It’s been a while…
I’ve posted a few times about the odd Bistromath of student fees a few times, and some of the odd, unexpected and weird consequences of having different fees and loans schemes across the UK.
Generally, this has been receiving less coverage in the press of late, but I found this piece from February reporting that the responsible government department needed to be given an extra £4.1 billion just this year to cover the shortfall in funding caused by lower than expected loan repayments. I would not be surprised to see some future governments to sell the loan book for below value for instant access to needed cash, but it is clear that the student loans and fees scheme now present in England is substantially adding to the UK debt and deficit.
Here is the quote from the fifth paragraph:
Treasury figures – also highlighted by Labour – show that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has been given an extra £4.1bn this financial year to cover losses as a result of lower-than-expected repayments from student loans.
How can Scotland afford to provide free higher education? Apparently, it’s cheaper than charging students fees in England and Wales – thanks to the fee levels and loan repayment scheme that was agreed. Don’t know how I missed this when it came out a couple of weeks ago, but belatedly:
Labour slam ‘chaos and confusion’ in Government’s higher education policy following report stating there was a ‘£1 billion a year black hole’ at its heart (Independent)
Not much else to say really…
Recently I discussed the incredibly strange math that has emerged as a result of devolution and increased student fees. There has apparently been a dip in applications in England as a result – a dip not matched in Scotland where there currently are no fees (for Scottish students at least.)
In the Hitch-Hiker books by Douglas Adams, one particularly improbably space ship is powered by bistromathics: the strange energy generated by repeated attempts to split a restaurant bill amongst a group of people sharing a table. No matter what, the numbers never seem to add up, but instead follow their own weird science.