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More “variety” is needed in the price of university education, the secretary of state said ahead of a government review of the system. Damian Hinds also suggested tuition fees should reflect each degree’s value “to our society as a whole”.

It comes as a committee of MPs said there was no justification for such “high interest rates” on student loans. Labour said another review would not solve the problems posed by interest rate increases and fee rises.

The review, to be launched by Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday, will consider cutting or freezing £9,250 tuition fees and lowering interest rates to reduce levels of graduate debt. There will also be discussion of funding for vocational courses and apprenticeships to tackle skills shortages. Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Hinds would not go into specifics about the review, which he said would be carried out by an independent panel.

He defended the current system – under which students begin to repay fees when they earn over £21,000, rising to £25,000. But he said that when it was devised, ministers had not expected so many courses to be charging the same fee.

“What we need to look at is the different aspects of pricing – the cost that it is to put on the course, the value that it is to the student and also the value to our society as a whole and to our economy for the future,” he said.



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