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Poorest ‘should not pay uni tuition fees’

STUDENTS from the richest homes should pay £12,250 a year in university tuition fees, while the poorest pay nothing, a charity claims.

A means-tested system could cut average student debt by a third, with those from the most disadvantaged families benefiting the most, says a Sutton Trust study.

The social mobility charity called for a system where students from households with an income of under £25,000 would pay no tuition fees, while those from homes with an income of over £100,000 would pay £12,250 with a sliding scale for people in between.

Analysis by London Economics for the Sutton Trust concluded that raising the repayment threshold will mean 45 per cent of student debt will never be paid back, while four out of five graduates will not repay their loans in full.

English and EU students at universities in England pay up to £9,250 a year in fees, and are eligible for government loans to cover the cost. Last month, the Prime Minister announced graduates will not have to start repaying the loans until they are earning £25,000 — up from £21,000.

It comes as Steve Lamey former head of the Student Loans Company, was dismissed for publicly criticising the system as a ‘mess’.

The Department for Education said students from the lowest-income households now have access to the largest-ever amounts of cash support.