Tax returns

May 8, 2014

Australia invented the “income contingent contribution” concept, a much better way to see the student contribution.

When the Dearing Committee first debated the principle in 1996, the lifetime earnings advantage due to a degree was £400,000. That made free higher education a huge subsidy to the middle classes, and limited expansion. So the principle was right but the practice is wrong. It should not be a fee or a debt, but a tax – progressive, so that the more you earn the more you contribute to enable others to benefit as you did.

Some of us on the Dearing Committee urged the “graduate tax”, but ran out of time to consider it. The committee’s report recommended it for future consideration and it got it in 2004, when there were advocates in both the Department for Education and Skills and the Treasury, but Tony Blair did not want a “tax”. The financial accounting of “loans” at government level also got in the way of a rational and fair approach. And we still do not have a good and fair solution, and evidently it doesn’t even provide the necessary funding. Time to consider the “graduate tax” again?

Diana Laurillard
Via timeshighereducation.co.uk

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 6 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

Vice Principal DURHAM UNIVERSITY
Reader/Professor of Race and Education LEEDS BECKETT UNIVERSITY
Professor of Teacher Education LEEDS BECKETT UNIVERSITY

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Construction workers erecting barriers

Directly linking non-EU recruitment to award levels in teaching assessment has also been under consideration, sources suggest