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Theresa May announces plans to freeze tuition fees

Prime Minister Theresa May plans to freeze tuition fees in England to help university students with student finance, following an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on 1st October.

Tuition fees will be frozen at £9,250 and fee repayment thresholds will also increase so graduates will pay back loans when they start to earn £25,000 as opposed to £21,000.

The Prime Minister further pledged to create an extension for the Help to Buy scheme that helps young people to buy newly-made homes. The expansion means £10 billion will go to an additional 135,000 buyers to help them buy their own home. Recipients of the scheme can get a mortgage with a deposit of as little as 5%.

May has pointed out that the Conservatives wished to see universities lower the entry fee for students by offering varied, cheaper courses; however, this has not happened and has thus prompted them to change their stance on tuition fees.

A desperate attempt by the Tories to kick the issue into the long grass.
Angela Rayner, Shadow Education Secretary

The Labour Party has called the Prime Minister’s change of plan “desperate”.

Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner, said: “(The move was) a desperate attempt by the Tories to kick the issue into the long grass because they have no plans for young people and no ideas for our country.”

Following her loss of majority in the House of Commons, Theresa May said that the Conservatives need to “listen to voters”, with attention on younger people. Now the previous £250 tuition fees increase for the year 2018-19 to £9,500 has been halted meaning that fees will remain at a maximum of £9,250 per year.

In order to battle tuition costs and encourage more young people to consider higher education, ideas such as fast-track, two-year degree courses have been suggested. The government has also considered cutting interest rates on loans and introducing lower fees for students on certain degree courses in which there is a skills shortage, such as Engineering.

Most graduates won’t clear their loans in full before it’s wiped.
Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert founder

Founder of the Money Saving Expert website, Martin Lewis, has said: “As most graduates won’t clear their loans in full before it’s wiped – by reducing what they repay each year, you reduce what they repay in total too.”

Theresa May told Andrew Marr: “By looking at it (student finance) again we will be looking at the issues that people are raising, we will be looking at where the system has worked, we will be looking at the concerns that people have.”

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