Education Letter: Why we're dropping out

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The Independent Online
With reference to the news of high drop-out rates at universities nationwide, I would like to offer a partial explanation.

I began university in October, with the naive notion that I would be receiving access to an excellent education which would aid my future job prospects. This vision has been somewhat hazed by the constant leaching of money and the dictatorial aspect of my "halls" accommodation.

Not only do I pay for the basics of tuition and lodgings, but I also have to fork out for course subscription, which apparently covers the cost of photocopies (75p a sheet by my calculations) and hall "subs" (pounds 35 per year).

This latter payment covers the cost of the pool table's maintenance (a brush) and the television licence. As I live in a hall containing 169 students, I can only assume that the television licences in Leicestershire cost something in the region of pounds 5,000 per annum.

My remark concerning the halls dictatorship is simply this; apparently the warden has the authority to marshal pogroms and purge unopposed by we, lowly students, and then fine us if he finds us breaking his petty rules.

I have been accused of the dastardly crime of candle ownership. Ostensibly, while I am at the age where I can decide my country's future (by voting), can control myself under the influence of alcohol and marry and bear responsibility for children, the ability to control a lit candle still eludes me.

JOHN ATKIN

Loughborough, Leicestershire

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