“Tuition fee rise could boost our college” – quite beyond the point

Being on the other side of the wagon, I tend not to think the pro-cuts, pro-student-fee-increase lot have a leg to stand on with their sums, but of course there are to every argument good and bad.

The following example, from tonight’s Basildon Echo, represents the bad, nay, utter nutbag daft corner. The article is titled ‘Tuition fee rise could boost our college’ and is an interview with the principal of my old college which I left 6 years ago. I’ll fisk as appropriate.

On the subject of “riots in central London, MPs quitting frontbench positions and an attack on the royal car”:

These incidents … dominated the news agenda towards the end of last year and attracted a lot of criticism.

I ought to point out for reference, this particular paper, with its award-wnning estate agent turned journalist Jon Austin, spends most of its time waxing hysterical about the local travellers. It didn’t cause too much fuss about the election of the Tory MP Stephen Metcalfe, who when I emailed to ask him, in vain, to vote against tuition fee rises, replied – in short – no! In short, the paper will probably make no bones about stating all the criticism without the amount of PRAISE the students received.

Jan Hodges, college principal and cheif executive, said higher university tuition fees mean more people may choose to study locally.

Surely the only logic here is that people will not be able to afford to move out, which while this may be a good guess, is pulled straight out of the wind. Also, it’s rather perverse; the notion that your poverty could keep you in Southend will not be pleasing anybody.

In her, slight, defense, Hodges is quoted as saying:

The increase is not a good thing, but it might be something we capitalise on.

Do we suspect Ms Hodges isn’t taking this, backdoor creeping financial exclusivity seriously? She goes on:

It might be the case the tuition fees increase means people look to study locally instead of at university – the local education offer is a strong one.

Is that really the two alternatives? Does this even make sense? At this stage I wonder whether Hodges actually said this, or whether the journalist was making shit up. To draw a serious comment from this, is it good to keep local people taking up local education? From her perspective shouldn’t it be about retaining numbers? Instead of making inglorious attempts to address how the fee rises could help benefit college – which really is contestable – would it not be better to address how bad the fee rises are generally? As old wisdom will tell you, if you have nothing sensible to say keep your trap shut – so what if the local education offer is a strong one if, in her words, “the increase is not  a good thing”.

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