The problem seems to be a lack of understanding in finance and demographics. This is understandable as the cost/benefit analysis of the graduated workforce is complex. There are two parties which are deemed to benefit from students qualifying at universities:
- The recipient of the degree
- Beneficiaries of the services that they have been educated to provide
Ask a potential student who should pay and I've yet to find one that says they should. Other taxpayers have a mixed view that goes the entire specrum of their contribution from 0% - 100%.
Ministers are busy looking to a fair answer to the questions "who should pay?" and "how should it be paid?". As always, the use of the word fair is devisive and used intentionally to obfuscate as fairness is a constant aspiration but rarely pragmatic or even possible.
Of the two parties, the recipient is the easiest to analyse. Evidence should be gathered on how much financially the person gains compared to non-graduates. Halve that then devise a payment method on the sum in such a way as to not prove as a disincentive for going to university.
In some respects all the debate over student fees does little but to add weight to the graduate tax. For example the medical student on Young Voters' Question Time was using the figure of £81,000 for his argument. He was able to do that as Top-up fees and student loans result in an absolute total.
A graduate tax wouldn't lead to a grand debt which must be paid off. So instead of a potential student deciding whether or not to go to university based on a daunting lump some figure, they can do so on a small percentage, 0.5% or 1% of their income.
Labels: Funding, Government, Graduate Tax, Student Fees