HOLD the front pages – the Norn Iron Executive has managed to make a decision. Yes, a real live, honest to goodness decision!
Student fees for our two ‘prestigious’ universities have been steadied at around £3,500, give or take a few quid.
The cost of this will be borne by to nabbing £40 million plus from somewhere else to hand out to the universities, with the exact details to be unveiled next week.
It also means that some of the political parties will be able to keep their election ‘promises’.
What we wonder – as do many others – is what sort of creative accounting are the Norn Iron Executive undertaking to bail out the universities, and at the same time put in place higher fees for non-Norn Iron students.
What superb accountants they must be to find funds for such extravagance, and can they come and look at our household budgets when they have a spare moment or so.
Of course, there are conspiracy theorists out there (we prefer to call them cynics when we are numbered among their ranks). They might suggest that there will be some sort of cull of other budgets, with accident and emergency departments and further education college campuses closing their doors.
On the other hand there might be a clear out of the more esoteric degrees from universities, such as the Slavic Music in the 13th century masters, or of the even less practical qualifications, such as degrees in journalism.
In the meantime we are predicting (not too confidently) a property boom in Norn Iron. If plans go ahead for higher fees for non-Norn Iron students then English students’ parents may think it better value to buy a cheap terraced house for Charles and Edwina to claim residency and avail of the reduced uni rates. We can recommend some discounted properties on the up-coming bijous markets on the Falls and Shankill Roads which they may wish to invest in…