Last May I did not vote for the Conservatives. I’ll admit, I’m not the most politically oriented person and the only times I really pay attention are in the months preceding an election, but many of the Tories policies affect me (and others in the same positions as me) negatively. Give one of their most recent decisions, for example: to scrap the maintenance grant.
I do not receive this grant. My degree and my year abroad are covered only by loans, jobs, and parents who are generous enough to help me out when I need it. When I started thinking about applying to university in 2012, tuition fees were about to make their massive jump from £3000 to £9000 a year. A standard bachelors degree was about to cost three times more, and it made people very desperate to get into university that academic year. The news that August had a very heavy spotlight over results day, more specifically on those who did not manage to meet the conditions for their firm or insurance offers. I remember listening to one such interview on BBC Radio 4, about a girl who failed to get into biochemistry but had accepted a place on a finance course instead, at a university she hadn’t even considered applying to.
My first thought was why? Why would you give up on what you wanted to do just because of a rise in tuition fees? It’s not like it would directly affect your time at university, thanks to the relatively cushy loan offered by Student Finance. I was almost certainly influenced by the fact that I knew I’d have to pay the raised fee no matter what, and saw it as unfair that they even had the choice. I realise now that that was a very naive opinion. If my parents were unable to help me out, I’m not sure I would have been able to afford a degree. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to fund a year abroad and have all the amazing experiences I’m currently having, and would not be studying for a masters.
For those in the UK who do not have parents (or anyone else) who can help them out, the grant is a necessity to be able to afford to go to university. Getting rid of this will effectively cut them off from higher education completely, which in my books that is not on. This affects some of my closest friends, as if they not had this money available to them, I never would have met them. And as a quote I’ve seen batted about on social media a lot recently says: What if the cure for cancer is trapped in the mind of someone who cannot afford an education?
If you want to support the cause; you can sign the petition HERE. I don’t want to get all preachy on you, but as a country of almost 2 million undergraduate students, together we can make a difference. If you have any thoughts on this matter, I’d love to hear them in the comments below.
Until next time!