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Skint and burdened by debt forever. Good timesRalph Daily via Wikimedia

UK universities are now the most expensive in the world

New statistics have confirmed the worst for the British education system

So yeah. The British education system, with its lifetime loans and its grant-free access, is officially a massive global joke. According to statistics pulled from a major new study by the OECD, we are now charging the highest university tuition fees in the world – with an average three-year undergrad walking out with over £54,000 worth of debt.

It's the first time ever that English universities have made the top of the list. A degree here now costs double the amount of New Zealand and Australian courses, and nine times more than most other European institutions. It's even more expensive (on average) than America, which charges up to £41,000 a year for some Ivy league colleges. 

“As part of a plan to stabilise university finances, tuition fees in England sharply increased in 2012,” the OECD report read. “In parallel, student loan-repayment conditions were improved in order to accommodate the increase in tuition fees. As a result, since 1995 the United Kingdom has moved from a system marked by low tuition fees and underdeveloped student-support systems to one that includes high tuition fees and significant public support to students.” 

The tragedy is, these stats don't even take into account the new government shake-up: which will allow UK universities to limitlessly raise their fees in return for “high quality teaching”. It also doesn't acknowledge that some significant public support has actually lessened – including the much-needed free course grant for students from poorer backgrounds.

“This important international evidence shows that English students pay more for university than their counterparts elsewhere,” said Peter Lampl of the Sutton Trust. “While this has not yet reduced the numbers of poorer young students, it has seen a big fall in numbers of mature part-time students, an important group of access students too often forgotten.”

“These figures should cause the government to avoid steps that could hamper access, including replacing grants for poorer students with loans leaving them more indebted than richer students, cutting widening participation funding, or reducing the independence of the access regulator.” 

So, other than selling our kidney to get a decent education (which 30% of us would actually do), I suppose we'll just have to give up on improving our minds altogether. Either that or make a hasty escape to fee-free Germany