Cutting, or ending tuition fees?

In the context of a ‘review’ and a pending government announcement on HE funding, City investment broker Hargreaves Lansdown has put its financial and accounting expertise to more benevolent purposes.

Remarkably it finds that neither a reduction of tuition fees to £6000 from the current £9000 plus per annum or a cut in interest rates, would benefit the average student who, after 30 years ( the time that it is written off) would still not have paid off the debt – although the outstanding amount would have been reduced. By comparison, better off graduates, those who start on and continue to earn salaries well above the norm, would be able to clear their debts much earlier.

Hargreaves Lansdown suggest the best way to help graduates starting on (and often staying on!) low salaries could be to raise the repayment threshold – it’s currently at £25 000. Doing this would have the same effect as raising the income tax threshold; so surely the best (the fairest and most efficient) solution would be to scrap the notion of ‘fees’ completely and depend on the tax system to moderate earning inequalities. Labour has committed to this.

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