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Monday, 2 March 2009

Universities Fail To Close The Class Divide

The Government reportedly gave Universities £392 million, with the aim of increasing the number of students from a working class background. But there has only been a 2 point percentage increase in the past 5 years.

I was half shocked and half amused to see this quote:
The Commons public accounts committee says it is "dismayed" the government seems to have little idea what they have done with the money.

Many factors are discussed (the article is here) to explain this issue- from teachers not encouraging university due to an 'outdated view', to parents and children viewing certain universities as 'not for us'.

A report suggests that many students are not aware of financial assisstance they may be eligible for, such as bursaries.

I would disagree in many cases however. Financially university can be a struggle for anyone. Choosing to go to University was a massive step for me, especially knowing that I would end up in huge amounts of debt. Parts of me much preferred the idea of getting a job straight away, just to avoid the debt. I'm not from a working class backgound, but I don't wish to gain financial help from my parents to see me through (nor do they wish to give me a huge amount of money I'd imagine).

I think that the Governments' concern with discrimination has led them slightly away from the true problem. There may be an under-representation of students from working class backgrounds. But the truth is, students from all backgrounds can feel the financial strain of higher education. There cannot be an assumption that students will gain financial assistance from anywhere other than their loans. Until the Government addresses the problems and concerns linked with student fees for all students, many people may look at alternatives to higher education.

1 comment:

Alex said...

I definitely agree with your last paragraph. I am completely aware of loads of bursaries which I don't qualify for!! I have to support myself and therefore have to work, which it could be argued detracts from my studies. Luckily StudentGems has enabled me to find well paid, convenient work :-)