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Students feel the weight of tuition hike

By River Reporter Oct 3, 2013

Students work harder after the tuition hike, a survey suggests.

Students paying £9,000 tuition fees are racking their brains to earn a first class degree instead of adopting the stereotypical social life that their counterparts under the lower-fee scheme lead, a new survey suggests.

The results, which were revealed by the National Student Housing Survey 2013, included more than 20,000 replies from students in the UK between February and May this year.

“At first I didn’t really want to go to the university because of the fees. It is kind of daunting being in so much debt, but I think it is still beneficial coming here and getting a degree so that you can get a job within something you enjoy and hopefully something that will pay enough money so that you’re able to pay it off,” said first year nutrition student Jake Bell.

He admitted that the increased tuition fees made him think twice before applying to Kingston.

“Originally it put me off quite a bit, but I think you just have to think past it and think more into the future and what you’re going to gain from university rather than just the debt itself,” said Mr Bell.

Less play, more work

Only 54 per cent of the polled students said they enjoyed socialising in their accommodation, compared with 62 per cent the year before.

“I want to get my money’s worth. I’m making sure to go to everything that is available and I suppose I am working harder,” said Fine Art student Jasmine Cliff.

“It’s such a large amount of money, it’s three times the amount that is was before, so you have to be so sure and definite that that’s what you want to do. It just makes a lot more impact, I guess, in your life,” Ms Cliff said.

Weak sense of community belonging

Furthermore, just 36 per cent of the polled students said there was a strong sense of community among students – down from 43 per cent last year, the Times Higher Education reported.

However, several of the students The River spoke to pointed out that the marks they achieve during the first year do not count towards their final degree. One of them was first year English language and communications student Harriet Bridewell, who said that socialising was still one of the main aspects of her university life.

“Since the marks we get now don’t count towards our final degree I don’t really sacrifice my social life for good marks. But from next year I will definitely start studying harder,” said Ms Bridewell.

Higher individual investment

Mr Bell said that going to university was a long-term investment, and that getting a degree was practically necessary in order to enter the workforce with a solid foundation. And the fresher plans to make the most of his time at Kingston.

“When we first came to an open day here someone was saying ‘if you’re paying nine grand a year here, think about how much you’re paying per lecture.’ If you don’t turn up you’re basically fumbling away money, which for me, I found that you definitely want to be there even more.”

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