Well there's a number of issues here which I will attempt to summarise in no particular order:
1) It was an aspiration of the last Labour administration to increase the numbers of students going through Higher Education to 50% or above. Whilst I think it's great to offer such opportunities, the reality is the jobs market has become saturated with graduates...some with questionable degrees and it has resulted in Macdonalds getting a higher calibre of staff to flip their burgers!
2) Against that background, the books were always going to be very hard to balance, but the current Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition administration made it worse by introducing an 80% (yes that's right...80%) funding cut in certain areas and that left an even bigger hole in the books, which they then decided should be funded by the main beneficiaries of the higher education, i.e the students themselves
3) They tried to counter-balance this with another development whereby the debt does not have to be repaid until the individual concerned earns a salary in excess of £25k. But their maths don't add up as the examples they have provided would mean a person could take decades to pay back their loan which doesn't sound right to meReference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/united-kingdom/33658-higher-education-is-it-a-birthright.html
4) Students would argue that the taxpayer benefits from the services of qualified professionals like Doctor's etc which is a valid point but the UK taxpayer's alliance would counter-argue why should they pay for a person to get educated and then earn a very high salary, possibly multiple times higher than the UK average and multiple times higher than that of the average UK taxpayer
5) Whilst there is no doubt that society benefits and the economy benefits, there is also little doubt that the primary beneficiary is the student so personally, I think it is right that person should make a contribution to their education. What I fundamentally disagree with is the way the Conservative led coalition have handled this...was it really necessary to make an 80% cut in one go and raise fees as high as 9k a year? Why couldn't they have cut 40% which is still extraordinarily high?
6) Labour would also have had to make cuts but Labour was working to a 10 year plan whereas the coalition are aiming to get the UK deficit cleared within 5 years....which a lot of people, myself included, think is far too much far too quickReference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=33658
7) Finally, I would finish by saying I was totally appalled by the actions of some student protesters and they really did their cause no benefit at all.