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Response to Prime Minister's planned review of English university funding

​Universities UK responded to the announcement today that there will be a 'major review of university funding and student finance' in England. The announcement was made during the Prime Minister's party conference speech in Manchester.

Responding to the announcement, Professor Janet Beer, President of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool, said: "The government is right to look at ways of improving the current student funding system in England, but it is important that they do not 'throw out the baby with the bathwater' in an attempt to find a quick, political solution. There are many positive elements to the current system that should not simply be swept aside.

"The current system provides sustainable funding for universities and the skilled graduates our economy needs. It has also seen record numbers of students from disadvantaged backgrounds entering university. But we agree that it needs to be better understood and needs to feel fairer to our students and their families.

"We're pleased the government is looking at ways of addressing students' money concerns and we welcome the plan to raise the loan repayment threshold. We hope this will mean reduced interest rates for low and medium earners. Universities UK would like to see the government going further by reintroducing targeted maintenance grants for those most in need. Any review would also need to do more to reverse the worrying decline in the numbers of part-time and mature students.

"We have a world class reputation for university teaching, but it is important that this is funded sustainably. As the IFS said this week, freezin​​g the cap on tuition fees, with no compensating grants, directly reduces university funding. If kept in place, this would risk universities' ability to provide students with the world-class education they rightly expect."

Notes

  1. Universities UK responded earlier this week to the Conservative party proposals on tuition fees to raise the repayment threshold to £25,000 and freezing the fee cap at £9,250. See media release

  1. Professor Janet Beer wrote an article recently for Guardian Higher Education Network about the current student funding system in England and how it could be improved.

  1. The IFS published a new analysis this week looking at the possible impact of the Conservative party plan to raise the repayment threshold to £25,000 and freezing the fee cap at £9,250.​

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Jo Hindle

Jo Hindle

Head of Media
Universities UK

Luke Lambert

Luke Lambert

Press and Social Media Officer
Universities UK

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Clara Plackett

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Universities UK

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