Your debt is just a posh coffee everyday
The Minister for Universities has cited the reality of student debt under the new system, claiming graduates will just pay the price of a posh coffee each day.
Speaking at an event at the Royal Society, it was reported in The Times, that graduates are only paying the price of a posh coffee each day as part of their loan repayments. Under the new regime tuition fees were charged at £9000 but are repaid on earnings over £21,000. However, Labour have hit back saying this is evidence of how out of touch the government is.
Referring to the issue of graduate debt and repayments, the Minister for Universities, Greg Clarke, told the Royal Society, 'Under the system that we have...you only pay back if you're earning over £21,000 and only 9 per cent of your earnings above that. What that means is, if you earn £30,000 as a graduate you pay back £2.22 a day.'
In an attempt to illustrate that Clarke went further and said 'Now there are people who buy cups of posh coffee for less than that and I think people recognise that that is a phenomenal investment - it's not just a good investment for the student but actually it's a good investment for the taxpayer.'
The Shadow Business Secretary, Chukka Umunna, responded by saying, 'These bizarre remarks from Greg Clark show just how out of touch Tory ministers are on the huge costs and debts now facing students. They demonstrate a deeply dismissive attitude towards the real concerns which students and parents have on the cost of a degree.'
Umunna continued 'The Tory-led government trebled fees, cut funding for universities and saddled both students and the taxpayer with a mountain of debt. We have recently learned that the average student debt now stands at £43,500, more than double what it was under the old system.'
However, there have been concerns about the future of Higher Education if Labour were to win the election on May 7th. Many Universities have expressed concerns over funding if the Labour plan of reducing fees to £6000 were to go ahead. Clarke will respond today, according to The Times, by saying 'It would be a profound misjudgment to throw away a system that is delivering and bring the chaos of uncertainty into higher education finance that would result from the need to go cap-in-hand to the Treasury every year just to maintain each year's funding.'
By James Howell