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Ex Tory Chief: Tuition fees ‘unsustainable’, ‘pointless’ and only fund fat cat ‘gravy train’


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Nick Timothy, the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff until just two months ago, has attacked tuition fees, calling them an “unsustainable and ultimately pointless ponzi scheme”.

Timothy’s scathing attack is in light of a 2% drop in the amount of university places taken this year – despite A-Level results showing the first rise in top grades in six years.

Fees fund a “gravy train” for university bosses

Writing for his new column in the Daily Telegraph, Timothy said:

“We have created an unsustainable and ultimately pointless Ponzi scheme, and young people know it. With average debts of £50,000, graduates in England are the most indebted in the developed world. Even if they do not pay off the full amount, graduates face dramatic increases in marginal tax rates as their earnings increase”

In 2012, tuition fees rose from £3375 to £9000 per year. Today, graduates are left with an average debt of a shocking £57,000The Mirror reported that Timothy said:

Many school leavers are being “forced” into expensive degrees that fund a “gravy train” for astronomically-paid university bosses

You can’t deny statistics – unless you’re a Tory

Figures have shown that over 4,000 courses still have vacancies at 15 out of the 24 elite Russell Group universities. The Telegraph reported that:

Admissions tutors for sought-after courses such as Law and English Literature that typically require A* and A grades at A-level are poised to drastically lower their entry requirements in a bid to entice as many students as possible

This week has also seen the Tories raise the highest university interest rates from 4.6% to a huge 6.1%.

Alongside this information and the 2% drop in university places taken, despite the rise in top grades, it’s surely impossible to deny that there is a problem here. Well, not if you’re Tory universities minister Jo Johnson, who insists that debt was “absolutely no barrier” to applications.

Urgent reform required

This autumn, students will pay fees of up to £9,250 a year. Had Jeremy Corbyn been today’s Prime Minister, this autumn students would not be paying any tuition fees.

Timothy’s critical attack against tuition fees came as a shock to many, considering he was one of the main authors of the Tory manifesto, which had no mention of reforming tuition fees. Yet his analysis of the data seems to attempt to lead in the right direction – there is an urgent need for a reform.

Whether you choose to accept Timothy’s claim that astronomically high fees are simply feeding greedy university bosses or whether you chose to ignore him, the statistics show that this system is failing.

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