Graduate taxes, eh? There's a lot of talk in the press recently about Vince Cable's new baby, this graduation tax. What's more is that as a graduate myself, that word combined with "tax" immediately causes my eyes to squint in pessimistic disparagement, as I would imagine it does for many readers of this also. Yet, proponents of the policy say it could prove to be much "fairer" to graduates and help them out whilst maintaining the UK's position as one of the leading higher education countries in the world. Yeah, we're back in that position again, folks; the one where we don't know who to trust (getting familiar isn't it?) so let's have a look at this "graduate tax".

Firstly, one can't help feeling that this new proposal of Cable's is something which he has craftily shifted in to replace the Liberal Democrat's original pledge to abolish tuition fees. When the coalition government formed, it was obvious that this abolishment was going no where, so how do they meet the Tories in the middle? That's right, abolish the fees but replace them with another form of payment...which isn't really an abolishment is it? Money is still going from graduates' hands to universities', just in a more bureaucratic and, for many, expensive process.

Expensive. If you graduate and get a high paying job, let's say you become a surgeon, then you will pay more in graduate tax than someone who graduated but works in a lower paid profession. Surely, that's the be all and end all then? If it's more expensive why should we as graduates support such a thing? Well there are other things we have to take into account - the universities, and also how accessible university education is for people from all backgrounds including those from poorer sections of society.

As things stand, tuition fees are loaned to those seeking higher education by the taxpayer and, all being well, the students graduate and pay back that loan once they have some income. Basically, the government pays for your tuition and then once you have a job that pays over £15,000 per annum you gradually pay them back. Excellent! Except all is not always well... For a various multitude of different reasons not all loans end up being paid back and this costs the taxpayer quite a vast sum of money every year.

It also affects the universities, all of whom are really feeling the squeeze right now, and many experts say a lifting of the cap by £225 isn't going to solve much. Of course many conservatives are crying for the cap to be lifted altogether, which would certainly solve the universities' problems. However, if we're led to believe that fairness should be at the heart of these policies then that is not the way forward. It would make university available only for the upper classes or those willing to take out a gigantic loan. It would also mean that the university you went to was not only determined by your A level grades but also the size of your wallet, this is something we see happen in the States all the time and it hardly seems fair to me. Sure, there are scholarships for some who can't afford it but this fortune is only bestowed upon the top, the hyper intelligent, that will supremely benefit the universities.

So we have three options: one where the government pays for you and you pay them back (the current system), one where you simply pay the university whatever they ask (the American system) and one where you pay nothing to the university but pay the government in the form of tax once you are employed. Graduate tax could be the best option that meets in the middle with the aim of making higher education available to all those who want it whilst funding universities who are in dire need of the money. However, if it is going to be a considerable option then Clegg and Cable need to start forming it in stone. Currently, there is no or little information on how long graduates would be expected to pay this tax, exactly what percentage of ones income it would amount to and how much money will be fed back into the UK's universities. These figures need to be made public so that we can decide what the best option is.

For many it might seem a tragic scenario compared to the current one, or it may seem a much cheaper option. Would you like to see a graduate tax replace tuition fees?