The Conservatives claim to have devised a foolproof loans repayment scheme which will make students up to pound;1,000 better off than under the Executive's policy.
The scheme launched this week would double the threshold at which graduates begin repaying their loan and graduate endowment from income of pound;10,000 a year to pound;20,000. There would be a 10-year repayment period without pre-payment penalties and an estimated pound;3,500 a year tax allowance (worth about pound;700 a year) for 10 years.
Brian Monteith, the party's education spokesman, said that students who had taken three-year courses would be pound;1,000 better off and those after four-year coures pound;200. He said: "Students have been asking that they should not have to repay loans until they reach a higher salary and have been asking for the assurance that they will not have to repay top-up fees. Today's announcement shows that the next Conservative Government will be able to deliver these improvements."
The Tories want to endow universities across the UK, including pound;350 million for those in Scotland, through "securitising" - using the guarantee of funds generated by - the student loans scheme to create a cash stream. Universities that benefited would be forbidden to introduce top-up fees as some vice-chancellors want.