Link: Tuition fee problems in waiting and other education context

There’s both historical context and future warning in a Guardian interview with Cambridge historian Simon Szreter. Among the best quotes:

“[I]t is the over-reliance by successive governments on structuring student loans through “complex financial instruments” that could prove most devastating for the future of higher education, he says, and it is this that people need to pay attention to. Talking about the fallout of the financial crisis, he says emphatically: “We are not even over this [crisis] and the government is already quite happily talking about packaging up our younger generation’s futures into a set of complicated loan instruments that it will place with the very sector of the economy that’s caused all this.” …

“He reserves particular ire for the way in which the coalition government apparently calculated the projected average annual fees students would have to pay (£7,500 as opposed to the top fee rate of £9,000, which the majority of institutions originally opted for). Referring to a recent interview with the universities minister, David Willetts, in this paper during which the minister failed to explain the calculations, Szreter says: “[It is a] dreadful hypocrisy that Willetts can casually acknowledge that, with all the analytical fire-power of a government department of specialists including economists at his disposal, that he took some kind of punter’s guess at the fee levels to set.” …

“So what, if anything, will actually halt the current policy juggernaut? Szreter says there is a need to keep arguing and to “use reason and evidence” to highlight what’s wrong and to make recommendations for how it can be fixed. “

About Paul Bradshaw

Founder of Help Me Investigate. I'm a visiting professor at City University London's School of Journalism, and run an MA in Online Journalism at Birmingham City University. I publish the Online Journalism Blog, and am the co-author of the Online Journalism Handbook and Magazine Editing (3rd edition). I have a particular interest in Freedom of Information and data journalism.
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