Letter: Tuition fees will result in a skills deficit for future generations

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Letter: Tuition fees will result in a skills deficit for future generations

Ros Wynne-Jones draws attention to the fall in the number of students applying to universities for 1998 following the Government's proposals to abolish grants and introduce fees for full-time undergraduates ("The gigantic confidence trick", 30 November).

If these proposals are introduced, we shall be passing on a large deficit in the skilled population, including doctors, teachers and engineers, to future generations. We shall also be denying a large section of the population the personal fulfilment they hoped to obtain through higher education.

If this Government is really committed to opening up access to education, it should look again at the financial needs of students and the factors that affect people from poorer backgrounds who study full-time for advanced qualifications. Surely it is better to encourage people into higher education now who can pay back the costs of their education through progressive taxation on their future earnings rather than deter potential students with the threat of a future of debt.

Ann Cotterrell

The National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education, London WC1

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