Students should compete with each other to win a free education, says report which calls for tuition fees to be replaced with tax.

The Sun reports that students should be able to compete to win free university education, a new report suggests today in the latest attempt to solve the national row over tuition fees.

Today a report from free-market think-tank the Adam Smith Institute argues that the tuition fees regime should be overhauled to boost young people’s skills.

It says that students should have a financial incentive to gain top degrees in “core” subjects such as engineering and medicine which help grow the economy.

The study’s author Madsen Pirie writes: “A powerful incentive to encourage students to apply for ‘core’ subjects at quality universities would be given if those students awarded first-class honours degrees had their obligation to refund their education discharged.

“If a student graduated with a first-class honours degree in one or more of the ‘core’ subjects at a high-quality university, their education would be regarded as paid, with no liability to the subsequent graduate tax.”

The report points out that some youngsters are put off university because they “feel that they are going into debt” as a result.

But if fees were replaced by a tax, they would be less likely to worry about debt because the amount they would pay would be linked more directly to their salary.

The study suggests that graduates should pay a rate of 5 per cent once they earn £22,500, rising to 8 per cent for those making more than £30,000.

Read more Students should compete with each other to win a free education, says report which calls for tuition fees to be replaced with tax

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