YCL Student Commission renews fight against tuition fees

Over the last few days, YCLers across the country have been out campaigning in support of students currently struggling under lockdown.

From Edinburgh and Glasgow to Cambridge and Brighton, with Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield in between, YCLers have been out campaigning and making their voices heard.

As the YCL’s Student Commission argued last month, “Rather than accepting lost profits or appealing to the government for support if needed, vice-chancellors instead decided to bring students from across the country, and beyond, into cramped accommodation in the middle of a pandemic.”

As the Coronavirus situation continues to worsen, and any chance of in-person teaching this year looks less likely, the YCL renews its support for the fight against tuition fees.

The YCL has long called for the abolition of tuition fees in England and Wales, and in times like these, it is becoming more apparent that these fees have less and less to do with the quality of education being delivered.

So we call on students to take a stand, and question what we are being offered. We are sick of paying £9000 for less and less year on year. Students across the country who have just left school have seen their exams cancelled, and their education put at risk, yet many are still paying in excess of £15k a year for tuition and rent.

We understand that face-to-face teaching is not safe, and categorically support the work of the UCU and other university unions in campaigning against it. However, we question where these exorbitant fees end up, particularly as so many casual, and contractual staff have been cut by universities and nearly all teaching has been carried out via Zoom.

In addition, while some universities have reimbursed student rent, it is clear that the decision to welcome students back into halls was made purely on the basis of profit. And yet, no one has faced any consequences for putting the lives of thousands of students at risk.

Even worse than this, the only people seemingly forced to face any consequences are the very same students who were crammed into university accommodation despite having no classes on campus.

We demand more than a simple Panorama documentary highlighting the failures of those in charge. We demand accountability for those responsible, and will not accept the blame. More than this, we are sick of paying ridiculous fees when teaching staff and others are continually hounded by university heads.

In Scotland, whilst Scottish students don’t have to pay fees, the Covid situation remains severe as outbreaks have been reported in nearly every university town. Despite this, the Scottish Government has failed to acknowledge their role in allowing universities to bring students back into halls.

In colleges, the situation appears even more bleak as hundreds of thousands of places have been cut over the last decade. The current crisis only serves to exacerbate these issues. For so many working class young people, FE Colleges represent a crucial educational lifeline. As we enter into a second recession in little over ten years, these lost places represent even further attacks on working class communities.

If you are interested in joining the fight for free and fair tuition today, then join the YCL.

If you are sick of paying exorbitant rent and unreasonable fees, then join the YCL.

YCL Student Commission

See below for downloads of the various poster designs available to all.