The prime minister has launched a major review of higher education, examining the “whole system” of student funding and warning people against the “outdated attitude” that “favours academic over technical qualifications”, along with ruling out completely scrapping tuition fees.
“…one of the most expensive systems of university tuition in the world”
In a planned speech in Derbyshire to launch the government-led review, which aims to “identify ways to help people make more effective choices between the different options available after 18”, Theresa May admitted that the UK now has “one of the most expensive systems of university tuition in the world” yet those “who benefit directly from higher education should contribute directly towards the cost of it”.
The current university tuition fees system involves students paying up to £9,250 per year, with interest rates on loans currently at 6.1%.
The review is expected to examine the whole system of student funding, including how it provides value for money for both students and taxpayers and how students and graduates contribute to the cost of their studies.
Current system “not working as well as it could be”
The prime minister has said that although there has been “significant progress” in education reform over recent years which has “succeeded in driving up school standards and improving the choice and quality of technical education”, the current system is “not working as well as it could be – for young people of for the country”.
“All but a handful of universities charge the maximum possible fees”
Mrs May said:
“The competitive market between universities which the system of variable tuition fees envisaged has simply not emerged. All but a handful of universities charge the maximum possible fees for undergraduate courses. Three-year courses remain the norm. And the level of fees charged does not relate to the cost or quality of the course”.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds has called for “more variety” in the level of fees, as well as courses delivered in a more flexible manner.
Labour has previously said it would scrap tuition fees. However, in her speech, Theresa May has confirmed that she will not be following suit.
Review “will examine how people from disadvantaged backgrounds can be given an equal chance to succeed”
The prime minister examined how people from disadvantaged backgrounds can be given an equal chance to succeed.
Mrs May has pledged to use the review to look at
“the whole post-18 education sector in the round, breaking down false boundaries between further and higher education, so we can create a system which is truly joined up”.
Martin Lewis warns of consequences of cutting tuition fees
MoneySavingExpert’s Martin Lewis has already voiced concerns regarding the impact of cutting tuition fees, saying that the “practical impact is to take money off universities, risking the quality of education, and handing it to very high-earning graduates.”
The government-led review is expected to conclude in early 2019.