Lord Browne

Ian Mulheirn at the Social Market Foundation has done the maths on the distributional impact of the Browne review proposals. The startling graph is shown below — note that those in the middle of the income scale pay more than those at the high end. This is Browne’s Middle Class Hump.

The two stand out points are: Read more

One big test for any reform to higher education funding is whether students should be allowed to pay fees upfront. It exposes the political divide over how progressive the system should be. Here are the pros and cons:

Reasons for a ban: Allowing students to pay fees upfront is a rich kids charter. Those from wealthy families will be able to sidestep the burden of repayments placed on those from poor or middle income households. It will give the lucky a leg-up while giving the middle classes a sack of debt to carry. It will give a free pass to those without credit constraints while placing a tax on those who do. For all these reasons, it does not pass the political fairness test. Those who pay upfront will pay less in total than those who are forced to repay over 30 years. A duke will pay less than his university contemporary who turns to teaching in a primary school. Read more