Sunday, 26 July 2015

Dear Children re: The Cost of Your Education

I tell my children they can do anything with their lives. If they believe it they can achieve it. I tell them that nothing can stop them. That they can reach for the stars. Race, gender, differences - forget all of that. You can do it girls. Work hard and whatever you want in life you can achieve.

However, I am struggling at the moment.

There is one big barrier to their dreams. MONEY. It seems now that education is a privilege and not a right.

Present day - fees are around £9,000 per year and rising. We simply can not afford it. Our children will have to get loans. So this is a letter to my children about this.

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Dear Emily, Alice, Rosie,

I'm sorry that we live in a world where you will be in debt before you start your career. We will do everything we can to help you but it is entirely unrealistic that we will be able to even put a dent in these fees for you.

You are our children. These are your dreams. We love you so much.

Alice  - you want to be a vet. You are only three. You like animals, cheese and watching people on Youtube opening surprise eggs. But you still have your dreams. You might like to take care of animals, perform life-saving operations and engage in veterinary research.

Alice as a Senior Vet!
To be a vet is a very hard job. You have to train for five years. At £9,000 per year.  You may have to get a maintenance loan for food and other essentials. I'm going to use the figure of £5,000 per year for this. You may have to get a part time job as well, or live with us.

Tuition Fees Loan: £45,000
Maintenance Loan: £25,000
Estimated Debt: £70,000

Rosie - you are two. You love The Tiger Who Came to Tea and from a young age you've loved to "read" my books. Maybe you would like to be a history academic, lecture and write papers, embark on world-leading research.

Rosie - the aspiring world-leading academic!
For this you would need a History degree. £9,000 x 3 = £27,000. Then some sort of post-graduate qualification such as an MA, which is now around £6,000, but these fees are all due to rise "in line with inflation" but incidentally the point at which you pay back these loans (earning over £21,000 has not risen.) But I digress. You will also need a PhD, so again, more money needed.

Undergraduate Tuition Fees: £27,000 (3 years)
Post-Graduate Masters Tuition Fees: £6,000 (1 year)
Post-Graduate PhD Fees: £12,000 (3 years)
Maintenance Loans: £30,000
Estimated Total Debt: £75,000


Emily - you are eleven, nearly twelve. You like to play Minecraft and watch Coronation Street and Hollyoaks, you also eat me out of house and home at the moment. You quite like the idea of being a teacher, like your dad. You prefer humanities as a subject and I am sure you would do your very best to become a high-achiever in this field.

Emily as "Sir"
You might do a degree in Geography and eventually teach at a state school. You would not just teach Geography, you would teach children to better their own lives, as a mentor and a role model. I am sure you would do a brilliant job, with all the right training and encouragement. And money, of course.

Tuition Fees: £27,000 (3 years)
PGCE - Teacher Training £9,000 (1 year)
Maintenance Loan: £20,000
Estimated Total Debt: £56,000

Kids... I'm sorry that we live in a world like this.

I want to tell you that you can still achieve your dreams. I want to believe this.

I don't know what else to say.

We love you and will help where we can.

Mum xxx


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