University Alliance has commented today on the Guardian Higher Education Network Blog about creating a sustainable future for Higher Education. The blog has launched a poll following comments by David Willetts, the former universities and science minister, that universities should be given the opportunity to buy their own student loans.
In response, Professor Steve West, chair of University Alliance, has outlined our concerns with David Willetts’ proposals, explaining, “While there is of course merit in looking at ways of sorting out the unsustainability of higher education funding, making this policy would have unintended consequences. Firstly, it would reward universities that take low risk students, those from wealthy backgrounds, as they would more likely to get high-paying jobs and be able to repay their loans off more quickly. These students would create a safer and more lucrative loan book with higher rates of return.
“On the flip-side such a policy would penalise those universities that take students from non-traditional backgrounds who are more likely to stay within the region they study and go into lower-salaried graduate work.”