.

I found the actual increase (notably via the BBC...apparently it's worth writing in an article but not worth saying in a newscast). For one, they are not increasing the fees per se, but increasing the cap universities can charge. It will grow from $4,830 to $14,500 (3,000 pounds to 9,000 pounds, using current exchange rates). So yes, a $10,000 increase is quite a hunk of money. But the average in state tuition in the US is $10,674. Out-of-state tuition for public universities is much higher. And that was in 2004; average tuition is certainly higher today for the same reason the Brits kicked up fees: governments are strapped for cash.

In other words, tuition rose not because the Tories, et al are picking on students but because students have been underpaying for a long time. That's why even in the wake of the violence, the Tories aren't backing down.

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