Letter: Student fees: nation must foot the bill

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The Independent Online
Student fees: nation must foot the bill

Sir: If the nation is going to benefit from a better-educated work-force, then the nation should pick up the bill for the educational fees. If graduates do truly earn more because of their degrees, then they already contribute more through the higher taxes they pay. Any expansion of higher education should therefore rapidly become self-financing as the new graduates embark on their careers.

The proposed undergraduate tax - for that is what charging students pounds 1,000 a year in tuition fees is - looks like little more than yet another way of reducing government expenditure by transferring a universal tax burden on to a small group of people at the very time in their lives when they will need every penny they earn. This is grossly unfair, not least because it is a flat-rate tax to be levied regardless of either ability to pay or future earnings potential. Do we really believe that tomorrow's pounds 25,000- a-year teacher should pay the same as tomorrow's pounds 250,000-a-year lawyer or financier?

K G JAMES

Rodney Stoke, Somerset

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