Earning and learning

September 15, 2000

Sarah Fitzpatrick's claim that graduates earn substantially more than non-graduates over their lifetime needs revising in the light of the increasing numbers of mature students (Opinion, THES, September 1).

I began studying for my first degree at 37 and went on to take a masters and study full time towards a doctorate.

Not only do I now earn substantially less than if I had stayed in employment and worked my way up the career ladder, I have also lost several years' worth of National Insurance contributions, which will affect my pension.

A blanket graduate tax is not a sensible option and cannot be justified on the basis of increased earnings as many of us will never be able to make up the financial ground we have lost by choosing to study.

Carole Hanson Registry, University of Brighton

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