This is the final report of the Independent Commission on Fees, which was created in 2011 to analyse the effect of increased tuition fees on students. The report finds that, while the number of students applying to university has not been significantly affected by the new fee regime, certain groups within the system, including part-time and mature students, have been adversely affected. There is also a continuing and concerning gap between the recruitment of students from less advantaged and more advantaged backgrounds, in favour of the latter. This is especially true at the nation’s most selective universities. The report recommends that the Office for Budget Responsibility investigate the current student loan system, especially in the wake of funding changes announced in the Summer Budget 2015.
- The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) should conduct an investigation into whether the current student loan system provides value for money for both the student and general tax payer.
- The Government should be extremely wary of substantive increases in fees or removing the cap on fees completely.
- The Commons Select Committee should investigate the reasons for the severe decline in mature and part-time students.
- There must be better co-ordination of university outreach work and effective use of evidence in spending the £800 million from fees used for access work.