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Conservatives Considering a Reduction in Tuition Fee Cap

Posted by Richard Ward in ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Reports have emerged suggesting Chancellor Philip Hammond is looking to cap annual charges for tuition fees at £7,500 instead of the current level of £9,250.

The move appears to be in response to concerns among Conservatives about their low support base among young people, particular after the Labour party saw its young voter base surge in the June election.

There have also been calls for Government to ease the burden of student finances after warnings most graduates will never pay off their debt. Research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies suggests three-quarters of graduates will not pay off their loans in full, despite some making payments well into their 50s.

Further pressure has been placed on the government due to recent reports over vice-chancellors pay packages. Many university heads have seen their salaries soar, whilst students are being plunged into more and more debt.

Under the current system, universities can charge £9,250 for courses in arts and humanities, the same price as those courses more expensive to run, such as the sciences.

Under the measures being tabled, different fees for different subjects could be introduced as well as a cap on interest rates related to student loans. The threshold for repayments may also be increased from the current £21,000 per year.

It's understood the proposals will be revealed in full by Philip Hammond as part of the Autumn budget.

Commenting on the proposals, the National Union of Students slammed the Conservative's approach, saying "We welcome commitments from any political part - not least the Government, to rethink the failed experiment that is the current £9,000 tuition fees system.

"While reducing tuition fees would represent a step in the right direction, the Government is not going far enough."