Speaking at the University of East Anglia, the Business Secretary Vince Cable praised the policy of raising the cap on undergraduate tuitions fees to £9,000.
Whilst he accepted the Liberal Democrat pledge to not raise tuition fees should never have been made, he remarked that the rise had been “good for universities”.
Figures which show no fall in applications to study at universities, in addition to the stronger revenue stream available to institutions as a result of the fees rise were cited by the Cabinet Minister as reasons for scoring the policy “nine out of ten.”
However, the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) last year concluded that Government justifications for enabling universities to charge up to £9,000 per academic year in tuition fees did not stand up.
Simon Wright, Member of Parliament for Norwich South, said: “I’m pleased that Vince Cable stopped uncapped fees and reformed the loan repayment system so that it works more like a time limited graduate tax.
“Nonetheless… I did not feel I could support an increase in fees and voted against it when I had the chance.”
Clive Lewis, Labour parliamentary candidate for Norwich South, commented: “I would like to see tuition fees scrapped and replaced with a far more progressive and less inhibitive system.
“In the meantime my party’s promise to cut tuition fees by a third, from £9,000 to £6,000, is a step in the right direction and in stark contrast to the coalition”.
Speaking to Concrete, Vince Cable said that the Conservatives desired an increase of the price of tuition fees to £15,000, with the threshold for repayment lower than £21,000.
He judged from his visitations to university campuses “that the atmosphere has totally transformed in the last three years because students now understand the system of fee loans or graduate contributions”. Dr Cable further sensed “that much of the hostility that was undoubtedly very strong three years ago has gone away because I think students now get it.”
Regarding the Government’s decision to privatise the Student Loan Book, the Business Secretary called the move “a perfectly sensible and practical thing to do”.
According to the Business Secretary, protests across campuses demonstrating opposition to the student loan sell-off were ‘totally distorted’.