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Top-up fees

(13 Posts)
SueW Tue 20-Jan-04 13:18:15

The drifting on the conversation about what you take home reminded me - I caught part of the TB Big Conversation on the news last night. I didn't see it properly though and I think someone challenged him on how it was fair on poorer families that top-up fees had to be paid. He said something about graduates being taxed afterwards at an extra rate to pay but I'm not sure if it was the editing or my not seeing it properly or the usual case of a politician not answering the question set but I couldn't see the correlation.

Surely if a post-graduation tax is to be introduced, the government should fund the whole of the fees and then claim it back afterwards, leaving the student/their parents only living expenses to pay for?

Can someone clear it up for me?

JanH Tue 20-Jan-04 13:30:09

Sue, I think that's right. The top-up fees will not be paid upfront but taken out of tax later - so the family income is irrelevant. dd1 (currently at uni and paying the £1000+ tuition) interprets it like this and thinks this is fairer and I do too. (Haven't swotted up though.)

Although...I was half-listening to a radio item yesterday (You and Yours maybe) about a family where elder child is already at uni paying the £1000+ but younger child will be liable for topup fees and they were saying "but your parents will have to make more sacrifices for you to go" - which seems wrong. The older child did say he would come out with less debt than the younger one though...clear as mud, really!

suedonim Tue 20-Jan-04 16:13:16

As I understand it, there will be no money required upfront but the loan will begin to be repaid once a certain threshold of income is reached (??18K). The ex-student, at a time when they may well need to be paying out for rent/mortgage, and maybe a family, wil be paying a whopping 41% of a relatively low income to the govt. Not that the govt calls it a graduate tax, of course. It won't affect me in that we're in Scotland, although there may be a knock-on effect, plus uni places for 2005 could be harder to come by as students forgo a gap year to get in before the new rules.

Funny how Blair can't find 1bn quid for higher education yet he didn't have any trouble getting money to go to war. Not that he appears to have spent it on body armour or anything useful.....

marialuisa Tue 20-Jan-04 16:26:26

This system will be better than the one i'm experiencing. I'm repaying £170 per month under the original student loans agreement. This amount doesn't take into account my income (not high at all) or my childcare costs (quite high).
i'd be much happier to borrow under the proposed system and repay £10 per week for a longer period of time (esp as the loans will be interest free!)

SueW Tue 20-Jan-04 17:52:09

Suedonim - why won't it affect you in Scotland? What if your children choose to go to uni in England or Wales or will it still not matter?

What will happen if English children go to a Scottish uni?

There's a similar scheme in Australia I think -where students pay an extra 1% in tax but there's a limit on how long they pay. Actually that might be completely wrong but it happens somewhere I've lived or know a lot of people from!!!!! Hopeless, me?!

Anyway, it makes more sense to me to tax afterwards although 41% seems very high - why 41%? I'd rather have paid an extra couple of per cent in tax when I first started work and mainly blew it on pubbing and clubbing than suddenly find later on that I needed to pay more.

suedonim Tue 20-Jan-04 20:06:03

Sorry, Sue, I meant Scottish Uni, rather than Scottish students. If a Scottish student goes to an English uni then they pay the English fees. Some Scots academics are concerned that Scots will be denied places at uni here because of an influx of English students taking advantage of the lower fees here. And also the Scottish unis themselves will be at a disadvantage as they won't have access to any extra money. It's a bit of a mess really and I can't understand why some Scots MP's are voting *for* the new system.

An article I saw said that the 41% 'tax' situation arises because you'd be paying 23% income tax, 11% NI and the other 7% is the loan repayment. Not much left to live on!

SueW Tue 20-Jan-04 20:11:54

7% loan repayment! That's outrageous.

tallulah Wed 21-Jan-04 18:02:11

The loan repayment, as I understand it, is 9% of income above the £18k threshold.

eidsvold Thu 22-Jan-04 21:38:39

we have it in Aus and it went through unchallenged. I had to pay fees for my last year at university. It was graded by the type of degree you were doing. You had two choices, pay it up front (term by term or yearly - and receive a discount) or ( like me who could not afford to do that) pay it off through your tax once you graduated and earnt over a certain amount. Very few bursaries etc going for students too.

Most were given some help towards living costs - based on parental income - but most students had part time jobs of some kind or worked like mad all summer and any holiday to save up for the next year.

bloss Fri 23-Jan-04 08:18:56

Message withdrawn

Hulababy Fri 23-Jan-04 08:50:25

My main concern over all of this fee business is simple.

The governments say that everyone is entitled to a susistence level of income to live on - either from wages (minimum wage) or from benefits. Except, it would seem, students. Why? Why do students have to borrow money to eat? Why do they have to borrow money to live somewhere?

Whinge over!

musica Fri 23-Jan-04 09:07:36

I think the top up fees are a better solution than the current one, as I think finding the money upfront will put people off. However, the prospect of debt would also put people off applying. One good thing is that the debt will be written off after 25 years, so it's not like it will be hanging over you until you retire.

My solution would be a bit different, but a bit radical. I would leave all applications for uni till post-A Level, thereby reducing the horrid stress I see in my sixth formers, who have to get AAA or AAB to get into their first choice. Then once they've got their results and know how many points they have they can then apply to fewer institutions. Obviously this would take a while to process, so they could either start the university year in January or the following September. Meanwhile, the prospective student lives at home, and undertakes some sort of community based employment - maybe being a teaching assistant, maybe cleaning in a hospital, and instead of being paid a wage, they earn their uni fees.

Obviously don't know the maths, but I can't help feeling that working beforehand would avoid the level of debt, and also make going to uni more valued, thereby reducing the drop out rate, which is one of the problems at the moment.

Hulababy Fri 23-Jan-04 09:20:47

It is the amount of debt that bothers me for them.

My sister is just finishing and under the current system she is now £9k in debt, plus £8 for this year's post grad course (plus £3k living expenses) and she has worked throughout all of her training. So before she starts she is over £20k in debt. What kind of start is that?

The new system will increase that debt by at least £2k a year, and living expenses will rise too as normal. It is already about £60 a week for student digs, and then they're aren't flash ones. And they do have to eat - why should they have to borrow for that???

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