Investing in young people for a strong economy in future

Portrait Of Female Student Standing Outside College Or University Building Wearing Face Mask During

South Devon College students are waiting for university offers - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

For any aspiring university student there is a terrifying, completely sickening four letter word. UCAS. 

Just as confusing as building the cardboard box for a home Covid-test kit, this is where you apply to your five choices, submit the even more hideous personal statement and log-in every two hours to check the status of your application. 

By now, all second years on A-levels at South Devon College have gone through this process and are impatiently waiting for university offers, or preparing for interviews, or have even accepted a university as their firm choice.

Tuition fees have risen since 2017, and this has particularly given way for a new debate among the pandemic. Students have been calling for financial leniency due to the disruption.

In a recent interview, Piers Morgan asked Michelle Donelan, Secretary of State for Universities: "Why should any student have to pay for accommodation costs if they’re not allowed to go and stay in the accommodation? It is the same principle as the furlough system."

Donelan responded with ‘we are not covering that cost’.

Very much starting to sound like a broken record, this column has highlighted the lack of support for students since last July. This would make any student question the future of university.

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For two schooling terms, lectures and seminar halls are folklore among freshers. Now the once-idolised experience has the same price tag to mere online courses.  

Branwen Jeffreys, BBC education editor, reported that vice-chancellors from seven universities say the interest on student loans in England should be scrapped for 15 months.

This period would cover the cost from the first lockdown until the upcoming summer.

Stating this would ease the pressure on graduates, the Government said it would alternatively  not help students as they were to announce additional funding.  

Donelan also commented on this, declaring the vice-chancellors' proposal would not ‘put cash into student’s pockets to support them during the pandemic’ and the Government’s priority was helping ‘those students most in need’.

Being a student myself, knowing both undergraduates, graduates and plugged into many online conversations, it is the majority who would benefit most from a hiatus rather than the minority which this quote very well suggests.

The Government has created some great policies in protecting small and big businesses alike and the economy is a priority among the entire political scale.

However, investing in young people and investing in the reputation of the government in future generations has everything to do with a strong economy. 

An extra £50 million has been announced for student hardship funds on top of an agreed £20 million from December. Not monopoly money but hopefully a means for improvement.