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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 February 2008

Universities in crisis

Fees favour the rich

Exeter Socialist Students organised a protest outside the office of the university vice-chancellor, photo Exeter Socialist Students

Exeter Socialist Students organised a protest outside the office of the university vice-chancellor, photo Exeter Socialist Students

SURPRISE, SURPRISE! A new study by the Sutton Trust charity shows that the university fees system favours the rich and those who attend private school.

Matt Dobson, Socialist Students national organiser

The government last week were hoping to be able to point to the 6.7% rise in university application figures in 2008, but the facts in this report are a damning indictment of New Labour's two-tier higher education system, where a debt-free, stress-free university experience is a privilege for the rich.

The rise in university applications is not proof that university is becoming more affordable. It remains to be seen whether a rise in applications will turn into a rise in admissions.

And, as the Sutton Trust study shows, these figures reflect the aspirations of many to learn and have the benefits of university but not the full reality of the financial difficulties involved.

Financial anxiety

One in four 18-24 year olds writes off going to university. The Sutton study reveals that nearly two-thirds of these young people cited financial anxiety as their reason for not applying.

Cardiff Socialist Students campaign, photo Dave Reid

Cardiff Socialist Students campaign, photo Dave Reid

University is supposed to be a chance for young people to expand their horizons in knowledge and learning and leave home to live in a new town or city.

The Sutton report shows that students from homes with an annual income below 35,000 were more likely to consider a local university. Some 72% of those who were planning to live at home did so because they wanted to minimise their debts.

Many students are saying enough is enough. The 21 February Campaign to Defeat Fees day of action will see students in universities and colleges across the country protesting against fees.

This shows a glimpse of what is possible if a mass campaign based on mass action was built, linking up workers and students to force the government to scrap fees and to fight for free, publicly funded, good quality education for all.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 20 February 2008:

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Socialist Students

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Exeter students fight privatisation

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International socialist news and analysis

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Related links:

Fees:

triangleNorth London Socialist Party: How can Corbyn's policies be implemented?

triangleStudents and workers unite against fees, low pay climate change

triangleTheresa May admits tuition fees system is broken - but plans new attacks on students

triangleTop unis threaten cuts if tuition fees

triangleSocialist Students LJMU victory

Rich:

triangleNationalise to save jobs threatened by Covid-19 and downturn

triangleImmigration: For a system that meets the needs of the majority, not a rich elite

triangleThe rich fund the Tories and Blairites, so help fund the working-class fightback

triangleThem & Us

Universities:

triangleUni strike takes fight to bosses

triangleYork freshers success

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Students:

triangleSocialist Students speaking tour

triangleNottingham uni occupation ends

Socialist Students:

triangleTory student plot defeated at Cardiff uni

Campaign to Defeat Fees:

triangleWilletts approves tuition fees hike

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