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Are Studying at UK Universities Worth What We Pay?

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University education is an important part of becoming a successful adult, it is a vital component of human development throughout the world. It offers not only the required high-level skills for each field, but also the essential education for educators, doctors, nurses, civil servants, technicians, humanists, businessmen, researchers, social scientists, and a multitude of other personnel. It is these trained people who develop the capacities and analytical skills which drive local economies, promote civil society, teach children, lead successful governments, and make important decisions that impact entire communities. Higher education is so critical that we can get a job that can meet our needs and desires. Employers need a higher form of education that is necessary to advance our culture. There are not many employers that recognize high school graduates as their highest form of education. Employers are looking for people who know what they are doing, and so is our society. Without a college degree, getting a high paying job would be nearly impossible.

The cost of going to college has skyrocketed in recent years with radical changes in tuition fees. Unsurprisingly, it has led many students to doubt whether the advantages that a degree could offer are worth the enormous amount of debt that they will end up in. The average debt figures are making a bleak reading, but is the price still justifiable? In this essay we look at the arguments for and against obtaining a degree at such a cost.

It used to be free to go to school in the United Kingdom. Students were not charged for tuition fee until 1998, but even then, it cost only £ 1,000 a year throughout the UK. Various parts of the UK started to regulate themselves after that, and tuition fees now differs across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Tuition fees in England rose to £ 3,000 a year in 2004, and they rose again to £ 3,375 a year by the end of the decade. In 2012, the government’s total tuition fees for students by England and Wales shot up to £ 9,000 a year nearly double what they were. This amount was immediately charged by 64 colleges, with another 59 costing at least £ 6,000. This estimate can continue to rise in the future due to the number of rises in recent years. The situation is much better for students in other parts of the United Kingdom. The Scottish Government has completely abolished tuition fees for Scottish students that are attending Scottish universities. Tuition fees for Northern Ireland are capped at £ 3,465, but England students, who now have £ 9,000 annual tuition fees to compete with, face an alarming debt level as they graduate. At the June 2017 general election, tuition fees were a major policy point with Labor pledging to abolish them altogether. Introduced in 1998 at a cost of £ 1,000 per year under Tony Blair’s Labor, the issue came to a head in 2010 when the coalition’s LibDem partners voted to raise them. While most activists reject tuition fees, current universities are charging learners to study.

There are pros and cons to be weighed, as with any major decision, especially concerning higher education. Most people believe it is an important part of becoming a successful adult to get a college education. However, some people find it hard to justify the growing investment needed to earn a degree. This is the breakdown of tuition-fee college’s positive and negative aspects.

Positive Aspects


There is also a strong argument that university education should be free to ensure equal opportunities. This may dissuade students if they have to pay for university education. Theoretically, students may be able to take out loans or work part-time, but this may be enough to deter students from studying and may be able to enter the job market sooner.

Positive Externalities

University education generally provides society with some external benefits. Higher education results in a workforce that is more professional and productive. Countries with high rates of university education have higher levels of innovation and productivity growth in general. There is therefore a reason for higher education being subsidized by the government.

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Current Increase in Specialization of Work

The global economy has pushed countries like the United Kingdom to specialize in high-tech products and services with higher value added. Pharmaceutical, organic chemicals, optical and surgical devices, and nuclear technology are the largest export sectors in the UK. Therefore, there is a greater need for qualified students to apply to these high-tech industries. If more students can access university there will be a greater interest in these fields.

Negative Aspects

Will There Be Too Many Graduates?

The number of graduates has grown rapidly. But now a lot of graduates leave university to take jobs that don’t require a degree. Continuing to finance the public expansion of university education is therefore a risk because the economy does not need more students as much as other vocational skills.

Higher Quality of Education

The exponential increase in student numbers means that greater pressure is put on university resources. Because the government is struggling to increase real investment, there is a risk of higher education and research being depleted, allowing UK education to lag behind other nations. When universities are able to charge students, it will help to maintain standards, teaching quality and United Kingdom university reputation

Opportunity Cost

If the government spends millions on university education, there is a risk of higher taxes or less spending elsewhere. There is probably a greater social benefit from the introduction/ providing of vocational training.

Value Education More

You may argue that the interest would be more recognized, if people have to pay to go to college. When higher education is free, students may be able to relax.


In conclusion, whether you see college as a worthwhile cost or not, it may ultimately depend on what your career plans look like. University is a good investment for many students, whether they are financial, academic or personal, who seek a bachelor’s degree. University education is not just for students, but also for the different stratum of the country. Higher education provides learners with knowledge as well as opportunities to survive to livelihood, as it benefits both individuals and society as a whole. It is widely believed that as the world grows, the importance of university will continue to grow.

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Are Studying at UK Universities Worth What We Pay? (2022, October 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved January 29, 2023, from
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