Letter: Parents `dismayed'

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The Independent Culture
Sir: In Cherry Norton's piece on students ("Stay at home students do worse in life", 1 April) she seems to be implying that because of the imposition of fees, students are being "forced" to live at home and that this will deprive them of getting better-paid jobs.

I live in East Anglia where local students are more likely to leave home. This is not because they have more money but because they do not have as many options as those in the South-east, Scotland and Wales.

Wealthier kids always have had the best chances. That's why a university education for my generation was next to impossible. Universal access to higher education to anyone able to perform at the right level is a long road, but we are on the move as increasing numbers of graduates prove.

My son went to Cambridge. It was nothing to do with our income, which, was in difficulty at the time. He was content to live within his grant and earn any extra he needed.

Because improvement in access to higher education is slow, that is no a reason to plead that university education shouldn't be paid for by those who are going to benefit most.

It is quite acceptable to make some charge for an education which enables higher-income earning. The increasing numbers in higher education make this inevitable.

I believe that making some financial contribution to one's higher education will make students consider much more carefully what they want their future to be, before they go to university.

This will deter those who treat it as a pleasurable, no-cost way of filling time.