Letter: Universities and supermarkets

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your leading article 'Time for a graduate tax' (24 June) considers the benefits of higher education 'self-evident' enough not to need detailing. But the view that 'those who benefit more should pay more' is an outgrowth of the mind-set that sees the acquisition of education as a form of supermarket shopping, its benefits to be sought chiefly in consumerist terms.

It is precisely because the benefits of higher education are self-evidently of broader value to our society as a whole that it is impolitic to require only graduates to contribute to the cost of it. Indeed, it is for exactly this reason that higher education has been substantially funded from the pockets of all taxpayers for the past half-century or so.

Yours faithfully,

JEREMY BLACK

Oxford

24 June

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