Letter: Debt-free collection

September 28, 2001

Charging a market interest rate on student loans could apparently raise £400 million to reduce student poverty ("Market-rate loans proposed", THES , September 21).

But who would contribute the greatest share of this sum? Students with low-paid parents, and therefore large loans, who go on to low-paid jobs after graduation and have to pay interest on their loan for longer. No wonder the government adviser quoted in the story wanted to remain anonymous.

I assume we want to get money to students in need and to get the money back from graduates in well-paid jobs. Given British attitudes to debt, access suffers if students expect they will have a large identifiable sum to "pay back" after graduation.

A supplementary tax paid on income above average earnings for, say, the first five or ten years after graduation would raise money without giving students the psychological burden of debt.

Richard Green

Department of economics

University of Hull

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