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NUS responds to IFS report on tuition fee reforms

Wednesday 5 July 2017

The IFS have today released a report which shows that reforms to Higher Education Funding have left students from the least well of backgrounds with debts in excess of £57,000, and that 45% of all student debt will never be paid off.

Responding to the report, NUS Vice President for Higher Education, Amatey Doku, said: "Today's IFS report is the latest piece of damning evidence that confirms the government's current higher education funding system is failing. This research reinforces what NUS has always said: saddling students with high debts, high interest rates and low repayment thresholds is a recipe for disaster for students, graduates, and for the taxpayer.

The report states that many students will still be paying off their student loans as they enter their 50s: 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. NUS fiercely opposed the abolishment of maintenance grants and we hope that this report will wake the government up to how deeply unfair these changes have been.

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 education”


Amatey Doku is available for interview, please get in touch with the NUS press office on 07866695010 or


The National Union of Students is a voluntary membership organisation which makes a real difference to the lives of students and its member students' unions.

We are a confederation of 600 students' unions, amounting to more than 95 per cent of all higher and further education unions in the UK. Through our member students' unions, we represent the interests of more than seven million students. We promote, defend and extend the rights of students and develop and champion strong students’ unions.