Leaving aside the question of whether we really need 50% of our young going to higher education, let us ask whether there is any alternative to making people pay for higher education.
Students have said to me that the changes in tuition fees did make them consider the prospect of heading off to university a little more carefully, but it is clear from many that if they wanted to head to higher education to study a certain course or work towards a particular career, then finance would not be a factor in deterring them
It seems that the brief resurgence of student activism has disappeared as soon as it arrived. While the Northern Ireland Education Maintenance Allowance and nursing bursaries are slashed away, we hear absolutely nothing from the students' unions and just words from NUS-USI.
With increased fees now a reality, it is necessary to change the terms of the debate by looking beyond whether this is the right funding model. Students being charged these amounts need to know how to make the most of an expensive degree.
The headline in Scotland has always been that we've kept tuition fees off the table, and there is no sign of the political winds changing that. But for NUS Scotland, putting money in students' pockets to keep them in education has always been of just as much importance as fighting tuition fees.
As the annual debacle over A-level results begins, it is clear that one outcome will be fewer students going on to study in UK universities this year.
A recent report from the Independent Commission on Fees has shown that the increase in student tuition fees, which could see universities charge annual fees of up to £9,000 a year, has had a major effect on university applications.
The UK needs to be at the forefront of educating the global leaders of the future. We have some of the best universities in the world who need to be able to recruit the best and the brightest students. Sending out a signal that we don't want them here is hugely damaging.
UCAS have argued however that the drop in numbers may be down to a higher proportion of people accepting places in the previous year. But they do admit that their report reveals that young people from more disadvantaged areas and backgrounds will be almost three times less likely to apply to university compared to richer peers.
The brightest minds are now asking not how their studies might enlighten them, or how the accumulation of knowledge might benefit humanity; but instead they are asking how it will help them find a job, or how it will aid them in paying off their swelling debts.
Finding what career path they want to follow is not a function of age; it is a function of the time and effort they invest. It is crucial that young people get the general direction right before they apply to university.
We really don't want this generation to end up with big debts around their necks and jobs they don't enjoy. We need to provide them with the tools and the confidence to make informed decisions that will get them off to a good start.
Higher Education is in the midst of a major transition, and universities (especially modern universities) are working hard to adapt by developing new business models.
The Coalition government has done something special with Higher Education. It's time to look for a new system to fund our universities. A graduate tax is the only viable option.
Over my two years as a Sabbatical at City College Norwich, I have worked closely with all these groups (and a few more you haven't mentioned) to make sure they are getting as much out of their Students' Union as possible. (Although I must add CCN doesn't have any post-grads). We are also one of the first Students' Unions to have a full time sabbatical Apprentice as our Deputy President.
22% of the first cohort for the New College of Humanities (NCH) will hail from state school backgrounds, a number far lower than any other UK university. The new private college offers degrees conferred by the University of London in English, history, philosophy, economics and law. All for the unreasonable price tag of £18,000. Per year.