33 results
Date Name

The graduate tax: higher education’s zombie idea

Owen Smith’s revival of the graduate tax idea is the latest attempt to find an ugly compromise between tuition fees and free education. Politicians need to chose one or the other, argues Will Cooling.

Labour rules out new HE funding policy

At Labour Party Conference held in Brighton, we report from an HE meeting were Gordon Marsden – the new shadow universities minister – strongly ruled out an early new commitment around HE fees and funding.

The future of universities is more political than ever

Following the July Budget, big speech from the new universities minister and developments at the Home Office, Martin McQuillan brings together everything we know and considers how the Conservatives will tackle higher education over the next parliament.

£11.5k fees? Time to come back down to earth

As fees take the stage one final time as the General Election campaign draws to a close, Mark Leach argues that it is time to bring the whole issue back to reality and proposes a bold move to ensure that HE fees and finance take their rightful place at the heart of our political and economic debate.

The 2015 UKIP Manifesto

Emily Lupton summarises UKIP’s 2015 election manifesto and what the party plans for higher education including free tuition for STEMM courses and abolishing loans for EU students.

Winners and losers from £6,000 fees

A fortnight ago, the higher education choice at the forthcoming general election became clearer as a result of Labour’s policy announcement. Graeme Wise returns to the issue to assess the winners and losers from the £6,000 fees policy.

£6,000 fees: unanswered questions

As the dust settles on the Labour announcement that they would lower fees to £6,000 next year, Julian Gravatt looks in detail at the policy and asks ten questions on funding, regulation and policy that are raised by the promise of lower fees.

Blue skies thinking

After the heat and noise around Labour’s announced £6,000 fee policy, Martin McQuillan continues his monthly series on higher education politics and policy by turning his attention to the Conservative Party – their policies and what life might be like for universities if the Conservatives are returned to power in May.

The £6,000 question

As the shockwaves reverberate, Mark Leach takes a look at the reaction in the press, sector, political parties and in early public opinion to Labour’s plan to lower fees to £6,000.

Labour announce £6k fees for 2016

Labour have announced their long-anticipated policy to reduce fees from £9,000 to £6,000. Ed Miliband also announced that Labour would raise maintenance grants by £400. Emily Lupton goes through everything we know about the ‘fully funded’ plan. This piece will be updated as information becomes available.

A small sigh of relief?

Following Labour’s announcement that they would lower fees from 9k to 6k, Alistiar Jarvis looks at why the policy isn’t nearly as bad as some in the sector had feared – but warns of challenges on the road ahead.

Live: Labour’s higher education policy announcement

Live updates, analysis, commentary, reaction and general wonkery from Mark Leach on the day that Labour sets out its plans for higher education funding that the party will take to the country at May’s General Election.

Labour’s HE funding plan – why raiding my tax break is a good idea

In the run up to Labour’s expected announcement that they will cut fees from £9,000 to £6,000, Graeme Wise looks at the method proposed to pay for it – the controversial cut in pensioner tax relief – and finds a progressive solution that has the added benefit of rolling back the marketisation of the sector and reducing some of the risks associated with the student loans system.

Politics isn’t fair, is it?

As the sector goes to war with politicians over higher education fees, Jim Dickinson calls for an alternative approach: one supported by the public and based on a respect for democracy and the politics (and politicians) that drive it.

Labour higher education funding policy 101

On the day Universities UK launches a major political intervention in to the HE funding debate, Mark Leach takes a look at the current state of Labour Party fees policy. How we got here and what the options are for a way out that satisfies the increasingly difficult political and economic climate.

Understanding the unthinkable post-2015 cuts

The Autumn Statement confirmed the Chancellor’s plans to make further substantial cuts in the next Parliament. Around £4bn will likely have to come out of the budget for Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Julian Gravatt thinks the unthinkable about what this means for HE, research, science and skills.

Autumn Statement: Pain, sorcery and a rabbit called Tim

On the day the Chancellor has made his Autumn Statement for 2014, Andy Westwood reviews the statement and its implications for policy across higher education, science and beyond – both today and over the next Parliament which is set to see further deep cuts and real pain across Government spending.

Postgraduate loans – everything we know

In this afternoon’s Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced that the Government would introduce loans for all young people that want to access postgraduate study, of up to £10,000 across all disciplines. There have been growing calls over the last few years for the introduction of such a scheme from think tanks and sector organisations including IPPR, NUS, CentreForum and others.

RAB and the wizardry of student finance

The last week has seen a political and media frenzy as it has come clear that the RAB charge is now coming very close to the point where the new HE funding system costs around the same as when fees were just above £3k. With the wider public understandably not engaged in the wizardry of public accounting and a sector avoiding an opportunity for self-reflection, Andy Westwood attempts to unpick the dark arts at play, the rows that overlay them and attempts to drill just a little bit deeper.

Making the cut

At the start of the week that we expect the HEFCE grant letter, Alistair Jarvis looks at the scale of the hole in BIS’ budget and assesses the options that the Government now faces as it decides where to cut and how far to go – decisions that could have drastic long-term consequences.

Placing Borrowing at the Heart of the System

A few days after the Autumn Statement, Martin McQuillan considers the Osborne plan to expand student numbers based on questionable finances that the IFS have labelled ‘economic nonsense’ and have slowly started to unravel. This short-termist policy may have big implications in years to come as BIS will have to make up any further shortfall in the HE budget – a budget already under extreme pressure. With so many risks ahead, the HE sector needs to take a long and detailed look at this scheme.

Black holes and revelations

It’s perhaps fitting that it was the week of Dr Who’s 50th anniversary when a ‘black hole’ reportedly emerged in the BIS higher education budget. Over recruitment of HNDs and HNCs at private colleges has been reported by the Guardian as the cause of this serious financial problem.

Already there are reports of immediate pressures to BIS, SLC and HEFCE and possibly even to Research Council budgets as a result. According to the Guardian, BIS must find £900m of savings by 2015/16 – the first £600m of that in 2014-15, the final year of this Parliament and Spending Review period. Andy Westwood takes us on a tour of the negotiations that will now be taking place inside government and explores what might be cut in light of these latest revelations.

It’s like rain on your wedding day

Behind the army of wonkery that this blog serves is a body of academic understanding about policy and political goals that helps us understand and influence those around us. Some the academics involved would have us believe that there are only really four policy goals that get invoked, invariably coming at us in multiple disguises – equality, security, liberty, and efficiency. All of them are undeniably desirable until we consider them from multiple angles, or worse still, set one up against another. Jim Dickinson attempts to slay some sacred cows.