Having agreed to go face-to-face with students for the first time since shafting them, Nick Clegg’s medicine seems to have been sweetened by the BBC conveniently omitting the bad bits from their online coverage.

The one-minute embeddable video includes Clegg’s platitudes on accessibility — roundly ignored by some universities planning to charge the full £9,000 — but key quotes from students didn’t make the cut:

“You completely sold out your principles.”

“You’re either stupid, mad or malicious.”

Here’s an extended version broadcast on BBC News:

This latest TV outing brings to mind future possibilities for the formerly mediagenic Lib Dem leader.

Clegg is ripe for an edition of The Apprentice selling snow to Eskimos.

  1. He looked mega pissed off when leaving, his face was that of someone who’d lost their pen while having a bout of thought, then finding a pen, then forgeting the thought.

  2. I’m no fan of Nick Clegg but this system is as progressive as they come, it has all the characteristics of the graduate tax apart from the fact that, to the best of my knowledge, a graduate tax is a permanent levy paid up until retirement (so much for “years of paying off debt“). The only people that will pay off all their tuition fees will be the rich.

  3. There is a genuine debate to be had about the incoming system, whether it does enough to support the poorest through university. This will not be resolved in a one minute video or a four minute one. Splashing insults at the top of the page and portraying this as a battle between students and the government does nothing but strengthen government resolve and demean the arguments against the system.

    I agree with PeeJay that this is a progressive system, providing the safeguards of scholarships and bursaries are available.

    Where I disagree with the debate is that future universtiy students are being asked to bear their share of the burden at a time of increasing student numbers and demands for ever increasing educational quality. To think that it is enough to maintain the status quo, the policy of the “progressive” Labour party, or to return to the system of free education that prohibited countless thousands from attending universities that the mainstay of the Lib Dems advocate is neither realistic or fair.

    Finally on the issue of £9,000 fees; do we really believe that the future graduates of Oxbridge will not earn back the differential in debt many times over due to the high quality of their degrees?

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  6. My take was that the students there were ignorant of the facts and hooked on their entitlements not to mention downright rude. This scheme is better for those who end up in lower paid jobs, the same for most and will only be worse for those on top salaries. Frankly the level of insight shown by the students left me with the opinion that they were not capable of benefiting from a university education. Give them brushes and send them out to sweep the streets.

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  9. This could be settled by putting the whole of the coalition’s plans up to the public vote at an election. At the moment there is no mandate for these plans.

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  18. Bit of a snide dig at the BBC – this clip was seen on the main news by over 5m people. How many people saw the edited online version? A few thousand at very most.

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  21. Jon:
    “Finally on the issue of £9,000 fees; do we really believe that the future graduates of Oxbridge will not earn back the differential in debt many times over due to the high quality of their degrees?”
    I see. So my employer should pay me more because I have a Cambridge degree, right? That would be nice. After ten years in my profession, I earn around £27k. I’m not exactly earning any differential “many times over” as far as I can see.

    I am a senior museum curator. £27k is pretty good going for this kind of job, which nevertheless requires a high level of academic qualification. It is highly unlikely I will ever earn any higher salary than this if I continue in this career. £27k also happens to be the salary level at which under the new scheme your total repayments will be the highest. That means that if you go to somewhere like Cambridge but have no independent means, you will have to either accept paying back ever higher amounts or forego this kind of rewarding but not at all highly paid career.

  22. Studies have shown that universities will need to charge an average £7500 fees to break even. My sons university (in the top 10 for his degree) has published the impact of fees at £6k, £7.5k and £9k on teaching and university life, and it is clear that £7.5k is needed to maintain the same level of service. It’s all very well Clegg saying in this clip that the Government has the upper hand with universities with regard to the fees they charge, but any university forced to charge the minimum will almost certainly have to significantly compromise the standard of teaching they can offer – thus leading to a 2 tier system as suggested by a student in this clip.

    Secondly, the debt will still exist (and the cost of board and lodging which is around £4-5k per year shouldn’t be forgotten) and the repayments will have an impact on the graduates ability to afford a mortgage and buy a house and also on their ability to pay additional pension contributions. It’s not very satisfying to know that if you are on a low salary you have to wait until your early 50s before the debt is paid off . That’s a long time.

    The real outrage is that University grants from government have been cut by up to 80% – which surely also reduces the influence the Government is entitled to have over what universities charge.

    What we need is high quality graduates who are truly equipped with the skills to drive our economy forward and this will come from focussing on raising standards through high quality universities.

  23. @emilia Perhaps I should have been more clear. They will earn many times more than the differential over the course of their lifetimes.

    As to your specific case, for which I don’t have all the details, I would guess that you chose to be a museum curator rather than being coerced into doing it. I also assume that you are able to change jobs and by doing so could earn more that £27k. It is your choice to work as a curator, with all the benefits and costs of that career, the benefit being that it is (for you) a rewarding career.

    You also prove my point when you say that £27,000 is a very good wage for the job you do. That, I would assume is because of your education and skills, in no small part gained during your time at uni.

    I also remember when I was looking at universities being told that the average graduate can expect to earn £100,000 more in their lives than an equivalent non-graduate. That, if true, demonstrates that the £40,000 average debt incurred by students is reasonable and that when you tie in the increases in life expectacy and improved social mobility for graduates (which even as a Tory I can’t put a price on) the case that fees are unfair becomes even weaker.

  24. What seems stupid to me is that Clegg claims that a high percentage of students will never pay off these loans and the government will pay them off in the end. Isn’t this just a convoluted, expensive way of giving a grant – this is a loan but you don’t have to pay it off? It also provides a strong incentive for graduates to go abroad – that’s what many of my daughter’s friends have done, even with the current loan level.

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