The Secretary to the Board of Independent Methodist Schools has said that plans to raise university tuition fees are probably necessary in light of the state of Britains economy.
Graham Russell admitted that the proposed increases outlined in the Browne Review this week were unwelcome but said that higher education in Britain was still very good value for money and that he did not expect a rise in fees to deter students from university.
Lord Browne, the former head of BP, recommends lifting the present cap on tuition fees, set at £3,920. The move would allow universities to charge students up to £6,000 in fees. Universities wanting to charge higher than that would be subject to a levy on the fees and made to use part of their increased income on supporting poorer students.
Mr Russell said: There can be no doubt that a significant increase in the debt with which students will leave university will give many potential students and their families pause for thought.
Such increases are bound to be unwelcome, but are probably necessary for the economy of the country.
The changes mean that students would graduate with a debt of around £30,000, although they would not be required to pay it back until they started earning £21,000.
At present, students are required to begin repayments as soon as they earn £15,000. Under the recommendations, any unpaid debt would be written off after 30 years.
Mr Russell continued: Higher education does of course remain very good value for money for young people and I suspect it is unlikely that any change in fees will be a serious deterrent to them, particularly when the current alternative employment options are very limited.
Also, of course, safeguards are being proposed about repayment schedules which will help to lessen the pain.
The Church of England welcomed the efforts made in the review to ensure universities were adequately funded while still being accessible to poorer students.
However it added that some students may be put off pursuing a university degree because of the increased costs.
The fear is that the level of debt now envisaged will deter, even if there are generous repayment conditions, said a Church of England spokesperson.
"The key question now is how the Government will respond to the review and whether it will make its response based on all six principles in the report." Christian Today