A few days ago, Nick Clegg gave us his word that the government would absolutely not raise tuition fees to £16,000. In other words: it is a distinct possibility that higher education will be far from the reach of young people born outside the wealthy classes after 2015.
The idea of increasing tuition fees for the second time since 2012 is little short of ridiculous. With youth employment continuing to drag its feet and apprenticeships few and far between, higher education provides light at the end of an otherwise extremely bleak tunnel for many young men and women.
Paradoxically, the threat of an increase in tuition fees didn't seem too imposing until Clegg categorically denied it. This is for two reasons: firstly, as we saw in 2010, a Clegg 'promise' ought to be treated with similar suspicion as that of a conman with a compulsive lying disorder.
As I'm sure you remember, in order to secure the student vote, Clegg signed a petition declaring that - if the Liberal Democrats came to power - student fees would not go up. Students were initially relieved to see the Lib Dems make it into a coalition. Unfortunately, Clegg is a lying bastard and tuition fees duly tripled to £9,000.
Secondly, even if we believe that Clegg has a shred of dignity and sincerity, it doesn't matter a jot as his party won't be in power after 2015 meaning he won't have any say in changes to tuition fees.
While we hope history won't repeat itself, would we be that surprised if fees rose to £16,000? The answer saddens me. Even if you are forgiving enough to think Clegg wouldn't strike twice, his words of assurance (if I can call them that) indicate there have been significant discussions on the topic - most likely among millionaire Tories who still have every chance of winning the next election. The fact of the matter is that figures such as this don't emerge without foundation.
The very suggestion of an increase in fees is disappointing. It would provide just another example of the coalition's constant squeeze on spending, stifling Britain's youth.
One thing I can guarantee is that university is not worth £16,000 per year by any stretch. A standard three year course would cost you just shy of fifty grand before you even begin to consider the cost of living away from home. Add to this the sorry statistics that suggest your chances of securing a desired career straight from university are extremely slim, and it is tantamount to insanity.
If things carry on in this vain, our only opportunity to better our future prospects will be to match all six numbers. In fact, if you bought 50,000 lotto tickets instead, you would have a 1 in 280 chance of winning the jackpot - that's probably more likely than getting your dream job following university.
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