Remarkably good deal for students on fees

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From: Michael Meadowcroft, President, Leeds West Liberal Democrats.

IT really is political cynicism of a high order for Liam Burns, the National Union of Students’ president, to call on Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrats’ leader, to resign over the pledge to oppose tuition fee increases. He would serve the student cause far better if he pointed out the considerable benefits of the actual policy rather than trying to score party points.

The reality of what matters for students is not the level of the fees but what they have to pay.

The facts are that no student 
has to pay a penny up front; they are never asked to repay any capital sum; they pay nothing at all until, after graduation, they are earning £420 per week, at which point they pay £16; any outstanding sum remaining after 30 years is written off; and it cannot be taken into account when applying for a mortgage. This seems a remarkably good deal.

Having seen the high burden of the Labour government’s tuition fee policy, the present government decided to go down the much better path of what is in effect a graduate tax rather than direct student loans. Any comparison between last year’s and this year’s policies shows how much better the deal is for new students.

If the mis-selling of insurance policies requires compensation from the banks, then the mis-selling of tuition fee policies by the NUS is equally culpable.