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Student finance in England needs urgent overhaul, says UCU

22 July 2014

The time has come for government to seriously reconsider the current system of tuition fee loans in English higher education, UCU said today.

Speaking in response to the report from the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee, which highlighted 'persistent miscalculation' of the student loan debt as a major issue, the union said that the current system is not only expensive for students, but bad value for the taxpayer and unsustainable in the long term.

The report concluded that the loans system is 'approaching a tipping point for [...] financial viability', and UCU said that this instability is having a negative impact on universities and their staff.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'We have been calling on government to review the tuition fee loans system in England for some time now. It is quite clear to us that the system is unsustainable, costly for students and bad value for the taxpayer.

'While the financial viability of the loans system remains in doubt, it is difficult for universities to plan ahead with confidence. This obviously has a knock-on effect on the job security of staff, not to mention the financial security of students.

'This report is yet more proof that the time has come for an urgent and radical overhaul of student finance; we would like to see clear commitments to this in each of the parties' manifestos as we approach the next election.'

Last updated: 10 December 2015