Labour pledges to cut university tuition fees to £6,000

Nottingham Trent University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Edward Peck, issued this response last week following Ed Miliband’s pledge that tuition fees would be cut to £6,000 under a Labour government. His comments were used by BBC News Online (update 3.44pm).

“Whilst it would be difficult to argue that university tuition fees are the most pressing policy problem that would benefit from a £2.7bn public investment per annum, the continued commitment of the Labour Party to the proper funding of higher education is welcome.

“It is not immediately clear to me that reducing fees from £27k to £18k over three years will have the positive impact on widening participation that Mr Miliband and his colleagues have been arguing in the media in recent weeks. However, it does give an incoming Labour government more opportunity to tweak the system; for example, by enhancing the premium for universities recruiting to engineering.

“Implicit in Mr Miliband’s statement is that the standard income for universities will remain at £9k per undergraduate student per year until 2020, the same as it has been since 2012. This will represent a reduction of actual income of at least 25% over the eight year period; some smaller universities may struggle to maintain standards over the next five years.”

One thought on “Labour pledges to cut university tuition fees to £6,000

  1. Tuition fees are more than a policy problem; borrowing to pay for them results in debt which accumulates for individual students, and must be paid back upon graduation. There are many reasons to seek to reduce students’ exposure to debt, not least the self-interest of universities. If the Conservative Party wins the election, they may move to implement a threatened policy of making universities responsible for the repayment of their graduates’ tuition fees After all, university funding post-Browne Review is looking seriously unsustainable as the estimated future debt write-off increases almost monthly. It may be easier to charge students £9K than to appeal to the Treasury for funding. But, in an era when students are being constructed as instrumental consumers of higher education, and when Labour would almost certainly wish to expand the apprenticeship scheme, it may not be wise to seek to put all our funding eggs in one basket.


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