Responding to today’s announcement from universities and science minister David Willetts on the Government’s plans for higher education tuition fees, Andy Westwood, GuildHE Chief Executive said:
“This announcement represents a massive risk on many levels. The proposed fee caps of £6,000 and £9,000 and new regimes for student support and widening participation are completely untested. Moving so rapidly to an untried and potentially more volatile system means that no one can really know what will happen to either student demand or to our world class higher education sector. The risks therefore are huge — not just to the choices and participation of many different types of student, but also to the ability of universities to drive local and national economic growth over the longer term.
“The political risks are just as significant. This hasty compromise enforced by the CSR, ultimately satisfies no one. Many universities would have wanted to charge more, while others know that they can’t charge the fees required to make up the funding they will lose. Students are angry, and they and their families are worried about larger debts.
“Equally, despite what they say, few politicians will be satisfied by these plans. Liberal Democrats are already in a very difficult position, while many Conservatives would prefer Browne’s uncapped free market and Labour MPs will instinctively oppose the changes. And of course, every MP will be calculating what it means for their local higher education institution, their constituency and the economy, and what it will do to their votes at the next election.”
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Notes to editors
GuildHE is a recognised higher education representative body. Its 32 members are among the most dynamic and fastest-growing institutions in the sector. For a list of GuildHE institutions, please visit: https://www.guildhe.ac.uk/en/members-list/index.cfm