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Are universities worth it?

Students starting university courses this autumn can expect to graduate owing £23,000, a survey suggests. Is university worth it?

The Push Student Debt Survey of 2,024 students at varying stages of degree courses found debts averaged more than £5,000 a year and that this was rising – except in Scotland, where the government pays tuition fees.

However, the government said it was spending £5bn this year on student support and that it was committed to ensuring cost was not a barrier to any student going to university, whatever their background.

How much is too much to pay for a degree? How should university costs be paid? Are you a student facing growing debts? Are money worries affecting your studies? Or has the cost put you off university?

Read the full story

Are you waiting to get your A-Level results before deciding whether to go to university? We'd like to hear your plans for the future.

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Published: Tuesday, 18 August, 2009, 08:54 GMT 09:54 UK

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Added: Thursday, 20 August, 2009, 09:56 GMT 10:56 UK

I'm 24 and am just finishing up my OU degree and it will have taken 3 years, the same as a normal UG degree.I've worked full time with a part time job on the side,as well as volunteering and maintaining a social life.
A degree is vitally important for jobs today, all those saying that they only have GCSE's & have high paid jobs are not having to start fresh -you need a degree or significant experience to break £20k.For those who slate arts subjects - someone has to teach them to young people!

Julia Haden, Netherton, United Kingdom

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Added: Thursday, 20 August, 2009, 09:49 GMT 10:49 UK

£23,000 - but not in Scotland.

This government, headed by Scots, have really played the race card!

[chiptheduck], England, a suburb of Brussels

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Added: Thursday, 20 August, 2009, 09:47 GMT 10:47 UK

YES, if they promote worthwhile subjects like maths and the sciences (that does NOT include social science!).

I'm doing a post grad diploma in a social science field (on top of a full time job). The final 2 years of the diploma involve work in the field - the qualification can't be achieved by study alone. Social Science isn't an umbrella term for all modern degrees not leading to relevent work -some are specific prerequisites for your chosen career & sometimes have to be done to stay in work

Em, Herts

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Added: Thursday, 20 August, 2009, 09:38 GMT 10:38 UK

Depends on what you are after.

I notice a big difference between my friends who have been to university and those who haven't, in terms of openess to new things, and a more generally outward-looking mentality. University is fantastic for expanding horizons, and opening people to new ideas, which my friends who went straight to work have not always had the time or chance to experience, and they are all the poorer for it, both as private individuals and citizens.

Tim, London

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Added: Thursday, 20 August, 2009, 09:37 GMT 10:37 UK

If you want to go to Uni, you should pay for it. Simple as. There are lots of people for whom University was not an option, for a variety of reasons
Becky, Arbroath
There is a lot of things I pay taxes for yet don't benefit from, like those who can't be bothered to find a job and will sponge of the state. I would rather fund a student to do a degree that shows some motivation than those who I fund to do nothing

James, Reading

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Added: Thursday, 20 August, 2009, 09:37 GMT 10:37 UK

Quite clearly is is only worth going to university if:

- It is a highly regarded university or institution
- The subject of study is fairly conventional and leads to a reasonable prospect of employment.
- You are of a high level of intelligence i.e good academic results.

Of course I would recommend dissolving the bottom half of all universities in the UK, and use the money saved to subsidize free tuition for the students who go to the top universities.

Sane person, Obvious Land

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Added: Thursday, 20 August, 2009, 09:31 GMT 10:31 UK

I have two degrees, (graduated from last one in 2004) and am honest enough to admit I think it's all a money making sham.

My GCSE's were more difficult than my degrees. I went to Uni at 24 years old and left school in 1993, before all these new school policies were introduced, I don't beleive kids are getting a proper education these days, and A-Levels through to University is all just a money train for the Universities and big-wigs in Acedemia.

Richard Adams, Oxford, United Kingdom

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Added: Thursday, 20 August, 2009, 09:29 GMT 10:29 UK

University is a great source of leaders, all our politicos benefited from its largess when there were state grants. As they said a degree (real not modern non-subject) increases earning potential.

Therefore they decided to charge those who would benefit, a certain logic, but only if they charged those who had already benefited.

Sorry that is a daft idea that would be them that had to pay.

Confusus Theytry, WALES, United Kingdom

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Added: Thursday, 20 August, 2009, 09:28 GMT 10:28 UK

I have a friend doing a Masters in creative writing.
She has no debt because Mummy and Daddy pay for her.
She still can't spell or use grammar correctly.
[news_meister]

I know two qualified primary school teachers in their 20s; neither can spell, and one recently said the answer to 5x7 was 36! Her excuse was that she didn't know her 7x table... Maybe universities should have their own tests, then they could keep the numbers, and consequently fees, down.

[carolyne-kitty]

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Added: Thursday, 20 August, 2009, 09:20 GMT 10:20 UK

University is definitely worth it!

Although I share the concerns of many about some of the subjects taught there, many jobs specify a 2:1 or above in ANY degree discipline.

Some employers may moan and say they'd prefer someone who has been working instead of being at university.

Good for them!

University isn't just about your course; it's also about the experience it gives you in terms of independence, social skills and self-discipline.

And the memories you make, of course.

[clint75]

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Added: Thursday, 20 August, 2009, 09:14 GMT 10:14 UK

Simply no. You may as well just go into work and work your way up. Most people I see who have been to University did not need to get a degree in what they are doing now.

University lowers the unemployment figures and creates a market in town and cities because these students obtain loans to spend a lot of money. Of course many people now get into debt even before they start work.

More jobs should be crested for engineers and builders rather than university places.

Steven, Daventry

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Added: Thursday, 20 August, 2009, 09:06 GMT 10:06 UK

I have known a number of graduates owing anything from a few thousand up to £50,000. It's sad to see that thanks to new labours policies, it is a real question now.. is it worth it? I'd have to also say, that most of the graduates I know didn't get anywhere near a graduate salary. We were told how important degrees were before university, then when we got a job interview, we were told how little they mean and asked to sign on the dotted line for a lot less than we'd been told to expect.

Chris Blount

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Added: Thursday, 20 August, 2009, 09:06 GMT 10:06 UK

One thing people forget is that University isn't just about grades and career prospects. It is a time when young, intellegent people get a chance to use their minds, discuss ideas, learn new things, see life from different perspectives. I notice the difference between people who did and didn't continue their education - those who embraced the oppertunity to learn are more interesting and know more. Those who went straight to work are often narrower and less interested in the world. Glad I went.

Alice W, Bristol, United Kingdom

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Added: Thursday, 20 August, 2009, 09:04 GMT 10:04 UK

most of our mp,,s went to uni all of the doctors/and most of our ,
solicitors ,i have to say ,having a vast experience of all of the above,
the out come of this being shody illinformed practice .
if all of the people were educated properly my life would have been
a lot easier:

pmose

PETER MOSE, YEOVIL, United Kingdom

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Added: Thursday, 20 August, 2009, 09:00 GMT 10:00 UK

The old system of univeristies and polys, degrees and diplomas etc was much more sensible. No - it's not worth it for many students.

alison mallaghan, France

I agree. I good Polytechnic or FE college had it's place. They were well respected and employers recognised their qualifications. There is too much academic snobbery now. People do these Mickey Mouse courses just to be seen to have a degree.

Carolyn, Edinburgh

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