The Student Funding Panel published today an update paper highlighting the issues emerging from the panel’s work so far. The panel was established last year by Universities UK to consider the design of the current student fees and loans system in England.
As the main political parties finalise their manifesto commitments before May's general election, the panel is urging politicians to take into consideration these issues when forming their policies on higher education.
The panel – made up of policy experts from outside the sector alongside a number of university vice-chancellors – is aiming to report its full set of findings in Spring 2015, before the election.
Having issued a public call for evidence last August and held a number of evidence sessions with prominent people involved in higher education and policy (including NUS President Toni Pearce, former universities minister and Labour cabinet member John Denham MP, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) Nick Hillman, as well as others), the paper highlights the emerging issues and outstanding questions for the panel.
Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, President of Universities UK and chair of the panel, said: “There has been a lot of commentary recently about the long-term financial sustainability of the current funding and fees system in England.
“We need more evidence on how the system can best deliver value for money for students, encourage greater participation of part-time and mature students and provide a stable funding environment for all universities.
“The panel is aiming to make its final recommendations this spring. With the general election in May, we hope all political parties take into consideration the issues identified by the panel when forming policies on higher education.”
Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, Universities UK President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Surrey Will Hutton, Chair of the Independent Commission on Fees Paul Johnson, Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) Emran Mian, Director of the Social Market Foundation Mike Rowley, UK Head of Education, KPMG Professor David Latchman, Master of Birkbeck, University of London Professor Paul O’Prey, Vice-Chancellor, University of Roehampton Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell, Chair of the Universities UK’s Funding Policy Network and Vice-Chancellor, University of Bath Professor Janet Beer, Vice-Chancellor, Oxford Brookes University Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor, University of Reading Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor, University of Exeter