CBI chief says fees too low

January 16, 2004

Top-up fees of £3,000 are too small a contribution when graduates earn £15 billion more than non-graduates, the director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, Digby Jones, said this week.

Mr Jones told a press conference at the Halewood Jaguar plant in Liverpool on Tuesday that the higher education bill did not ask graduates to dig deep enough in helping to pay for a university education that would land them better paying jobs.

Mr Jones said a CBI survey found that companies last year paid £13 billion more to graduates than to non-graduates on their payrolls.

"I think it is only right that the people picking that up should put a little bit of it back into the system that got them there in the first place. My only worry about the current situation is that the bill does not go far enough."

The general taxpayer should also be contributing more to the cost of ensuring universities are properly funded, Mr Jones said.

He added that employers should "do their bit" towards covering the costs of higher education through bursaries and scholarships.

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