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< Back to question Should UK students be charged university fees? Show more Show less

Just over twenty years ago, higher education was free in the UK for any student who secured a place on a university course. Flash forward to today and students graduate with an average debt of £50,000. Critics claim this is wildly unfair and inhibits social mobility. Others claim that high fees improve equality. With both sides aiming to reduce inequality, why do the positions on implementing fees and reducing grants contradict each other?

Yes, the UK should charge for access to its higher education institutions. Show more Show less

Others believe that charging for education is the only certain way we can guarantee a constant source of funding for universities, and that it is fairer to only charge those who use the service for accessing it.
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Charging students is the fairest way to fund universities.

Charging students means that those who don't benefit from higher education don't have to pay for it.
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The average female graduate will earn, in her lifetime, £250,000 more than a peer who does not go to university. As a result, she should help fund higher education, rather than the lesser-paid peer [1].

The Argument

In the current system, only the students who go to uni, and thus reap the financial and social advantages, are the ones who pay for it. It would be unfair for those in manual, lesser-paid jobs to pay for this service through taxation, seeing as they get no gain from it. Furthermore, as the students will benefit from the research done in their department, it is only fair to ask them to help contribute to the work done there.

Counter arguments

The argument that not only the student benefits is countered by the 'public good' debate. Return to the main argument page to view this.


P1. Those who benefit most from higher education ought to pay for it. P2. Ergo, the student should pay for higher education.

Rejecting the premises

Rejecting P1. It is not only the student that benefits.



This page was last edited on Tuesday, 14 Jan 2020 at 09:02 UTC

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