Dear Editor, The remarks about tuition fees by John Hemming in last week’s Post are inaccurate.
In focusing on the case of someone on a salary of £22,000 who will only pay £2,700 over 30 years, he plays down the fact that in most cases a real rate of interest will be charged on the student loan: the rate of inflation plus 2.2 per cent (the cost of Government borrowing).
To give a sense of the difference this makes, consider the figures cited by the University and College Union (UCU): assuming a yearly tuition fee of £7,000 and an inflation rate of two per cent, a student enrolling for a standard three-year degree at an English university would borrow more than £32,000 to cover fees and maintenance.
If they then go on to earn a salary at the professional occupation average (£28,220), factoring in increases in earnings over the period, UCU estimates that they will repay more than £54,000 over 30 years.
Also, it is untrue to say that the students don’t care about the vulnerable and the needy: witness the fact that the protests have also been against the abolition of the Education Maintenance Allowance (which Mr Hemming does not mention).
If Mr Hemming thinks that the increased tuition fees are such a good idea, he should have said so before the General Election, not afterwards. The majority of students have been protesting against the tuition fees legislation in a peaceful and disciplined manner: in doing so, they have been displaying a sense of moral acuity and courage that Mr Hemming and his ilk can only dream of possessing.
Professor Alex Miller
Head of Philosophy
University of Birmingham