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Johnson denies claim that tuition fees hit the poorest

Universities and science minister Jo Johnson has defended the government’s tuition fee rise in the face of a critical assessment from the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

An IFS report, Higher Education funding in England, published on 5 July, said that students from the poorest 40 per cent of families were graduating with the highest debt, at £57,000 for a three-year undergraduate degree.

This increase in debt has coincided with a change in policy in 2015 that saw maintenance grants replaced by loans. Students from the richest 30 per cent of families, who will not have needed maintenance grants, accrue around £43,000 of debt by comparison, the think tank said.

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