Alison Johns, Chief Executive, says, “While the sector needs the opportunity to absorb and examine the full implications of the wide-ranging recommendations of the Augar Review, we welcome proposals to promote life-long, flexible learning in higher and further education, alongside to measures aimed at alleviating the living costs for less well-off students.
“However, the ‘headline’ proposal of a reduction in higher education tuition fees to £7,500 raises concerns about the financial pressure this may put on institutions, and the potential detrimental effect this could have on the student experience. Without compensating funding, the consequences of less income could lead to significant issues, including: a reduction in the rich variety of courses and programmes, limiting student choice; a potential reduction in the number of teaching posts and increased class sizes; and a reduction in overall places available which is likely to felt by those from widening participation backgrounds who may be less supported to compete for a university place.
“Nobody disputes that the UK has one of the finest higher education sectors in the world, built on its world-wide reputation for outstanding research and excellent teaching. Higher education touches every part of society, from the medicines we take, the infrastructure we rely on, to the culture we enjoy. The national debate now accelerates about whether and how we are prepared to fully invest in our universities to retain our long-standing world-class position in a highly competitive global market.”