The tuition fee debate has been framed like a binary war, a battle between fiscal rationality vs. pie-in-the-sky thinking.
While the conflict rages on, the economic justification behind free education has not been fully explained by much of the media, allowing the pro-fee militia to recruit the "fiscally-minded" under false pretences.
For example, most believe that subsidizing higher education for those bright enough to achieve it is a crazy idea championed solely by adolescents in Che Guevara merchandise and retired left-leaning professors and eccentrics. However, the argument is much more compelling than the Right give it credit for.
University graduates are given little recognition for what they give back to the economy. And they give back a lot more. In fact, the average private return on a college/university education is 22 percent in most developed countries.
That is a higher return than most investments in stocks and bonds.
Another point overlooked by commentators is the importance of knowledge as a non-financial asset.
The most important phrase in a fee-fighter's arsenal should be the sorely ignored "human capital".
Human capital is the stock competence, knowledge, and experience of a nation. Many of the most respected economists throughout history, such as Adam Smith, have proved the economic benefits and social necessity of steadily increasing human capital.
Surges in human capital help not just developing nations but also westernized societies such as Britain. It has been proven that an increase in human capital heightens a country's productivity, increases market liquidity in the long run, and contributes towards higher GDP.
In the words of esteemed economist John Maynard Keynes:
"Human capital will survive for decades, even during catastrophic conflicts. It took seven decades of autocratic dictatorship to thoroughly destroy the human capital in the Soviet Union."
(The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, 1936)
Furthermore, the class aspect of the debate is often given little or no thought.
Many still believe that too many are going to university, making degrees meaningless to those who work hard. This argument is valid, but not in relation to tuition fees.
A belief in less people going to university is only fair if you can justify the allocation of places academically, not by allowing a massive section of society to fall through the net, regardless of their achievements.
Those hell-bent on making degrees less obtainable may want stricter academic criteria introduced to get into university.
However, those who believe in deterring young people from getting an education, simply because of their class, belong to a separate ideology altogether.
Some also argue that tuition fees will successfully root out potential undergrads who don't feel passionately enough to take a financial "risk" with their course. However, this is grossly unfair when it is only the working classes being forced to consider it.
It opens a moral can of worms: Why should a working class child have to be so much more confident academically and as a person, compared with an upper class child who has nothing to lose from the same "gamble"?
People from bad backgrounds often have more than themselves to think about; they have relatives, struggling siblings, parents, who will need financial support to improve their living standards.
Young people in those situations may feel it selfish to pursue a degree of interest, later to be burdened with debt, when climbing a career ladder from the bottom seems like a pursuit with a definite outcome. People with this dilemma will often make decisions based on the severity of their circumstance, not on passion alone.
Young people from hard backgrounds can also struggle even after attaining a university place, with over 1 in 4 university drop-outs citing "financial stress" as a reason.
To say the New Right and Neo-Liberals et al, have a loose argument would be untrue, the idea that a government should cut spending when times are tough is a very popular one, as we can see from the countless speeches made by Tory and Labour MPs alike, at times opportune to each respectively.
But given the proven long-term economic benefits of educating the nation, subsidizing a young person's right to learn is not "reckless" spending.
Rather, a bigger risk would be to let the educational gap widen and jeopardise the future of the market and the well-being of the country.
The media and those in Westminster have attached a stigma to spending when that same stigma could just as easily be attached to the prospect of a society with low human capital. Both arguments hold just as much weight, depending on your monetarist stance, so why is the tuition fee debate painted in black and white?