Emerging from a lunchtime meeting, and scrabbling to an internet page to catch the news. Some useful resources from which to form your judgements about the future of higher education funding and finance:

Statement on higher education funding and student finance

A transcript of the Minister of State for Universities and Science David Willet’s speech this afternoon.

Two-tier fees structure adopted as coalition goes beyond Browne on interest rates

A useful summary of the announcements from Times Higher Education and a readers’ comments section at the bottom of the article which looks set to be a kilometre long by 5pm!

HEFCE response to new funding arrangements for higher education

HEFCE’s Chief Executive, Sir Alan Langlands, sets out the Council’s response to today’s statement from the Government.

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One Response to Coalition announces its intentions on higher education funding and student finance

  1. Jonathan Hughes says:

    This posting is a really useful summary of the content of the Government statement on HE funding and student finance and of the reactions to it. I started with David Willett’s statement. I think that the implications of the £9000 upper limit are massive – and are picked up by many of the comments. While the £9000 is only supposed to apply “in exceptional circumstances”, many of the comments argue that £9000 will become the de facto norm as anything lower might be seen as signalling something ‘second class’. There’s a real issue here of what sorts of cost/benefit analysis individuals will undertake. You you take a ‘punt’ on the £6000 hoping that you’ll be able to re-coup this more easily or push the boat out for £9000 hoping for glittering career prizes?

    If the the £9000 fee is charged then the university involved will be ‘obliged’ to join the National Scholarships Programme (worth a paltry £150M) and in the face of a promised “tougher regime of sanctions” will be forced to divert a proportion of the income gained from charging more than £6000 to specified access activity agreed with the Office of Fair Access. This does not seem to be much of a disincentive to charging more than £9000 to me.

    The other aspect I picked up on is the recognition that part-time students also deserve support. Students studying more than the equivalent of one third full time will now be eligible for support. This is disappointing . It falls short of a ‘mode blind’ appraoch that has been argued for by the Open University and by Birkbeck College. Although apparently more generous that the current requirement to study for more than the equivalent of 50% full time, it still maintains full time study as the bench mark. I think that this reflects a less than fully developed understanding of the lives of people who study part-time. There needs to be a greater recognition of both the actual and the opportunity costs of students studying on course that attract fewer than 40 points.

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