Russell Group response to announcement on post 18 education system

24 February 2022

In response to the Government’s announcement on reforms to the post-18 education system, Dr Tim Bradshaw, Chief Executive of the Russell Group, said:

“High quality higher education doesn’t come cheap and we recognise the Treasury will always need to balance its books, so the additional £750m investment in capital funding and strategic teaching grants over the next three years in England is very welcome. Now we would like to see similar investments across the four nations to ensure the UK has the pipeline of high-level skills to build our economy and accelerate our recovery from the pandemic.

“Freezing tuition fees inevitably reduces their value over time, so this will add to the financial pressure on universities to adapt while maintaining quality and choice for students, and is why a more risk-based and proportionate approach to regulation is needed to keep down the cost of bureaucracy.

“If we are to meet our ambitions to create a successful and enduring innovation economy, we will need strengths across a breadth of subjects including science, engineering, arts, humanities and medicine and we will need opportunities for individuals to upskill and learn new skills over time. The Lifelong Loan Entitlement is therefore an exciting opportunity to help people access training and education throughout their careers, and we would encourage the Government to look at expanding the pilot to include Masters-level provision so more individuals have the opportunity to attain high-level skills.” 

Further information

  • The Government has announced £750m of additional funding for universities over three years, comprising of £450m of capital funding and £300m of recurrent funding through the strategic priorities (SP) grant. However, this is unlikely to cover the reduction in the value of tuition fees received by universities caused by keeping them frozen to 2024/25.
  • Russell Group analysis (p24, para 2.30) found that many undergraduate courses are already being run at a deficit. The average course deficit for each medical student was around £2,400, £1,900 for STEM subjects and a £1,000 deficit for classroom-based subjects.
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