Changes in higher education
In 2012, a significant shift in the way universities and colleges are funded took place. From this academic year, students starting university are meeting much of the cost of their education themselves, with access to publicly funded loans, and universities can charge up to £9,000 a year for their courses.
Changes to the rules on how many students a university can recruit are designed to meet the Government’s aims of increased dynamism and student choice. This caused some immediate issues but it is unknown as yet what issues will be caused in the future.
Part-time learners: Higher education provision for part-time learners is one such issue. There has been a dramatic decline in the numbers of entrants to part-time courses over the past couple of years. We need to understand why, and to support action where necessary.
Postgraduate: We will also be monitoring take-up of postgraduate courses. We want to find out as soon as possible whether the 2012-13 intake – the first cohort of students to pay higher fees – is likely to be put off postgraduate study because of their undergraduate debt.
Disadvantage: We will also be looking carefully at the impact of the changes on students from disadvantaged backgrounds and other groups.
The Government will raise the cap on tuition fees to £9,000 in 2012/13 and cut most ongoing direct public funding for tuition. It will also change loan repayment terms by increasing the repayment threshold to £21,000, charging a real rate of interest on loans for those making repayment, extending the maximum duration of loans from 25 to 30 years and making fee loans available to part-time students. Institutions charging annual fees of over £6,000 will have to spend some of this additional income on widening participation. The average tuition fee, after discounts, is currently expected to be around £8,070 in 2012/13....