he director of the Social Market Foundation says university tuition fees should rise to stop the decline of the higher education sector.
Students across the UK are waking up to their A-level results and are receiving their grades that will help progress them onto university.
Students could face more competition for university places this year due to a growth in 18-year-olds in the population and international demand, it has been suggested.
Writing in the Times, James Kirkup said universities are taking in more international students because they “pay more”.
This isn’t easy, but it is right. Higher education needs more money and it should come from graduates rather than taxpayers as a whole.
He said “typically” international students pay £20,000 when domestic students pay around £9,000.
Mr Kirkup said: “On current trends before the end of the decade, British universities will get more tuition-fee revenue from foreign students than from British ones.
“This is a serious risk for universities, and Britain. For universities, it makes their income dependent on geopolitics and UK immigration policy, both of which are unpredictable and often irrational.
“The answer here is simple and difficult: raise tuition fees. Restoring them to their 2017 value would mean students paying £11,765 a year, adding almost £3 billion to each year’s cohort.”
Mr Kirkup said this would require a change to the loan repayment scheme, and said one idea is to introduce a stepped rate of loan repayments.
“A higher cap on fees should also come with renewed efforts to encourage some sort of market in degrees, where courses that are cheaper to provide or which lead to lower-paid careers cost students less,” he said.
“This isn’t easy, but it is right. Higher education needs more money and it should come from graduates rather than taxpayers as a whole.”
Mr Kirkup said while the conclusion is “awkward”, the alternative is the “decline of a sector that should be one of the best things about Britain”.