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\”Graduates \’must pay for education\’ \” – Herald

University graduates should pay towards the cost of higher education once they earn more than the average salary, according to a report by a think-tank.
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\r\nReform Scotland says higher education is not a free entitlement and should be contributed towards in a deferred fee.
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\r\nThe suggestion comes days after Education Secretary Mike Russell said fees are "off the agenda" in Scotland.
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\r\nIn England and Wales, a review could pave the way for higher fees when it reports back in the autumn.
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\r\nThe think-tank outlined its recommendation in its Power to Learn paper, which also calls for the abolition of the Scottish Higher and Further Education Funding Council and for the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) to be made a fully independent trust.
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\r\nMeans-testing student loans should be scrapped so that students can claim the maximum available, the report argues.
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\r\nGeoff Mawdsley, one of the report\’s authors, said: "At present, there are those who are academically able but financially unable to go to university but pay taxes which subsidise those who do go to university. While it is true to say that society as a whole benefits from having a well-educated workforce, the individual graduates themselves also benefit from the higher earnings they accrue."
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\r\nOn the proposed graduate fee, the report says: "Although graduates may earn more and subsequently pay more tax, many successful top rate taxpayers may not have gone to university, so higher tax contributions should not be seen as payment towards higher education.
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\r\n"There needs to be a better balance where the individual graduate as well as taxpayers contribute towards education."
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\r\nThe Scottish government would continue to fund a set proportion of the average cost of a degree course, depending on the student\’s chosen subject, with the rest funded by the graduate, Reform Scotland suggests.
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