What are tuition fees spent on?

Not sure I quite agree with the front page Guardian headline today: Tuition fees favour the rich – new study.

When you read the detail, it turns out that the Sutton Trust report is somewhat more nuanced than that. It isn’t the tuition fees policy alone that has lead to the current situation of declining participation rates in higher education for people of lower socio-economic backgrounds, it is a range of factors including the government’s failure to promote its own bursary schemes adequately. Nonetheless, it is ironic that the Labour government, which is so fond of using legislation to “send a signal” has done such a fantastic job at signalling to young people that higher education is not for them.

As a Manchester alumnus though, I have to wonder what tuition fees are being spent on. I have no particular axe to grind on behalf of Terry Eagleton, but forcing full time academics into retirement while at the same time paying celebrities £80,000 a year for 28 hours work for the prestige of giving him a professorship does not exactly scream value for money. Why on Earth would I want to respond to their regular begging letters? Couldn’t I just buy one of the fucker’s paperbacks?

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