Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘demonising of tuition fees risks putting people off university’

Martin Lewis tells i News that Jeremy Corbyn’s promise to scrap tuition fees risks putting off more young people from applying to university if Labour fails to win the election.

Martin Lewis, founder of the MoneySavingExpert website, warned that political rhetoric around tuition fees was “demonising” the whole system by claiming graduates will be saddled with debt. His comments come after research showed that young people from poorer backgrounds were more likely to be deterred from applying to university due to the high levels of debt associated with it.

Speaking to i News, Mr Lewis said the biggest issue with tuition fees was that they were referred to as loans and associated with debt, when they are closer to a tax.

Labour’s manifesto pledge to scrap tuition fees is one of the party’s most popular policies, and according to polls has been instrumental in attracting young voters to the party. But Mr Lewis warned Mr Corbyn’s comments around tuition fees could be unhelpful, particularly if he is unable to make good on his promise to abolish them.

“I do agree, unfortunately, what Jeremy Corbyn is trying to do on tuition fees does have a side effect of demonising this supposed debt, which if Labour do not win, runs the risk of further exacerbating the fact that people from low-income backgrounds will be scared off from going to university,” Mr Lewis added.

Mr Lewis said it would be better if politicians referred to tuition fees not as a loan or debt, but as a “graduate contribution” – adding that it resulted in a “no win, no fee education”.

“We have to change the name,” he said. “Stop calling it a student loan, call it what every other country calls it, which is a graduate contribution system. Then every form of explanation is easy; you don’t owe money. If you earn over a certain amount you have to pay towards the cost of your education. The more you earn, the bigger your contribution. The less you earn, the less you contribute.”

Read more Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘demonising of tuition fees risks putting people off university’ 

Do you agree with Martin? Do you think the name needs to be changed to make it clear that it’s a contribution not a loan? Would it make any difference? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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