In February 2018, the Prime Minister announced a wide-ranging Review of Post-18 Education and Funding led by Philip Augar. The Review was partly in response to increased debate around the cost and value of higher education following a period of reform which saw tuition fees rise to £9,250 per year, maintenance grants abolished and typical student debt rise to £47,000 from a three year degree.
The published review proposed cuts to tuition fees and a lifelong learning loan.
In response, Sir Peter Lampl, founder and chairman of the Sutton Trust, said:
“Our student finance system is in serious need of reform. A graduate from the lowest 40% of earners will graduate with debts of £52,000. Most will be paying them off well into middle age.
“While it is good that the Augar Review recommends reinstating maintenance grants, its proposal to reduce tuition fees from £9,250 to £7,500 just tinkers around the edges of a grossly unfair system. If we are serious about creating an equitable student finance system, fees should be means-tested so that those from low income families incur the lowest debts.
“However it is welcome that the Review proposes to introduce a flexible life-long learning loan. Skilling-up and studying later in life is a crucial second chance for many people. However, our research has shown the numbers of people studying part-time have been decimated in recent years. This is a very serious issue which requires far more resources than it gets.”
NOTES TO EDITORS