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Should University Tuition Fees Be Covered By A Corporation Tax Rise?

I’ve spoken frequently with my next door neighbour about his university tuition fees and how much of a financial burden they are on his lifestyle. It comes as no surprise to me therefore that the University and College Union (UCU) are proposing a rise in corporation taxes to fund all university tuition costs across the country.

The basis of their assumption is the 1997 Dearing report which said that businesses, individuals and the state should equally share the burden as they equally share the benefits of higher education. Much of their report covers the impact to larger UK organisations and how they benefit having graduate employees. There’s almost no mention of the impact to smaller business on having either a graduate workforce or the imposed higher corporation tax

I can understand the financial burden that students face. I was there myself once. It’s not easy having to balance bills, tuition fees, books, rent and other incidentals. But, isn’t a raise to corporation taxes just the easy way out? Once out of university, life is tough. Everyone has to face challenges with balancing their income and expenditure. Wouldn’t it be easier to learn these challenges younger and not be faced with them when getting a first job?

What of the small business owner who is not going to see many of these benefits of a highly trained workforce? A typical small business simply isn’t going to be able to take on a graduate to fill a role for which they then need to spend the time to get the graduate up to speed in the real world. Is it fair to be passing the costs of these graduates onto small businesses who most likely won’t be in a position to employ the graduates in the first place?

Surely, the main benefit of getting higher education is putting the individual in a better place amongst their peers so that they stand out and get a better opportunity at jobs. Having no tuition fees will simply encourage more people to undertake university degrees and therefore increase the pool of people from which employers can choose from. Isn’t this just a double edged sword being proposed for a problem which doesn’t need solving?


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