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\”\’Graduates should pay for their education\’\” – Scotsman

By Andy Philip

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UNIVERSITY graduates should pay towards the cost of higher education once they earn more than the average salary, according to a report out today.
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\r\nThink-tank Reform Scotland says higher education is not a free entitlement and should be contributed towards in a deferred fee. The group\’s suggestion comes days after education secretary Mike Russell said fees are "off the agenda" in Scotland.
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\r\nThe group 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 to be made a fully independent trust.
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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."
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\r\n"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\nThe report adds: "Although graduates may earn more and pay more tax, many successful top-rate taxpayers may not have gone to university, so higher tax 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\nOn the SQA, the report says: "There is no requirement for a state provider of qualifications, especially one which has such a clear conflict of interest by both accrediting and awarding qualifications.