A new global university league table has recently been published which suggests that the UK's higher education system is slipping and could eventually retreat from its position of holding some of the best universities in the world.

This is doubly as pressing because of the funding cuts planned for universities by the government. Many are worried that these cuts will mark the end of UK universities' hope for competing on a global scale.

Heads are then turned to the users of the universities themselves. If the taxpayer can no longer supply the money to keep the UK at the top, will the students? With this question comes a bundle of others that one should really consider. For example, how important is your university's global status to you? Do you think it will effect your employment prospects, even if you never leave the UK for work? How much more would you be willing to pay to ensure that status?

All are not easy questions to answer. Current graduates already feel the effects of student debt and those attending university starting next week will feel it even more so, an average of about £775 more. So you can feel sympathetic for those who would not want to pay any more for their university education.

Yet at the same time, surely we must be doing something to ensure our education system's status in the world. It is, after all, one of the UK's proudest claims to be the second best university system in the world. Not only is it a matter of pride but economic pragmatism as well - our universities bring in millions of pounds from abroad due to students from all around the world heading here for our great universities. One could argue that out of everyone the people who should therefore be supporting the universities is the people using their services. So why not lift the fee cap and let them charge what they want? That is what the US does who is the dominator in the league table and the only country currently higher than us; it's certainly worked for them!

Unfortunately, it's not that simple because then we'd be denying hundreds of people the right to further their education not based on intelligence or capability but the size of their bank account. Last week I blogged about the Liberal Democrat's suggestion of a graduate tax which is one proposal to combat the above dilemma. However, whether it is a practical solution is questionable and highly debated.

Let us assume that it is not politically sound like many claim, then what do we do Britain? Cough up the cash or grit our teeth and take the plunge?