The Church of England is concerned that plans to raise university fees will deter some students from considering entering into higher education.
The report from former BP chief Lord Browne proposes allowing universities to set their own fees, opening up the possibility of institutions charging students £7,000 a year. The move would lift the present cap on tuition fees, set at £3,920 a year. Graduates would begin paying back their debt only once they started earning more than £21,000, higher than under the present system, which requires graduates to begin repayments at £15,000.
Maximum maintenance grants to students from households with incomes of less than £25,000 would be increased from £2,906 to £3,250, while part-time students would also be eligible for loans to help cover their fees.
Any unpaid debt would be written off by the government after 30 years, instead of 25 years.
Lord Browne unveiled the proposals yesterday. He said he did not expect students to be put off by the higher fees.
There is a lot of evidence that students dont just look at debt, but at the prize at the end as well, which is significant earning potential, he was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
If you look at the 40% of students who study part-time, we dont offer them anything, but they still come and study part-time.
A spokesman for the Church of England suggested some students would think twice about going to university as a result of the changes.
He said: We welcome the Browne Review's aims of ensuring that Universities are adequately funded and that no student is deterred from going to University by the costs of Higher Education, and in particular the principles that everyone who has the potential should be able to benefit from Higher Education and that repayments should be affordable.
The fear is that the level of debt now envisaged will deter, even if there are generous repayment conditions.
"The key question now is how the Government will respond to the review and whether it will make its response based on all six principles in the report." Christian Today