Tuition fees slashed? Experts give their views on Labour's pledge to students
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Higher Education experts have spoken out following Ed Miliband’s pledge to cut tuition fees to £6,000 – and there are concerns that the promise isn’t fully viable. The main concerns from Vice Chancellors and finance experts focus on the increased cost of student living and the viability of Labour funding such an extreme cut. Ed Miliband pledged to reduce tuition fees from £9,000 to £6,000 during a speech in Leeds last week, if his party is elected in the General Election in May. The current tuition fee cap was introduced for students starting their degrees in 2012 – meaning that those paying the heightened fees of £9,000 will begin to graduate this year. The current system is likely to see graduates saddled with a debt of £44,000, which they will begin to pay back after earning £21,000. Miliband said fees would be cut by autumn 2016, and promised universities an extra £2.7 billion a year to cover the costs involved. He also pledged to boost the Education Maintenance Allowance by £400 a year. He plans to pay for the lessened fee amount by reducing tax relief on pensions for the wealthy – namely, those earning more than £150,000 per year. The Vice Chancellor of Birmingham City University has expressed reservation about the promise, however, based on whether Labour could fulfil the commitment and what it would do to student numbers in the UK.
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