Facts on student fees

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I’ve been listening with concern regarding proposed increase in student fees.

Let me put prospective students’ minds at rest and show that this is not only a better system than proposed by the previous Labour administration but is also required to enable the country to get out of the financial hole we’re in.

Fees currently stand at a maximum of £3,375 a year, paid for in advance and based on the ability of parents to fund their children through university.

The new system will put fees up to a maximum of £9,000, paid for by the student after graduation, therefore there are no fees to pay up-front. This will be repaid starting in the first full financial year after graduation and only when the graduate is earning £21,000. Only then will they pay 9% of the gross income over £21,000. So, if you earn £22,000, you will pay £90 per year. Payments are over 30 years, so if you leave university and become a low earner you will in all likelihood pay very little.

This is a much fairer way of funding higher education. It will not affect low income families in the way many groups suggest. In fact they will pay nothing up-front and the burden is carried by the person who will supposedly benefit, but even then they may not pay off the entire debt in the period allocated.

If we want more people to go to university and keep state retirement ages the same we must find ways of funding the lost years of income produced by many young people spending another three years or more at university.

In 1960 men started work at 16 and retired at 65 giving a full 49 years of taxed income with a very small percentage (10%) of the population funded through university. Now approximately 40% of people start work at 21 and will retire at 68, giving 47 years of taxed income and we still want university education to be funded by the state.

Russell Cutts, Fairbank Rd, S5