England's graduates left with £15,000 more debt than students in competitor countries

28 April 2016

UCU has called on the government to urgently review England's student finance system, which leaves graduates with higher levels of debt than other major English-speaking countries.

The union was speaking in response to a new report, 'Degrees of Debt', from the Sutton Trust which looks at student debt in eight major English-speaking countries, including Australia, Canada and the USA. It shows that the average English student now graduates with at least £15,000 more debt than students in other major competitor countries, even those at for-profit institutions in the USA.

UCU said that soaring debts risk putting talented students off going to university in the UK, and echoed the report's concerns about the impact of rising debt on part-time and mature students, whose numbers have dropped in recent years.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'It is deeply concerning that our student finance system leaves English graduates with significantly higher levels of debt than other large English-speaking countries. It is a system which weighs heaviest on the poorest students and which is clearly not working for part-time and mature students, whose numbers have dropped massively in recent years.

'The current debt levels risk putting too many talented students off higher education; we need the government to urgently review the way that students are funded, and put in place a secure, sustainable system which works for everyone, regardless of their circumstances.'

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