When donning their cap and gown, graduates in England are saddled with higher debts than their peers in other countries, according to a social mobility charity report.
Since 2012, many UK universities charge £9000 a year in tuition fees, with English graduates facing a total average debt of £44,000, the Sutton Trust says. US graduates can expect to owe between $29,000 (£20,500) and $40,000, depending on whether they attend public or privately-funded institutions. Students in Canada, New Zealand and Australia also owe comparatively less than their English peers.
The trust also warns that poorer students in England may be worse off in future. Following the abolition of maintenance grants for a loan-based system earlier this year, students could owe over £50,000 in the future.
But UK graduates benefit from loan repayment plans that are based on the current level of income, the trust notes. Such schemes are not widespread in the US. The trust recommends the UK government investigate whether the current loan system offers value for money and assess its impact on mature and part-time students.