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UCU responds to proposals for privatising student loans

23 October 2014

UCU today criticised proposals to replace government-backed student loans with contracts where students pay universities a proportion of their lifetime earnings.

Responding to a report from the Institute of Economic Affairs - Universities Challenged: funding higher education through a free-market 'graduate tax' - the union said that the idea would lead to a narrower curriculum and push up the cost of a university education for many.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'The proposed levy would incentivise universities to offer courses with the highest financial returns, leading to a narrower range of subjects for study. This is bad for student choice and the resilience of our economy.

'While we agree with the report's conclusion that the current system of loans is not working, we don't believe that trying to squeeze more money out of students is the answer to the problem; graduates should not be viewed as cash cows for universities. Government needs to look at how to improve student funding in ways that benefit taxpayers, rather than removing them from the equation altogether.'

Last updated: 10 December 2015