In 2011, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced a new
era of higher education on the island. Competition between
universities should be increased and budgets cut while students
finally understand studying as an investment that pays a return in
their future career. To realize this, the government raised the maximum tuition fee level that
institutes can charge by a factor of 3 up to £9.000 (€10.170).
Meanwhile, different measures were introduced to make sure that
low income students are not scared off getting a degree by
expensive tuition fee rates. Cameron launched access programs à la Robin Hood and expanded
borrowing facilities for all students. Over a total of 30 years,
students should return the money they borrowed from the state,
paying interest each year.
Early repayment penalty abandoned
The latter now proves especially controversial. Cameron's left
liberal coalition partner wanted to impose a penalty for lenders
that repay their debt early. This way it would be avoided that
wealthy students substantially decrease their interest payments by
paying back their loan in one lump-sum after graduation.
In the end, it appears that Cameron's Conservatives got their
way since there will be no such penalty installed after all. This
may both boost the government's treasure in the short-term and
significantly benefit students from rich economic backgrounds.