Written by Alyssa Walker

Merry Christmas! Tuition paid! Kidding...but maybe not really if this radical new funding idea from the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) gains steam.

In a nutshell: businesses pay a levy for each graduate they employ.

On Thursday 29 November, HEPI published Fairer Funding: The case for a graduate levy by Johnny Rich. Rich proposes that this system would share a fairer burden of the cost among students, taxpayers, and employers, as opposed to charging students upwards of $11,800 per year in tuition and fees.

He says, "For too long, higher education funding has been a battleground of competing interests between taxpayers, students, employers and universities. Over three decades, students have come off worst. 

“A graduate levy would mean that everyone shares the same interests: students having opportunities to do high-quality courses, becoming well-qualified for good jobs, filling the nation’s skills gaps.

“The proposal is designed to minimize student debt, but also to ensure employers don’t pay more than they contribute now unless they get more. The same goes for taxpayers.”

He explains the levy is neither a loan nor a tax because it is not paid to the Treasury. Instead, it would flow back to the institution where the graduate studied.

Rich says, "This means that, by providing an effective higher education, each university invests in the future employability of its graduates."

He argues it is more efficient and cost-effective for students and the labor market if universities have an incentive for future demand.

He adds, "It even incentivizes institutions to undertake recruitment marketing not just for their institution but also for individual, economically important subject areas."

What will come of this idea? We will have to wait and see... so stay tuned for updates!


Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.
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