This week the IPPR Commission on the Future of Higher Education published its final report – A Critical Path. Rick Muir, Associate Director at IPPR responds some of the criticism levelled at the report on this site earlier in the week and defends the report’s recommendations.
The Thatcherite ‘Free Enterprise Group’ made up largely of 2010 intake MPs have published a report on higher education funding; ‘Completing the Reform, Freeing the Universities’. It argues that financial independence and stability for universities can be achieved by building up endowment funds. Not a new idea by any means, but it is important to understand thinking about universities emanating from a group of MPs that contain current government ministers and others tipped to lead the Conservative Party one day.
The report by the financial investment company Skandia First Steps to Wealth has been covered in the press in terms of the impact on the tax payer. However, the report contains a lot more than this headline, covering the relative benefits to young people of different routes to employment post-16. This first look at the report seeks to look at all aspects and not just the impact on the perceptions of the affordability of the Government’s current financial arrangements for tuition fee loans. Nonetheless, that element of the report is clearly very significant. The report estimates that the recurrent annual liability to the Government of the current fees regime is approximately £9bn, and that this could grow depending on the level of economic growth, the number of students and the rate of inflation.