Vince Cable writes to party members about higher education
Today, Nick Clegg has laid out our record on higher education.
It’s a record that demonstrates that we are committed to helping everyone to get on in life, whether that’s through university, apprenticeships, or work. And it’s a record that shows that the difficult decisions we made back in 2010 are having a positive effect on those students we most need to encourage into university.
I know that tuition fees have been hard to discuss on the doorstep. We have expressed regret that it was not possible to deliver in office a commitment made in opposition. But we have, in government, created a fairer system in which no one pays upfront fees, and payments operates like a form of graduate tax, payable in a progressive way linked to income. So let’s make clear what our record is:
This year, we have had the highest application rates to university ever and the highest number of applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Over half a million students will be entitled to receive grants for living costs that they will never have to pay back.
Up to a quarter of the lowest paid graduates will end up paying back less than they would have under the previous system.
Nearly 200,000 students studying their first degree part time won’t have any up-front fees to pay, as they did under Labour.
Most importantly, today our most disadvantaged teenagers are 70% more likely to go to university than they were 10 years ago.
This doesn’t wipe the slate clean. But voters need to know the facts. Their children and grandchildren, no matter who they are, are more likely to attend university because of Liberal Democrats in government.
And the savings we have made have enabled us to protect adult education, and to plough more resources into apprenticeships for many of the 60% who do not go to universities.