Wealthy students will not be able to "buy" their way into university
Wealthy students will not be able to "buy" their way into university, David Cameron has insisted.
University access is about "being able to learn not being able to pay," the Prime Minister said.
His comments came after it emerged the Government is looking at proposals to create extra university places by allowing institutions to charge some UK students the same fees as those paid by overseas students.
Universities minister David Willetts suggested the move would encourage businesses and charities to sponsor places, but students and unions reacted angrily, warning that it would allow wealthy students to buy their way into higher education.
Mr Cameron said: "That is not going to happen, that's not our policy. The Government's policy is absolutely clear. University access is about being able to learn not about being able to pay. There is no question of people being able to buy their way into university."
Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union (UCU) said the proposals risk turning the clock back to when "breeding not brains" mattered, and highlighted the problems with the Coalition's tuition fees policy.
She said: "I am amazed that such plans are under consideration. We have seen considerable changes made to Government policy recently and it is clear these plans need an urgent rethink.
"Far from increasing social mobility, it is hard to see how this is anything other than the Government entrenching privilege for the wealthy in response to its failing university fees policy. We risk turning the clock back to a time when breeding rather than brains were required to get on in life."
Aaron Porter, president of the National Union of Students (NUS), said: "The Government is yet again tossing out a poorly conceived policy idea in an attempt to disguise the chaos it has created in university funding and the shortfall in finances that has created.
"This creates a two-tier system that allows the richest, less able applicants a second bite at the university cherry and denies low- and middle-income students the same opportunity."