Briefing on the Augar report

04 June 2019

On 30 May 2019, the Government published a report from its post-18 review panel, led by Dr Philip Augar, which presents detailed proposals to reform higher and further education funding.

While the report proposes important and overdue support for further education and a welcome boost for lifelong learning, its recommendations for universities raise serious concerns. Some of the recommendations are to be welcomed, notably the reintroduction of maintenance grants for disadvantaged students and removing the real rate of interest charged on loans during study. However, students will ultimately suffer if university funding is reduced as the result of a fee cut.

As the Government considers these recommendations, we ask Parliament to press for three principles to be upheld to protect the UK’s world-class higher education sector and ensure that it can continue to serve the wider, national good:

  • Sustainable funding: students, businesses and universities should be provided with a cast-iron guarantee that, in the event of a fee cut, teaching grants will cover the funding shortfall in full and meet future demand for higher education places, as recommended by the Augar report.
  • Fairness for students: the overall impact of any reforms to the student finance system must be fair and transparent. The Government should proceed only with a package of reforms which enhances rather than undermines the progressive nature of student finance and which does not place a disproportionate burden on women and lower and middle earners.
  • Supporting a range of disciplines and industries: many disciplines, such as in the STEM fields, already face significant shortfalls and so a commitment to ensure they are properly resourced with additional grant funding would be very welcome. In the event of a fee cut, we urge the Government to avoid deprioritising other disciplines which are also vitally important to our economy, culture and society – such as languages, economics, history, English and arts.

Read more in our latest briefing below.

Briefing on the Augar report

 

 

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