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Tuition Fees: has the rise really caused the fall in University applications?

August 9, 2012 7:41 PM
By Leon Duveen
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

After reading the coverage in The Guardian (Tuition fees increase led to 15,000 fewer applicants) I was moved to write this letter to the paper's Editor :

Dear Sir,

The news that the constant reporting on changes to how Tuition Fees focusing on the raising the upper limit to £9,000 has had an effect on University applications should surprise no-one. It represents a victory for the negative propaganda put out by the Labour party and the media (including The Guardian) wanting to attack the Lib Dems on the issue.

It would be interesting to find out how many of the potential students would have applied if they had been told that their repayments would be up to £540 a year less than current students and that the length of the period for repayments was time-limited to 30 years with any outstanding loan left after then be wiped off (meaning graduates that take career breaks won't have to carry on repaying into their 60's).

While not trying to defend the principle of Tuition Fees (introduced by Labour breaking a 2001 Manifesto commitment), even independent experts who look at the scheme being introduced next month (see Martyn Lewis on moneysavingexpert.com) say that it is a better, fairer scheme than the one Labour introduced in 2005.

Will those that have been blabbing on about the rise in fees while ignoring the lower cost for most students, now admit that they have been wrong and accept part of the blame for the downturn in applications?

Leon Duveen