Scottish Conservatives defend plans to end free university tuition

The BBC is reporting that the Scottish Conservative leader has defended her party’s plans to end free university tuition in Scotland.

Ruth Davidson wants graduates to pay back £6,000 towards their education once they are earning more than £20,000 a year. 

She said the money would be put towards post-16 education, and replacing the cash she said had been “ripped out” of the bursary system by the SNP.

Scotland’s other three main parties are committed to free university tuition. 

Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme ahead of the Holyrood election on 5 May, Ms Davidson said it was “shocking” that children from poorer backgrounds were half as likely to go to university in Scotland than England, where students pay tuition fees of up to £9,000.

She said: “What we want to introduce is a scheme by which, once you have graduated and once you have a degree, once you are in a job earning over a certain amount of money, over £20,000, you start to pay back a contribution to the education that you received. 

“It would be phased in so it would be only new graduates. We wouldn’t backdate it to anybody.

“On average, people with a degree earn £100,000 more over their lifetime that those people who don’t have one.

“If you continue in low-paid employment then you don’t have to pay this back. That is why it is a graduate contribution.”

…Ms Davidson said her party’s plan for a charge in Scotland would be capped at £1,500 for every year of a graduate’s degree for the full term of the next parliament…

More at: Ruth Davidson defends ‘graduate charge’ plan


Assuming the money saved stays in education, does Ruth Davidson make a fair point in suggesting there are better ways of using it than giving all graduates a free degree course, irrespective of their wealth or future earnings?

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Categories: Higher Education, Policy, Scotland and Secondary.

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