Back to news

NUS responds to the IFS report on higher education funding

Thursday 6 July 2017 Higher Education

NUS has responded to a report released by the Institute for Fiscal Studies on the impact of changes to the higher education funding model.

Last night, NUS Vice President (Higher Education) Amatey Doku called for an urgent review of the student funding system.

This is in response to a report released by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) which shows that reforms to funding in Higher Education has left students from least well-off backgrounds with debts in excess of £57,000 and that 45 per cent of all student debt will never be paid off.

Responding to the report at our annual Students’ Unions 2017 event in Birmingham, Amatey stated that “the report had confirmed what many in the student movement already knew – that the current student funding system is unfair and fundamentally broken.

"Saddling students with high debts, high interest rates and low repayment thresholds is a recipe for disaster for students, graduates and the taxpayer.”

The report states that many students will still be paying off their student loans as they enter their fifties: an age at which previous generations, who enjoyed a free education, might have been paying off their mortgages. This burden of debt means that not only will current students actually be less well off than their parents, but that the public purse will have to cover the cost of those loans that can never be repaid.

As this report shows, maintenance loans leave those from lower income backgrounds with by far the highest levels of debt. Even if these students go into high paying jobs, they will still be relatively worse off than their counterparts from more privileged backgrounds.

In the past week we have seen discontent within the government about their current approach to education funding. Now they must listen to the evidence before them and create a funding system that recognises education as a public good, makes sense for the tax payer and doesn’t shut people out of accessing it.

Speaking last night, Doku said, "Damien Green called for a “national debate” on tuition fees. I say, let’s have that debate. Let’s talk."