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The Times: It is time to think again about how we are funding higher education and student loans

Libby Hackett, Chief Executive of University Alliance, features in a letter to The Times calling on the Government to examine how to put funding of the higher education sector on a more sustainable footing.

Sir, After Mr Cable’s announcement that the sale of £12bn worth of student loans (July 23) is to be abandoned, the government should resist the temptation to reverse the uncapping of student numbers from 2015. These extra places are vital to ensure the UK can deliver the skilled graduates we need to meet the demands of the future economy.

We now have a chance to examine how to put funding of the higher education sector on a sustainable footing with a better student loan design — and not just relying on selling off the loans book. The public subsidy on existing student loans is too high, at 45 per cent and growing. It is possible to design a loan system that does not carry a subsidy (or a radically reduced subsidy) and can be offered to every student.

Ensuring these additional student places are funded in a sustainable way is crucial for students, universities and the UK — a degree is still by far the best route for most individuals.

Libby Hackett

University Alliance

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