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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 February 2007, 18:44 GMT
Your views on university degrees
BBC education correspondent Mike Baker discussed statistics which show the number of applications to UK universities are up by 6.4% this year.

As usual we invited your thoughts too. Here is a selection of the responses.

Having read this article and as an A-level student applying to university this year I think that emigration is the only way forward, escape the EU, high taxes, and impossible housing ladder.
Jeremy Dykes, Ulverston, Cumbria

I'm a student entering university next September but I'm not just going for the fact that I'll get a better job but i actually want to study!! I have to admit that i applied to two Scottish universities because there weren't any tuition fees, or at least they are less than England and money is an issue! I think this guy raises a really good point that myself and my peers are going to have to pay out a heck of a lot more in trying to be responsible for ourselves and others in our country- i have no idea how we'll do it. We will also have to deal with increased effects global warming and increased terrorism, and so many other problems- will some adults just get it right so that we can have less to deal with?!
Anon, Holland-on-sea, UK

The only growth industry in this country is the financial services industry which is set to do very well out of all the debt repayments it will recoup out of graduates in the present and future. Is this the real reason the Government is intent on forcing so many young people onto the treadmill of higher education when in reality they might be better off going straight into work from school?
Dave Sommerville, Haverfordwest, Wales

"That is not so big a gain when spread over a 40-year working career." Isn't it going to be more like 50 years by the time we're allowed to retire?
Macclesfield, Cheshire

I am at university at the moment and i really don't agree on how uni courses were free 20-30yrs ago. Why shouldn't we pay for our education? We are safeguarding our future by spending money on our education and getting the rewards through bigger wages later. It's all a choice.
Joseph Dawson, Taunton, Somerset

I work at a university as a senior lecturer and I lie to parents at open days to encourage their children to attend our institution. Twenty years ago only the most able students went to university. People grew up watching the privileged few graduating, getting the best jobs, and earning the most money - these people now have similar aspirations for their own children. However, university does not make you smart - so now our system is conning tuition fees out of our already impoverished youth. Encouraging lower and lower ability youngsters into higher education with the promise it will make them smarter and richer. It won't. Further, universities are now being forced to pass these students for fear of loosing these fees. As a result, the value has a degree has fallen to an all time low, as has the ability of those graduating.
Anonymous, Lincoln

This rather depresses me, I'm going through university interviews at the moment and the thought that i will be spending all this money for my education and then not receiving much of a benefit is frankly quite scary! It never occurred to me that after all the training i will do at uni, i may finish then not be able to get a job, if this happens, what actually is the point of higher education?
Abi Mitchell, Chippenham, UK

400,000 for graduates over 40 years = 10k per year. When you consider that most of this premium will be taxed at 40% and earnings related pension contributions will eat a bit more then we are looking at 100 per week. A decent differential but one that can easily be matched by anyone who cares to work a bit harder in their non-degree job. Indeed as "artisans" - plumbers, carpenters, electricians etc. become more scarce it is probable that having a degree won't make any difference at all.
Roger Huffadine, Worcester United Kingdom

Having graduated in 2006 I have found myself working in poorly paid jobs such as administration and call centres. I have a Law and Sociology degree and over 13,000 of debt. I feel as though my degree will not benefit me for a few years and now I need to spend this time gaining valuable experience that I feel I could have done having not attended university. I still feel as though university was a good experience but I would recommend an academic degree to anyone who is funding there own way through university and is not sure exactly what they want to do.
Donna Hamilton, Bristol

Admissions will probably continue to grow because the way university has been marketed. Firstly it's marketed as a rites of passage and growing up experience that is "vital" to the transition of moving away from home and getting a "decent" job. Secondly it's marketed as you can buy into the idea of getting a better job. Thirdly, many people who have been at school for years are institutionalised and very impressionable so there will always be a lot that just drift into it and the bigger percentage that go to university the bigger this group will become.
Paul, York, UK

Disappointed the piece didn't touch upon the state of science in this picture. Should it be applauded and cheered that the number of people studying travel and tourism is up 30%? What about the levels of study in Physics, Chemistry and Maths? One would presume they are where the "knowledge economy" of the future is going to sprout from, not a barrel load of semi-meaningless degree subjects which tell me absolutely nothing about what that prospective employee knows or has done.
Gordon, Stranraer, Scotland

I was at university in the '80s before tuition fees and the explosion in student numbers. I felt privileged to be one of the lucky ones to go and, bar the odd lazy character, my fellow students were bright and talented. I took a post grad a few years ago in my 30s. It couldn't have been more different. Most students were unable to write or speak coherently or think independently even though they already had first degrees. My point - rise in student population has devalued the university experience. University should provide rigorous learning for the most able. We could state fund it if only we kept numbers down and stopped seeing it as a mass processing plant for all under 30s with even a modicum of intelligence. We should steer more people towards alternative learning such as apprenticeships, and let universities do what they do best - educating our finest minds.
L Wright, London

But who trusts predictions that the number of unskilled jobs will shrink? The unpredicted surge of eastern European immigrants is largely to meet the demands of the unskilled labour market, which we were presumably failing to satisfy.
Nigel Dyer, UK

This is a simple consequence of the government's decision to send as many people into higher education as possible. The burden of education is passed from employers to students (assuming that the degree is not simply used a demonstration that the student can apply themselves and think, as my own Maths degree), and anyone who chooses NOT to burden themselves with the debt risks being branded "inferior" to someone who spent three years drinking and came out with a sociology degree. Not good, really.
Andrew, Southend

23,431? A first class degree and PhD (neuroscience) from Cambridge and despite my best efforts I'm only on 12,500. There's no point in promoting tertiary education if there are no jobs to be had at the end of it. If I'd known it 10 years ago I could have saved myself an awful lot of time, effort and cash and not bothered.
R Nicholson, Glasgow, UK






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