LETTER: Higher education needs financial support

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From Ms Madeleine Durie

Sir: I read with interest your leading article (2 February). When I was president of the University of Nottingham's student union last year I was an advocate of a possible graduate tax system, raising the issue at the National Union of Students special conference last year. I am now employed on a graduate fast-track programme, earning above the national average income, a result no doubt partly due to my university education.

I disagree, however, with the idea of any form of charging students for their tuition. What we, as student union officers, were advocating last year is some form of fairer relief from the maintenance grant than the current unfair student loans system.

For British industries to compete on an international market they must employ motivated, educated people capable of producing research and innovation. The way to enable this is to ensure open and fair access to higher education for all, regardless of income or financial background - taxing graduates to pay for their fees does not allow this.

Yours faithfully,

Madeleine Durie

London, W4

2 February