Exeposé News Issue 631, Page 5 (24 November 2014) and Exeposé News online (24 November 2014) – collaboration with News Co-editor Emily Leahy
An Exeposé survey of Exeter students’ engagement with the recent ‘Free Education’ demonstration found that 60 per cent of students believe education should be free.
One student favouring free education commented: “Because there are many intelligent and ambitious people who are unable to apply, or discouraged from applying to university, it still has the stigma of a “middle-class institution.” A university education should be based on intellect and work ethic, rather than wealth and status.”
In a sample of 114 students, the survey also found that 54 per cent strongly supported the demonstration, with 16 per cent disagreeing/strongly disagreeing and 14 per cent indifferent to the event.
Another student supporting the demonstration remarked: “the b******s are putting me in more debt in two years than a medic in four years would have been before the change!” Another argued: “Tuition shouldn’t be free – why should taxpayers have to fund my university degree? It’s my choice, I’ll therefore pay for it.”
Despite the support for the event, only five per cent of those surveyed believed the demonstration would lead to the abolition of tuition fees and an overwhelming 95 per cent believed it would not.
pie chart 1A student said: “Student fees are needed. It is a naïve view to think that all university education should be free. Clearly up to the age of 18 education should be free- but I see no use in forcing government cuts elsewhere just so even more students can go to university. If you genuinely have money problems then grants and special consideration is available.”
When asked if they thought the demonstration could lead to further action, 57 per cent said they thought it would and a further 63 per cent said they would have participated in a similar event if it were to be held in Exeter.