Student debt

Cost-of-living crisis forgotten

Students are suffering from a cost-of-living crisis as much as the rest of the population yet they have been forgotten by policymakers. While fees have been frozen at £9,250, student maintenance loans will rise by just 2.8% in 2023/24, which is well below the current rate of inflation.

High interest rates

Interest rates on Plan 2 student loans are still running at 6.5%, which is well above the rate at which governments can borrow. High interest rates front-load student debt and that means that students will take longer to pay back their loans. the government has announced that from 1 June 2023 the interest rate will climb to an unprecedented high of 7.3%.

40-year loan term

From 2023/24, student loans will run for 40 YEARS for new students. It means that many new students will be in their 60s before the loan term ends.

Wealthiest students are not even in the system

We have proved that the current student loan system is not fair intra-generationally with our research report, entitled “Escape of the Wealthy”, which shows that the richest 10% of students pay their fees upfront so escape up to 30 years of interest and repayment.

Education should be a public good

We believe that: higher education is a public good; we already have a progressive tax system in which the more a person earns, the more they pay; and that the current student loan system is a form of double taxation. There is an alternative, as outlined by Dr Kevin Albertson, Professor of Economics. We urge you to read it.


Read some the stories about how students have been treated during the COVID-19 pandemic:

“Imagine paying £9,250 a year for one 50 minute online class per week !! oh wait I don’t need to imagine that’s literally what’s happening to me right now.”

– A 2020 University Student

“My daughter can only have 6 hours study space a week at Nottingham Uni. The library restriction will be tough when essays start. Her guaranteed hours for an arts subject should be 10. She has 3 pre-recorded lectures, 3 online Q&A lectures, and 3 in person seminars BUT her timetable shows no seminars for weeks 6 and 13.”

– Anon

The government must do better 

We want to see a fairer student finance offer to students. We believe that a return to higher and further education as a public good is both intra-generationally and inter-generationally fair. After all, it is in all generations’ interests to invest in the educations of future taxpayers. Until that time comes we will continue to call on the government to treat domestic students more fairly.

The marketisation of higher education is a myth

The higher education sector’s response to COVID-19 proves that there is no market in higher education. The sector showed its true colours in 2012 when most institutions stampeded to triple their fees and charge £9,000 a year. It has now closed ranks and is intent on continuing to feed off students with little regard to how much debt graduating students will incur: an average of £50,000, paid back over the next 30 years  – soon to be 40 years – once earning over a threshold that conveniently matches the average annual wage. The current system means that the average graduate faces a 42.25% marginal tax rate, made up of 12% national insurance, 9% “graduate tax”, and 20% basic rate income tax. For higher earners, the marginal tax will be more than 50%.



Write to your MP

Please use the template text below and visit to find your MP. Follow the instructions from there.

Dear [Fill in MP name],

I am writing to you in support of the Intergenerational Foundation’s #CutTheFees campaign.

University students lost out significantly during the pandemic. Between lost teaching time, classes taking place on Zoom, and some students even being locked in their halls at the height of the lockdown, students have made major sacrifices to protect other members of the public.

Students who have made such sacrifices are still expected to pay £9,250 per year in tuition fees, pay off soaring loan debt with unfairly high interest rates over a period of 30 years. This is profoundly unfair, especially for those students whose university education and development have been interrupted so profoundly by the pandemic and the lockdown. Those students deserve a reduction in fees in recognition of what they have sacrificed and what they have lost. I urge you to use your platform to push the Department for Education to do the right thing and deliver students who attended university during the pandemic a significant reduction in their annual fees – and also to push for greater fairness in student finance overall.

Yours sincerely,

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