Tony Blair's shameful secrets 3

November 29, 2002

An average lifetime premium for graduates of £400,000 is the standard argument in favour of top-up fees. This ignores the fact that there will be wide variation by sex, age, educational background, ethnic background, location and so on.

For example, an Asian woman graduating from her local inner-city university would be unlikely to receive a premium of anything like £400,000 over her lifetime.

The probable result is social polarisation. At one end will be universities with students who expect to have a considerably higher lifetime premium than £400,000, at the other universities where students expect to have a considerably lower one. This will be a two-tier system, in clear opposition to another government policy - widening participation.

Judith Glover
School of Business and Social Sciences
University of Surrey Roehampton

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