All entries for Saturday 12 August 2006

August 12, 2006

Wrong about fees

Writing about web page http://education.guardian.co.uk/students/tuitionfees/story/0,,1840824,00.html

Neal Lawson has it wrong in quite a few ways here.

There remains a massive job to do to tackle the social inequitities Lawson describes but the new fees regime – provided this kind of misinformation can be challenged – with its requirements for generous bursary packages, actually offers the best prospect for changing this.

Several specific points:

  • variable fee repayment arrangements are effectively a graduate tax – but they are a capped graduate tax – you don't keep paying after you have repaid all that you owe.
  • the 20k debt is not a credit card style debt
  • Without the deal on fees many universities would be heading towards insolvency – a graduate tax would not deliver the money desperately needed now in HE.

Most of the rest of this is just pure speculation and really just a bit previous, eg:

Variable fees haven't yet worked as well as the government hoped.

The government has put a financial support package together – but it's clearly not working.

It's August. Fees start this September. Let's look at it in a year, three years or five years and then decide if it's working.


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