Student debt debate
This new regime proposed by the Con Dems, puts UK education amongst the most expensive in the world whereas the Green Party wants to see education free including at university level, and to fund it by tax changes for those on 100k and over, among other changes.
At least £20K for fees over 3 years, plus a similar amount for accommodation and living expenses, will be hanging over most graduates for a good deal of their working lives, and may have to be paid back at the rate of £2,000 plus over 30 years - much like a mortgage. Many young people would feel intimidated by this prospect and the total number of students is likely to fall. If a graduate who was in employment later lost his/her job, the debt would remain on the books and actually increase as there is an interest charge, so that if the graduate returns to employment in a job earning more than £21,000 pa, s/ he will stand to pay back the added charge in the long run.
The position of the very poorest students was better covered, but the implication for those just above the bread line would be serious . Nick Clegg and Vince Cable have made the economic argument that these changes are necessary and "progressive", but the changes are going to hurt and there will be political repercussions, if not on the scale of the derided poll tax, but widely and permanently. The shift from state responsibility for the costs of higher education on to the shoulders of the individual is going to be profound. with thanks for commentary from Peter Reeve.
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