A retrospective graduate windfall tax should be imposed on people who completed their degrees as long as 20 years ago, an influential network of academics has proposed.
David Halpern, founder of left-of-centre think-tank Nexus, made the proposal after a spirited debate on the group's Internet-based higher education discussion group.
Dr Halpern, a social and political scientist at Cambridge University, said "past graduate taxes" could be charged to solve the funding crisis. "Revenue would be raised from past graduates, perhaps in the form of an additional 1 or 2 per cent on National Insurance," he said.
"Doubtless the protest will go up that the graduates of ten and 20 years ago have already paid enough through tax, but this fails to take into account the differential advantage they receive from their community-funded education. Such a tax could be regarded as a graduate windfall tax."
Dr Halpern was influenced by Stuart White, one of Nexus's 1,000 members and professor of political science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who told the group: "There is a huge generational injustice. Shouldn't we be thinking about placing new taxes on those who have already been through HE and who enjoy its benefits?"