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Could means-tested fees help poorer students get into university?

Could means-tested fees help poorer students get into university?

In most countries, there is a chasm between the proportion of richer people who make it to higher education and the proportion of poorer people who do so. Introducing means-tested fees could be a way to address this.

Means-tested fees offer a “third way” between systems with no fees but tightly-controlled student numbers (like Scotland) and systems with fees that are so high they could be squeezing out good students (as in England).

We know poorer families tend to be more debt-averse, and that graduates from poorer families typically earn less than those from richer families. Means-testing is also cost-effective to governments because it focuses help on those least likely to repay all their student debt.

This is why the policy is spreading like wildfire across five continents, in Canada, Chile, Italy, Japan and South Africa. On closer inspection, it’s clear that each country stumbled across it independently.

Read more.


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