As an undergrad about to embark on a year abroad, I was gobsmacked to recently discover that international students are being disgracefully overcharged by sneaky banks for transferring money abroad. Yes, apparently the average undergrad paying £9,000 per year ends up paying £335 in hidden bank charges.
The answer might be a master's degree. An extra year of specialist study to rack up your employability sounds to the uninitiated like a bomb proof idea. The problem is the cost. While students have spent the last three years protesting about undergraduate fees the issue of master's fees has gone unchallenged.
Without wishing to announce, piously, I told you so: 14 years ago I railed against the Blair government's introduction of student loans in 1998. I said then that student loans would do more harm to the fabric of our society than the reintroduction of capital punishment. Sadly, it's still true.
The average person making an early repayment is aged 25 and earns less than £20,000 a year. The average repayment is £900. These people repay because they don't like being in debt. Once in a while they find that they have £500 or £1000 spare and decide to pay off some of their student debt. To penalise these people would be bizarre.
The BBC's new adaptation of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations rolled across our screens this Christmas, portraying the struggle of young Pip as he made his way in a turbulent Victorian world.' A story of the past' you say, ancient cultural history... but Pip's plight is apparently not so far from reality in 2012.
David Willetts has an opinion on what the idea of the university is, but when he agreed to come and share this view at Cambridge University, he was denied the chance to speak. Within seconds of stepping up to the podium, Willetts was met with an angry mass counter-speech from Cambridge Defend Education.