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Women ‘savvy’ about tuition-fee debt, says Tatlow

Women should not be put off going to university as tuition fees rise, Pam Tatlow, chief executive for the university thinktank, Million plus, has urged.

Speaking on BBC radio 4’s “Women’s Hour” programme on 18 August, Tatlow discussed the effects of raised tuition fees and increased student debt on the number of women university students.

“I think women will be quite savvy about this,” said Tatlow. “What they’re going to have to think about is what the terms of the loans are—if you don’t pay them off, they’re going to be written off after 30 years.”

Tatlow argued that as women are more likely to take career breaks and will “unfortunately earn less than men”, they will also take longer to pay off their debt—in some cases they would not do so at all.

[In February, talking to student protestors in Nottingham on 19 February, science minister David Willetts said, “As women earn less than men, and as these changes are actually quite progressive in that people earning less than £21,000 do not pay back at all, the evaluations show that it is men who are going to pay back more than women.”]

Tatlow said the coalition government’s changes to higher education did not add up to “the most marvellous system…

“I mean, really, the debts are going up because the money that people need to borrow is going up because the government has cut 80 per cent of funding for universities,” she said.