Universities should be open to all

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EVERYONE should have the opportunity to go to university.

I was lucky, I went in 2004 before the government decided on a massive hike on tuition fees.

I had decided years before that was the path I wanted to choose with my education and I knew the amount of debt I would accumulate in doing so.

Thankfully I’m in a job where I have begun to pay that debt off now but some people are not even being given that chance.

University applications have fallen by 9.9 per cent across England and 462,507 people in total, across the whole of the UK, have applied for courses beginning in September.

That is a drop of 43,881 applicants from the previous year and the percentage drop in England has been linked to the massive tuition fee hike that will be introduced in the autumn.

Students should not be priced out of following their dreams.

When I was in secondary school I mapped out the path I wanted to follow in terms of my education, knowing that the end result was wanting to be a journalist.

I studied hard, not as hard as I should have maybe, but I decided on going to sixth form. I opted to study media, English language and geography before going to university.

If I had been priced out of going on to further education then I might not have been able to get my job here and that’s the point I’m making.

There are people out there who are exceedingly clever but will be put off of going to university because they can’t afford the crippling debt they will be saddled with after their course.

And that’s not fair. It shouldn’t be the case that perfectly good students are choosing to shun university because they can’t afford to go.

I don’t come from a wealthy family so if the tuition fees were as high then as they are now I would not have been able to go.

My student debts are quite high but at least I was given the chance to firstly accumulate them but then get a job that would help me pay them off again.

I hope in the future the fees return to a more acceptable level because if the UK is going to pull itself out of the financial mire then we will need a more skilled workforce to aid it.

And with less people gaining degrees that may also be on the decline.

It’s difficult to measure the impact that a lack of skilled workers could have on the future economy but on paper we could soon be suffering.

University may be viewed by some as three years of partying and drinking but I treated it as a necessity: something that needed to be done to aid my future career.

But what will happen if that necessity is taken away?