We’ve a fantastic primer here on talking points and style for getting people on board with the campaign. If you’re flyering, or just wanting to get your friends, colleagues, family and pets involved, give it a read. Hard copies of the flyers and this sheet will be available as ever from the Appleton Tower lobby.
We need to understand our audience – below are some ways to engage and convince people.
Be polite, make eye contact, and listen to them before choosing your argument.
For the self-interested
Emphasise family links – do they have a sibling who deserves the chance to go to uni?
Post-grad – useful because no one is sure of what they will do next. It will matter later.
Jobs – student support won’t last forever. More cuts means more competition for jobs.
For Scottish Nationalists- (“English cuts, won’t affect me”)
All budgets are being reduced, including the Scottish Parliament’s. Influencing the Scottish budget starts at UK level, that is where unpalatable spending plans are drawn up.
English unis will be funded through expensive tuition fees. If Scottish unis remain free but lose state funding, they will have less funding over all, and fall behind in the competitive education ‘marketplace’. Scottish unis will have to start charging fees. What happens in England happens here next.
Under the proposed changes in HE and FE, student fees will rise to between £7000 and £9000 annually. On average, it would take 29 years for a graduate earning £27,000 to pay off the £45,000 that they would owe.
Students who can afford to pay the new fees up front will save between £7000 and £15,000 over those who need to repay personally.
The cuts include an 80-100% cut in state funding for Humanities, Social Sciences and the Arts – heralding an end to state funded university education.
Don’t lose people by denying that any cuts need to be made. Emphasise that UK debt levels are lower than France, Germany, and Italy, and that while we owe 68% GDP in debt, we owed 52% GDP in 2008.
If someone says “I’m not saying that only the rich should get an education, but we can’t afford free education, so we need a new system”:
Young people and students did not cause this crisis. We oppose the attempt to increase tuition fees because it jeopardises our future. With the proposed increases it will cost up to £40,000 to do a degree, which will take the average student 29 years to repay. Disposable income will be reduced and society will be poorer. Deterring people from higher education will result in a less educated workforce in the future. Instead, a graduate tax would create, on average, £56,000 in profit for the economy through taxing graduate salaries. Graduates would pay for themselves with higher tax payments later in life.
Other cuts and measures should be taken first: Trident renewal costs £34 billion; there are 18 millionaires in the UK govt. cabinet; Vodafone owe £6 billion in unpaid tax (cuts UK wide are £4.2 billion); Lord Ashcroft, the Conservative Chairman, alone owes £3.4 million in tax. Corporate tax evasion and new business taxes, such as the Robin Hood tax, could cover the cost of public healthcare and education.
The vote in December is not about a deferred tax, it is about whether tuition fees can be increased to £9,000 a year. If you oppose this increase you should act. After we block the vote you can decide what to do instead. The only reason not to oppose the increase is if you agree with it.
The Social Impact of the proposed Tuition Fees
We do not know how banks and credit agencies will treat graduates with £45,000 debt.
The 30 year repayment period will hit mature students particularly hard – middle aged students retraining after going out of work (pretty likely in this crisis period) will end up replaying their loans into their retirement.
Arts and humanities teach us how society and economics work. In the future only richer students will get the chance to equip themselves with this. (Note how many cabinet members studies History, or Philosophy, Politics and Economics).
For arts students – A market based approach to education encourages unis to offer profitable courses, i.e. Law, science, medicine. Arts, though they are essential to critical thinking and ingenuity, are less directly profitable. They would disappear.
Political Arguments – most campaigners will be familiar with these arguments
The proposed fees and cuts have no democratic legitimacy – neither of the parties pushing them through won a majority and neither of them made these proposals at the election. The Browne Report was written by a Lord who made his fortune in Oil.
The politicians who are doing this all paid nothing for their degrees.
The proposed rise in tuition fees won’t cut the deficit and are ideologically motivated – they aim to end publicly funded undergraduate degrees and to move the costs and risks of education from the state onto the individual – business and society will still enjoy the benefits though. Rich individuals will fare better than everyone else, regardless of their actual level of intelligence or motivation.
Try comparing the US view of public services. Look at the difference between the US distrust of the NHS and how the UK values it. Look at how much more they pay in fees. We must protect the public services others have won for us, and for those after us. Arguments for taking away free education could equally apply to health care, but we reject, in UK, the idea of scrapping NHS because we find it unacceptable for someone’s health to be defined by money. The same goes for education. For downsides to cuts in general see Ireland.
Could you have paid £36,000 in fees? Should you? Should others?
Have you changed course? Fees would make it much harder to try something in order to decide whether you like it. No more second chances.
Channel 4 Fact Check on the proposed Tuition Fees
Social Market Foundation calculations on the costs to Graduates of the proposed Tuition Fees