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Will High Levels of Graduate Debt Lead to a Talent Exodus?


English graduates have the highest levels of debt in the English speaking world according to a report released today from the Sutton Trust. English students graduated last year owing over £44,000 in fees each on average. This figure is predicted to rise to £50,000 for students from less wealthy backgrounds when maintenance grants are abolished in September 2016.

Rising student debt is fuelling fears that the UK may lose bright students to Ivy League Universities such as Harvard, or even to Germany where fees are minimal and courses in English are on the rise. The cost of University education leaves English graduates facing nearly double the average level of debt compared to the US, where four year courses are the norm – and higher than other English speaking countries such as Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

Recommendations from the study include the development of high level apprenticeship courses to avoid the need for loans. To achieve this, in part, the government is taking steps to make apprenticeships more attractive to employers.