Even though it is students carrying placards and shouting slogans against the rise of the student fees, the money that pays their tuition is also coming from other people’s pockets: their parents’.
Pauline Kelly and Regina O’Sullivan both have children in college and university. With the rise of the student fees they fear that they might not be able to allow them have a university experience.
Two of Pauline’s three girls will not be immediately affected. One of them is already studying and the second daughter is going to enter university in 2011.
But Nicola, Pauline’s third daughter, might be facing a debt of over £ 30,000 when she decides to do what her sisters for much less money.
“The thought of her being in that debt is awful and scary,” Pauline says. “That is going to be a noose around her neck forever,” she adds worriedly.
But she will still allow Nicola to go. “We will make it really clear to her that she is going to be in an ridiculous amount of debt once she comes out,” is Pauline’s plan.
Pauline thinks that once her daughter Nicola realises that she will have to pay back much more than her sisters, she will feel ripped off.
Different strategies to avoid debt
Her friend Regina O’Sullivan has a different strategy that Pauline to avoid debt for her sons.
“My youngest son Thomas will be allowed to study, but I will strongly encourage him to study in London so we wouldn’t have to pay for housing,” is Regina’s reaction to the rising fees.
Both mothers think that third education is crucial nowadays. “Without a degree your application will just be trashed,” they believe. And of course they don’t want that for their children.
“If you have a child with ambitions, the fees is not going to stop them from wishing to go,” they both agree.
Regina is angry about the new conditions her son’s will have to face. “It is like a further punishment and burden for the working/ middle class – those who are keeping this economy going,” she says.
Other effects of the raise
She also believes that the raise will do the economy no good. She fears that the 2012 student generation will never be able to invest in things like property because of their debt.
Pauline is especially angry about the way the new fees are supposed to be introduced. “It is just wrong to raise the fees like that. It is greedy and hideous,” she thinks.
But she is also concerned about another issue: “This will put many people off. Not only from underprivileged families, but also from the middle class,” Pauline points out.
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