I have a sneaking feeling the headline was written before the story (you can see it here, although The Times has a paywall).
I was called yesterday by The Times and asked something like the following:
Q. "Is it true you’re helping the Government sell tuition fees?"
My answer was: "I am no fan of the new system and certainly won’t be helping anyone sell anything. Yet, I have had a meeting with the Government about financial education and I am worried about the fundamental misunderstandings many people have about tuition fees.
"For years I’ve said we’re a nation that educates its youth into debt, but never about debt and now I’ve got the chance I am talking to the Government about how to do this, as part of the campaign for financial education. The aim is to ensure people understand the real costs – there are so many misunderstandings it is wrongly scaring many off (and in some cases not scaring off some who perhaps shouldn’t go)."
Q. "Did you come up with the phrase it’ll cost two pints and a bag of crisps?"
My answer: "I’ve never heard of that phrase, it’s not how I would communicate it and it’s nothing to do with me."
Now, go back and read their headline and tell me where they got it from.
Most of the actual piece is pretty close, yet the headline will colour how people read it – and it’s so far off base. The real key is all the quotes are accurate and right near the end of the article it does actually state my position:
"I am no fan of the new system … but my great fear is that the political debate has muddied the waters so much that there is a fundamental misunderstanding of how the system works and this will cause as much damage to access as the tuition fees themselves."
Related past blogs
- Student Finance 2012 changes – it’s time to tackle the ignorance
- Universities must educate students over the new loans
- Student loans the seven deadly sins of early repayments
- Argument over student loans could kill the next generation of students