Funding higher education


Sir, – Iain MacLaren (July 14th) writes that English fees are among the most unaffordable in the world; actually, they are among the most affordable.

The loan system used by English universities means that a student only begins paying back his loan when his salary can accommodate it. If a student never earns above £21,000 a year, he doesn’t have to repay a penny. The whole system is set up to be affordable.

But according to Mr MacLaren, it is better to fund universities by dint of a “proper” progressive income tax. This tells us, first, that Mr MacLaren doesn’t think a top rate of 45 per cent is high enough (all fleeing Scottish entrepreneurs welcome in Dublin/London). It also tells us that he thinks it is fairer for working-class kids to defray the education of pampered middle-class kids.

The top 30 universities in the world (as chosen by the Times of London) all have some form of university fees – shouldn’t that tell Mr MacLaren something? – Yours, etc,



Donnybrook Castle,


Dublin 4.