Liz Shutt, Head of Policy for University Alliance, said in response to the IPPR report – Reaching higher: Reforming student loans to broaden access to postgraduate study published today.
“We agree that we need a smarter loan design to sort out the post-graduate and part-time funding vacuum and deliver a more sustainable loan system that will enable us to develop and grow global talent – the key to the future success of the UK.
“Half of postgraduate students cannot access loans, there has been a major decline in part-time study and the public subsidy on existing student loans is too high: for every £1 the government gives out in student loans, they will get 55p back. University Alliance warns that this is creating an unsustainable funding system that could result in cuts to student places or underinvestment in high quality programmes.
“This is why we developed our Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) proposals earlier this year to facilitate universal loans for the first time, including postgraduate students. It maintains a £21,000 earning threshold to protect low earners but would change the repayment rate once over the threshold. By improving the way loans are repaid it is possible to create a system where the vast majority of graduates pay off their loan more quickly and in full, bringing down the public subsidy on loans to virtually zero.”