Sorry, but it is right for students to pay to go to university

The progressive case for recouping fees.

The higher education package being put together by the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, which is reported to include a possible graduate tax to meet fewer places and the demands for higher caps from universities, has brought to the fore once again the question of whether or not it is fair for students to pay for university.

My firm view is that it is, and as it happens the current system may well be fairer and less intimidating than a graduate tax paid indefinitely, as my colleague Samira Shackle has outlined in a substantial post here.

Aside from the question of whether Cable is right to seek a reduction in numbers of those going to university -- and I am far from sure he is -- it has to be acknowledged that any fees which are paid on the basis of earnings later are certainly infinitely fairer than upfront fees, which my year of students was among the last in paying.

But, as I wrote in January, to the annoyance of some:

More importantly, there is a very strong moral case for tuition fees and top-up fees: after all, there is nothing social democratic about making those people who would never consider sending their offspring to university pay through the tax system for those who do.

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