The much anticipated university finance review by Lord Browne has been published today and does indeed recommend that the current £3,290 cap on tuition fees be abandoned, as many speculated it would. It proposes a free market approach to tuition fees and contains exemplary models which show tuition fees rising upwards of £12,000 a year.
Lord Browne’s report, however, doesn’t advocate for unchecked rises. It advises that universities which charge more than £6,000 a year would have to put part of that fee towards subsidizing student borrowing, more necessary in the face of steeper fees. Browne claims to be mindful of student needs, explaining that his plan would not leave students with debts like mortgages and that they would only be required to pay back their loans once their earnings reached £21,000 per year. Even Browne, though, acknowledges that this new competitive approach to university funding could mean that universities, like other competitive businesses, fail to succeed and must close. The report claims that they will now compete not only over students, but also fee levels and new providers of education.
This proposed increase in fees is at odds both with the election pledges of Liberal Democrats as well as the UCU lecturer’s union, which described the review’s plan as “the final nail in the coffin for affordable higher education.”
For additional coverage from BBC, click here.
For coverage from the Guardian, click here.
Categories: Higher Education