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Fresh concerns raised over £50,000 student debts

The poorest are hardest hit by recent reforms, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Today’s papers

Just days after cabinet secretary Damian Green suggested that tuition fee levels in England should be re-examined, student debt again dominates the front pages. Students in England will graduate with an average debt of more than £50,000 after interest rates on student loans are raised to 6.1 per cent, reports the BBC. It says that the Institute for Fiscal Studies has identified that those from the poorest households, who have more loans available to support them, will graduate with the greatest debts. Debts of £50,000 are now the norm, writes The Times. The poorest students will finish university with debts of £57,000, reports The Guardian in its front-page splash. It also runs an article by Jo Johnson, the universities and science minister, defending high tuition fees. Mr Johnson writes that the tuition fee system in England enables universities to offer more places to students and thereby improves access. Ten minutes ago, he also made a spirited appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, defending the system. Only yesterday did Peter Scott of University College London warn the leaders of English universities that they should prepare for a future devoid of tuition fee income. Meanwhile the Financial Times examines the issue from a public finances perspective. It writes that three-quarters of graduates will never fully repay their debts. Again, just days ago, it argued that plans to scrap tuition fees as part of an open revolt against austerity are appealing but misguided.

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