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England is terribly classist, and employers routinely discriminate against candidates not coming from the "red brick" universities (Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial College).  Now that tuition fees for public universities have pretty much been equalised with those of "red brick" universities, bringing them to about 9 thousand pounds per year, many people who would have gone for a university degree may realise that they will have to get in debt to study at a second tier university but that classism will lock them out of jobs where they might earn enough to repay those student loans. So the calculus shifts against going to university at all, unless you can make it into a "red brick".

Just my own impression, I'm not sure whether actual English youth think in these terms.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 3rd, 2013 at 04:28:02 PM EST
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I'm not sure whether actual English youth think in these terms.

Anecdotally, such considerations are becoming a factor

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 3rd, 2013 at 04:45:53 PM EST
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British Universities
1. Ancient Universities

Ancient universities in the United Kingdom and Ireland were founded during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Since no universities were founded in the United Kingdom and Ireland between the 16th and 19th century, the term "ancient university" generally refers to institutions of higher education that were established before the 19th century.

The ancient universities (in order of formation) are:


Due to their sheer age and continuous academic and scientific output, all of the ancient universities are very reputable. The two top universities in UK, which are continuously found in first and second place of the British league tables, are Oxford and Cambridge. Together they are known as Oxbridge and share a century old rivalry, which dates back to when Cambridge was founded by dissident Oxford scholars.

Oxbridge is often compared to the American Ivy League universities, but it is important to note that all Ivy League institutions are private universities, while Oxford and Cambridge are state-owned.

Both universities are divided into more than thirty colleges. Since each college at Oxford only offers a certain range of subjects, the choice of college often depends on the field of study. At Cambridge, on the other hand, all colleges give students to opportunity to study any subject offered by the university as a whole.

Yet in spite of the differences and rivalries, there is also much cooperation between Britain's two oldest academic institutions. Most Oxford colleges have a sister college in Cambridge. Some colleges even share a common name, but are not necessarily sister colleges. There is for instance a Trinity College at Oxford (sister college: Churchill College, Cambridge) as well as a Trinity College at Cambridge (sister college: Christ Church, Oxford). 2. Red Brick Universities

Red Brick Universities - named after the buildings they were housed in which were usually built with red brick - were founded in the industrial parts of the cities during the Victorian era (1837-1901) and before the Second World War. They are sometimes also called "civic universities", a movement that started in 1851 with Owens College, which later became the Victoria University of Manchester and today is called University of Manchester.

The main difference between Red Brick and ancient universities is that Red Bricks were so called non-collegiate institutions and admitted men without regarding their religion or social background. Furthermore they concentrated on teaching predominantly "practical subjects" often linked to engineering.

Some Red Brick universities include:

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jan 3rd, 2013 at 06:47:37 PM EST
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"Red-brick" is actually a derogatory term for universities founded mostly in the 19C in major provincial cities (built of red brick rather than ancient stone...).

Yes, Oxbridge and some other prestigious places (like Imperial) command the best job spots. But this is to a great extent due to the class intake of these universities. The British class system perpetuates itself by hiring the children of the ruling class to follow in the footsteps of their elders. If you're not a child of the upper/upper-middle class, an Oxbridge degree will not suffice to open all doors to you -- unless you have been a particularly brilliant student, in which case you may be co-opted, while upper-class graduates can make do with a mediocre degree and be welcomed.

This doesn't mean that red-brick and more recent universities command no respect, and that graduates can't get a job. The problem is more one, as you say, of salaries unlikely to cover the cost of repayment of student loans. Sooner or later, Britain will have to face up to the fact that education is a public good that calls for public financing. Until then, the City rules, and the City is a flying island that doesn't care about the country beneath's infrastructure.

I have no idea either of how British youth see their prospects. In particular, white working-class youth.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jan 4th, 2013 at 03:03:16 AM EST
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