Mercy Muroki: It's high time universities were penalised for ripping off students, and ripping off the taxpayer

England's universities regulator has said it will start sanctioning universities who offer poor quality university and college courses.

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England's universities regulator has said it will start sanctioning universities who offer poor quality university and college courses.

The Office for Students says it's going to take a more 'robust' approach by fining and withdrawing funding from institutions that don't meet the thresholds for things such as student drop outs and graduate employment rates.

For instance, Unis and colleges could be sanctioned if more than 20% of its students drop out after the first year.

Or if fewer than 60% of its graduates go on to work in skilled employment. Now, according to estimates, more than 60,000 full-time and 150,000 part-time students are currently studying at English institutions which would not meet these sorts of thresholds.

My view is that this this is ABSOLUTELY right and, actually: completely overdue. £20 billion of taxpayer money is loaned to students each year in England.

The value of outstanding loans is currently £160 billion. And, according to the government's own calculations, students will owe over half a TRILLION – yes trillion – pounds to the government by the middle of this century.

To make it worse, the government expects that 75% of current full time students will never even repay their loans in full.

So, in theory, the taxpayer ends up footing at least some of the bill for two thirds of students who go to university. With only a quarter ending up actually fully funding it out of their own pocket.

So, given that that's the way things are currently set up, I think the taxpayer has EVERY right to demand that when public money is loaned out to students, it's delivering value for money.

That students aren't graduating with third-rate degrees and going into jobs they'll never make a proper earning out of.

It's ALSO completely right that students be discouraged from going to universities which offer poor quality courses, which are often completely pointless.

I looked at the outstanding balance of my own student loan just this morning. I've already repaid about 10 grands worth since I graduated but even then, as of this morning, I still owe a total of £69,337.

What kind of sadistic lunatic would burden themselves with that kind of debt for some bogus, low-grade, degree they'll probably never make any use out of at some second-rate university?

It's madness. Poor quality courses benefit no-one, and it's high time universities were penalised for ripping off students off, and ripping off the taxpayer