Sir: In recent years there have been two main flaws in policy towards university and college study. First, it has been argued that "fair" education must mean "higher education for as many as possible". This has not only contributed towards the present financial crisis, but has also tended to devalue the degree itself, as universities are forced, for financial expediency, to accept more students. It is surely better to safeguard total support for a smaller number of good students, irrespective of background. The present proposals can only serve to discourage potential students from poorer backgrounds, and many fine minds will be lost to the university system.
The second flaw has been to regard universities as businesses. A university cannot and should not be run in business terms or be expected to show profit.
The net result of the government proposals will be to damage the higher education system, drive down quality, especially in the academically middle- ranking institutions. Postgraduate study will doubtless suffer further, as those with large debts are discouraged from continuing in education.