MPs' muddled repayment logic 2

July 18, 2003

Thomas Moston's explanation of why he didn't want to go to university (Why I.., THES, July ) shows how many school-leavers would react given an alternative to student debt and more academic courses.

Top-up fees may encourage more young people to take a work-based route, especially if modern apprenticeships were expanded to reach the government target of 28 per cent of the age range by next year.

Students could then take foundation degrees at further education colleges.

Further education would be redefined as higher education and large parts of HE would turn into FE.

Of course, neither apprenticeships nor foundation degree expansion are likely to happen. But if they did, how many more school-leavers would prefer earning to learning and more debt?

Patrick Ainley
Reader in learning policy
University of Greenwich

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