The headlines around the Augar review of higher education funding highlight a proposed cut in student tuition fees from £9,000 to £7,500 a year, and disguise some very regressive proposals which will make students worse off. They will have to start repaying their loans sooner as the earnings threshold is being lowered, and they will repay them for longer – another 10 years.
Caroline Lucas said:
“Dr Augar’s proposals are a very mixed bag. Tuition fees will go down, but loans will have to start being repaid sooner and for longer, so many graduates will still be paying back their loan when their own children are heading off to university.
“It is right that funding should be available for students gaining technical qualifications in further education colleges. But what matters for colleges and universities, like the University of Sussex and Brighton University in my constituency, is that funding is secure and there is no guarantee that the Government will make up any shortfall. It also looks like ‘priority’ subjects will be given preference, which the many outstanding arts and humanities courses could suffer.
“What’s clear is that the current student loan system is broken and this will not fix it. We need to start recognising further and higher education as a national asset of long-term economic value, with all those who benefit from it contributing to the cost. That is why I have for a long time proposed a business education tax, with the top 4% of UK corporations who make more than £1.5 million a year, paying their fair share, and the government making up any shortfall in funding.”