Lurking in the background

March 5, 2015

In his letter “No tuition fees on principle” (26 February), Jack Douglas makes a logical error that does not help his case.

If university students are funded by loans repayable by those individuals from their future income after graduation, what relevance do the less-privileged backgrounds of some students (reflecting the past circumstances of their parents) have to the argument over tuition fees given that nothing has to be paid up front whatever one’s family’s financial situation? How does this state of affairs price the poorest students out of higher education? Does the evidence from recent cohorts support such a view? It certainly does not.

This is quite distinct from the argument as to whether tuition fees are justifiable on moral or economic grounds on the one hand, or whether being responsible for their own fees motivates undergraduates to focus more on their studies on the other. What evidence is available to help in resolving this conundrum?

Richard M. S. Wilson
Emeritus professor of business administration and financial management
Loughborough University

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

Worried man wiping forehead
Two academics explain how to beat some of the typical anxieties associated with a doctoral degree
A group of flamingos and a Marabou stork

A right-wing philosopher in Texas tells John Gill how a minority of students can shut down debates and intimidate lecturers – and why he backs Trump

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes