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Tuition fees debate in Britain

The Scottish Executive is considering to abolish the “graduate endowment fee” introduced at higher education institutions in Scotland in 2001. The graduate endowment fee is a tuition fee which students have to pay only on completion of their course. The Executive fears that the fee is working against the objective to widen access to Scottish higher education, particularly in the case of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

At the same time, the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) released a report on the economic costs and benefits from international students. Cost and benefit is defined here very much from the point of view of the UK taxpayer and the UK economy. Unsurprisingly, the report concludes that the benefits far outweigh the costs. The report argues, however, in favour of a lowering of tuition fees for foreign students and of increased state subsidies to universities to make up for loss of income thus incurred (astonishingly drawing on what it sees as the successful German example). The authors hope that this way even more international students would enter UK universities. The cost of subsidies would still be lower than the economic gains in terms of student spending for cost of living, fiscal gains and employment of highly qualified labour.

HEPI report
Scottish executive