Since degree-level tuition fees rose to £9,000, imagining a free education – which did exist once in a land far, far away – is difficult, if not impossible.
In the last few categorically terrible years for the British education system, the government retroactively increased fees, announced some universities can up their tuition to over £9k and the only public voices egging on fee-free university aren't the ones with the power.
Things have become so staunchly shit that student poverty is jeopardising the mental health of university-goers on a monolithic scale – four out of five UK universities recently reported a “noticeable increase” in “complex mental health crises”.
There's at least one institution that isn't prepared to let the education system free-fall into crisis though. Challenging the damaging effects of spiralling tuition fees, a new university in Brighton is offering higher education totally free of charge. Literally.
Offering students the chance of a free degree, the Free University Brighton (FUB) states on its website that it's offering "education for love, not money". While this statement may sound fluffy, the coastal institution could revolutionise the way we view universities while making degree-level education a more equal playing field.
Founded last year after the series of devastating government cuts, the university kick-started its free degree in Humanities and Social Science with 70 students. Proving to be a success, the FUB is preparing for round two, this time opening the course up to more people.
Empowering the lesser advantaged and proving university isn't – and shouldn't be – reserved for the elite, anyone can study at the FUB and students don't have to have any prior qualifications.
The course covers a vast range of studies that seem appropriate for someone seeking out an equal opportunities university. From International Relations to Politics, modules taught include Crime, Inequalities and Justice, Alternative Economics: A Critique of Political Economy, Media, Communication and Propaganda, Feminism and Philosophy.
Students currently study the course have only positive things to say. One student said that, after it being their life long dream to study at university level, “FUB has given me this opportunity." Due to finances, they weren't able to go to a paying university. The happy student added: "It has broadened my thinking and opened up my mind to other views and possibilities.”
Another student says how “It’s turned my world upside down and has given me some hope for the future to know there are others who are as passionate about equality and justice”, while another urges that the university is "a great project and it's very exciting to be part of it".
If you're fed up of forking out obscene amounts of dollar for university, the FUB is holding a registration event on Saturday July 30 at the Marlborough Pub & Theatre in Brighton. Some of the teachers and current students will be there to discuss what the university has to offer. For more information head to the Free University Brighton website.