Scotland's independent inquiry into student finance this week asked whether education should be free to all, "and if so, who is all?" writes Olga Wojtas.
The committee, chaired by Andrew Cubie, was set up by the Scottish executive following political discord over the abolition of tuition fees north of the border. It will tackle the fees issue within a comprehensive review of Scotland's student finance system. By September 10, it wants written responses to five key questions:
Do students need more support towards living costs, and if so, in what way?
Should students contribute financially towards their tuition?
What student finance system will help to ensure high-quality further and higher education?
What student finance system will best promote access to further and higher education?
How should the Scottish finance system relate to the systems elsewhere in Britain?
Mr Cubie said: "We need to hear from students and potential students, parents, the education and business sectors and the general public. We hope that the (consultation) document is informative for those who have yet to form a view. For those with an opinion already, especially a strongly held one, I would be surprised if it does not make them stop and think."
The consultation document is being sent to a wide range of organisations and is being made available to the public in libraries, community centres, job centres and GPs' surgeries.
After the deadline for written responses, the committee will launch a series of public hearings across Scotland. It will then draft specific options for more detailed investigation.
Mr Cubie said the committee was confident it had identified the elements that would allow it to produce a comprehensive, independent and objective report with recommendations by the year's end.