Proposals for university funding: 20% levy on top of tuition fees. This autumn ministers are to consider the proposal for university funding under which high-earning graduates could be levied 20% taxes as well as tuition fees. Under the system of overcharging, graduates on low incomes may pay nothing, middle-income may pay their fees plus interest and high-earning graduates may face £2,000 tax on top of their tuition fees.
The system comes as ministers have warned that more than 160,000 applicants could miss out on university places this year. David Willetts, the higher education minister, wrote in his custom essay: "There has been a surge in applications so sadly there are going to be a significant number of young people who apply for university and don't get a place".
David Willetts predicts that the number of those pupils who would not enter universities this year may be higher than the previous one. However, one university vice-chancellor, professor David Green of the University of Worcester, supposes that compared to 125,000 students two years ago, this year 200,000 students would fail to get places.
David Green said: "We can be absolutely certain that many of the people who aren't able to get into university this year will have good qualifications and in all previous years over the last 10 or 15, they would have got into university with the same qualifications. Surely that is just plain wrong".
The increased number in applications is ascribed partially to a lack of job opportunities available for school-leavers. The results of A-level are expected to show the difference in the level of education between pupils who were privately educated and state school students.
Under the university funding proposal not only 20% levy is under consideration among ministers, but also a rise in tuition fees. The government is vehemently opposed to a tax in fear that many students may start seeking places for getting higher education abroad.
Vince Cable, the business secretary, says: "What we are talking about is that the graduate contribution, currently £3,000 or whatever, flat rate, collected out of people's payroll, if you've got a low income you take longer to pay it. In future that contribution should be linked to people's earnings. That's the suggestion." Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, supports him.
Recently Willetts said that graduates must make a "bigger contribution" to the cost of their education. "It surely can't be right that a teacher or care worker or research scientist is expected to pay the same graduate contribution as a top commercial lawyer or surgeon or City analyst whose graduate premium is so much bigger." Aaron Porter, president of the National Union of Students, adds: "Vince Cable is right that any changes to the system of higher education funding must make it fairer for students".