Tuition fees - a topic that has cropped up many times between my friends and I and the bane of a students life! Not only do we have to pay extortionate living costs but now (my year was the first) we have top up fees.

The average student comes out of University with an average of about £20,00 debt...apparently. Yet in reality, it works like this:

£3000 a year tuition fees - depending on University - of which have already crept up to £3150 by my third year. Roughly £50-£80 a week accommodation costs (which for most rented accommodation has to be paid the six months of the year you are not actually at University) - MINUS BILLS - and presuming you're not heading to London. Then on top of that we have books, food, general living costs and money to actually leave the house and do something remotely fun.

For many students their families can't pay for fees, accommodation or provide an allowance, let alone all three. So we're talking £6000 a year JUST on fees and accommodation. Its fairly easy to see how the debt racks up.

The thing that frustrates me, as a BA student, is the lack of continuity when it comes to course fees. Doing a degree in English and Philosophy, I have roughly 7 hours of contact time a week, even in my third year. At a University that is rated 5th best in the country for English I'm not quite sure where exactly my £3070 went last year....except maybe to that brand new building being constructed at the moment which I will probably never even need to go in.

I have four months off for the summer, one month for christmas and one month for easter. Therefore, spending only half of my year actually at University.

£3070 for six months of 7 hours a week!! You do the math! Included in that is lectures and a few seminars. No one to one. No books. Nothing. Even photocopied course booklets have to be paid for...unbelievable. You'd think they could atleast throw a few of those in. Each year I probably have to spend an average of an extra £200 on books.

At least my department library is ok...some of my other friends, particularly on language modules don't even have enough texts. dvds etc. to go around all the students on the. On the other hand there are the science students, medics, designers etc. some of which spend up to 40 hours a week in University, who continue being taught after the exam period when we all go home and who are getting all kind of chemicals, dead bodies and materials thrown in with the price.

Obviously I understand that they can't price a degree by its type...we'd end up with even less people going for medicine and more sociology students. But something has to be done to make paying over £3000 a year somehow justifiable.

If it carries on like this, with fees going up and up like they are predicted to we are going to see noone, other than the extremely rich, going to University anymore (exactly what the government don't want apparently).

Who wants to come out at 21 with over £20,000 of debt, with interest to go on top, thats rates are NOT as low as people think and try and actually buy a house with the state of the economy, house prices, mortgages etc.?

It is totally offputting for young people and I think that something really has to be done to make sure arts students are getting their value for money if we are going to be forced to pay extortionate prices for fees.