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MPs launch review of student loans

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The Treasury Committee, chaired by former education secretary Nicky Morgan, is to launch an inquiry into the student loan system.

The Committee will scrutinise recent changes to the student loan system, including the repayment threshold, interest rates, tuition fees, and the impact on university finances.

It will also examine the impact of higher education on the public finances, the feasibility of a so-called ‘graduate tax’, and the effectiveness of the government’s management of the student loan book.

The first evidence session of this inquiry will be heard on Wednesday (18 October) with Dr Helen Carasso and Dr Andrew McGettigan, who have written extensively about student loans. This session will focus on the impact of student loans on the public finances, the success or failure of fee funding, and the impact of student finances on students.

Morgan said: “The Treasury Committee is appointed to examine government expenditure. Student loan debt is projected to be around £160bn within six years, and the government has announced it will review the whole student finance system. The Committee will scrutinise the current system and any future developments closely.”

Prime Minister Theresa May announced a freeze on tuition fees at £9,250 a year in her speech at the Conservative Party conference. She also raised the level of earnings at which student loans begin to be paid back. At the same time she said a review would consider more radical changes, such as lowering fees, cutting the interest rate on student debt and even bringing back maintenance grants.

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