Nearly three quarters of students may never pay back their students loans, as the current funding system represents "the worst of both worlds" according to a new report.
A government commission says that even graduates who earn average salaries in public sector professions will be unable to repay their student loans by the end of the 30-year repayment period.
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The Higher Education Commission, an independent body set up to monitor the university sector, says the current funding system is unsustainable and high numbers of graduates will never be able to fully repay their student debt.
In its report “Too Good To Fail”, the commission says “everybody feels like they are getting a bad deal” within the current system, with students viewing universities as “rolling in money,” despite institutions suffering a real terms erosion in their funding.
The authors were clear in their criticism, writing: "The current funding system represents the worst of both worlds.
"The Commission is particularly concerned that middle earners, such as health professionals, teachers or public sector workers who need a degree to enter their profession will not be likely to pay back their loan within the repayment period.”
The criticism comes just before a demonstration organised by students against tuition fees, which is due to take place in London on Wednesday.
The report adds experts fear 73% of students will not pay back their student loans before the end of the 30-year period.
The report made a number of recommendations including extending undergraduate-style funding to postgraduate degrees, allowing international students to work in the UK two years after graduating, and ensuring the system facilitates students from all backgrounds.
National Union of Students’ vice-president (higher education), Megan Dunn, said: "Forcing debt onto students as a way of funding universities is an experiment that has failed not just students but our country."
A spokesman for BIS added: "We always welcome recommendations from the sector and will look closely at the findings from the Commission."