The hidden dangers of higher tuition fees (2 of 2)

December 9, 2010

I was a vice-chancellor for 20 years and regarded it as part of my brief to anticipate the next change in government policy and how to mitigate its effects on my university. In that I believe I was modestly successful. In this light, here are some of the outcomes I perceive occurring if the present tuition-fee proposals go ahead.

By making differential fees possible in England, Scotland and Wales, devolution becomes a nonsense. Future liability depends on how students are treated on admission in national terms, regardless of their subsequent contribution to the economy of the supposedly "United" Kingdom, when differential tax-raising powers are also envisaged.

Second, the magnitude of the "hike" will cause all parents and potential students to adopt strategies espoused by rational economists: that is, if they can, they will minimise present and future outgoings by funding their children to go abroad to avoid future penalties, even if their offspring subsequently return and secure work in this country.

The proposals will result in a migration of British-born talent (why are there so many Australian dentists in the UK? Soon there will be more).

I could go on, but I will refrain from so doing. If I needed the income, I would set up as a tax-avoidance consultant at a modest fee (if interested, my email address can be found online).

Raoul Franklin, Oxford.

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