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HE reaction Wednesday, 22 January, 2003, 11:23 GMT
Head to head: top-up fees
Roy Hattersley
Rallying cry to back benchers
Former Labour deputy leader Lord (Roy) Hattersley opposes the government's plans to raise university tuition fees - but the director of the London School of Economics Anthony Giddens supports the scheme

Lord Hattersley

I am opposed to top-up fees but I am very much more opposed to working men and women at the age of 18 being told they must anticipate a debt of about 21,000 - that's Charles Clarke's estimate.

The psychology of that is bound to prevent many working men and women from going to university in the first place.

If you want a top class university sector the government has to pay for it.

The elite universities want money to fund research that will attract the top brains but that is not something undergraduates ought to pay for. The government ought to pay for that.

Free market

The answer is a graduate tax - Gordon Brown's idea - so you don't have a loan hanging over you.

You only pay it back according to your income. If you go into a lowly-paid job in the council you only pay a little back.

The idea you could pay more for a certain course is bringing the market into university education.

I don't want to see the market in higher education.

I don't think it's a betrayal of the manifesto but I do think it is a betrayal of principal.

I hope that at last some of these back-benchers will start standing up for principal and I think they are just about to do that.

I certainly hope so.

Director of the London School of Economics ( LSE) Anthony Giddens

I strongly support the scheme. It's crucial that higher education is free at the point of delivery, that those who don't earn much don't have to pay back loans afterwards and that grants and scholarships are introduced for poorer students.

I think the government has got its act right on this. It's a decent package, which I advocated and I think most university heads will support it.

The existing system is not working, the system we have had for 25 years. 80% of sons and daughters of middle-class or professional parents go to university while only 15% of those of working class parents do.

We have done a lot of work on this at LSE. Those who go to university get several times the income over the course of their career as compared to those who don't.

It's therefore socially just for them to pay more.

Why should someone who does not go to university pay for Will Straw to go to Oxford?.

A graduate tax would not help universities in first instance because the Treasury would control the money and could take the money back at any time.

Students who did courses which cost less than others would have to pay a lot more for them and would go on paying for them through their lifetime.

It's a much fairer system to pay back the loan you took out.

The BBC's Sue Littlemore
"Different universities will be able to charge different fees"
The BBC's Kim Catcheside
"All fees can now be paid after graduation"
Will Straw, President Oxford Student Union
"It will make it a very difficult decision for Students"
See also:

20 Jan 03 | Education
14 Jan 03 | Education
11 Jan 03 | Mike Baker
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