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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2000): Education - UK - Higher

STUDENT FINANCE - FAIRNESS FOR THE FUTURE

Independent Committee of Inquiry into Student Finance

1999

Recommends that the decision to abolish student maintenance grants and to introduce £1000 per year tuition fees should be reversed in Scotland. Proposes that the Scottish Executive would pay the fees up front and reclaim the money after the student had graduated and gained employment. Also suggests that maintenance grants or hardship bursaries worth up to £2,000 per year be made available. The changes would not apply to English students studying in Scotland.

BLUNKETT AIMS TO DEFLECT STUDENT FEES BACKLASH WITH £68M SWEETENER

J. Carvel

Guardian, Jan. 26th 2000, p.3

In order to head off a backlash against the settlement for Scottish students agreed by the Scottish Executive, Blunkett has promised to:

  • adjust the means testing of tuition fees to exempt a further 50,000 students;
  • offer bursaries from next year to 10,000 of the poorest students;
  • provide extra childcare grants for students who are parents.

(See also Daily Telegraph, Jan. 26th 2000, p.2).

CHEAP AT HALF THE PRICE

M. Linklater

Times, Jan. 27th 2000, p.24

Praises the compromise solution to the university tuition fees problem span by Gordon Brown. The original Cubie proposals for the reorganisation of student finance in Scotland heaving been watered down. The original £25,000 salary level at which Prof Cubie suggested students should begin repayment of tuition fees is down to £10,000, and Scottish students at English universities will not benefit from the reforms. Meanwhile in England, the Education Secretary has announced a £68m hardship fund to help students and head off dissent south of the border.

COST OF STUDENT FEES DEAL FALLS ON MIDDLE CLASS

J. Allardyce

Times, Dec. 22nd 1999, p.10

Labour is to penalise middle-class families by cutting their entitlement to student loans in an effort to save the fragile coalition with the Liberal Democrats in Scotland. Labour will abolish 'up-front' university tuition fees and restore grants to students from low income families in Scotland only in order to secure the future for the Lib-Lab partnership.

(See also Daily Telegraph, Dec. 22nd 1999, p.9; Guardian, Dec. 21st 1999 p.1).

EDUCATION AND PUBLIC POLICY

J. Dutta, J. Sefton and M. Weale

Fiscal Studies, vol. 20, 1999, p.351-386

Research shows that the main benefit to the country of investment in education is improved social mobility. However, the gain to individuals in increased incomes from participation in higher education is large enough to justify charging students higher fees. Authors conclude that universities should be allowed to set their own top-up fees, as long as they offer a suitable range of scholarships to poorer students.

EDUCATION PLEDGE 'WILL FAIL' WITHOUT £5bn EXTRA FUNDS

J. Kelly

Financial Times, Dec. 17th 1999, p.5

University vice-chancellors warn that the government will fail to meet its pledge to send more than half of all young people into higher education unless it increases funding to universities by £5bn over the next three years.

(See also Guardian, Dec. 17th 1999, p.7).

FOUNDATION DEGREES FOR A-LEVEL FAILURES

M. Woolf

Daily Telegraph, Jan. 18th 2000, p.9

Reports government plans to create two-year degrees for students without sufficient qualifications to gain normal university places. The degrees are expected to be offered at new universities and further education colleges. Pupils who have gained vocational qualifications will be able to use the new degrees to gain "a second chance" and as a basis for entering traditional university courses.

HUGE FUNDING GAP DIVIDES OLD AND NEW COLLEGES

B. Russell

Independent, Jan. 5th 1999, p.6

NATFHE has produced evidence of a gulf in funding between Britain's old and new universities. Some institutions enjoy up to three times the budget for teaching of their counterparts in former polytechnics. NATFHE has called for renewed action to create a level playing field between universities.

LABOUR FACES TUITION FEE WRANGLE WITH EU

J. Allardyce

Times, Jan. 21st 2000, p.4

The devolved government has been warned that plans to abolish tuition fee at Scottish universities for Scottish students only were illegal under EU law. Warning has been given that unless fees are also waived for students from European Union countries studying in Britain there will be a 'legal challenge.

MINISTERS TARGET OVERSEAS STUDENTS IN BID TO BOOST UNIVERSITY SECTOR

J. Kelly

Financial Times, Jan. 24th 2000, p.5

In order to increase the UK's competitiveness in the global higher education market, government has announced the following new measures:

  • abolition of the requirement for overseas students to obtain permission from Job Centres for part-time work;
  • provision for students to apply to stay in indefinitely as long as any work they do is related to their studies;
  • permission for students to stay on without a job to await exam results;
  • relaxation of the rules restricting the right of students' families and dependents to work.

PERISH THE THOUGHT

S. Jenkins

Times, Jan. 7th 2000, p.22

Argues that Britain's universities have relinquished their autonomy in exchange for state funds and are now subject to ever tighter central control.

SCOTS STUDENTS' £2,000 GRANTS 'THE MOST GENEROUS IN EUROPE'

J. O'Sullivan

Independent, Jan. 26th 2000, p.5

Grants of up to £2,000 per year will be given to up to 10,000 Scots studying in their home country from next year. Up-front tuition fees of £1,000 per year will be scrapped for all 100,000 Scots residents attending Scottish universities. Instead, graduates will pay off a sum of £2,000 once they are earning more than £10,000 a year. Scottish students attending university in England and English students studying in Scotland will be ineligible for the new grants.

STUDENT FEE INCENTIVE COULD CAUSE CHAOS

J. O'Leary

Times, Jan. 27th 2000, p.12

Predicts that the abolition of up-front tuition fees in Scottish universities for students based in Scotland could cause chaos in the admissions procedure as student change their plans. There will be greater competition for places at Scottish universities, while English institutions in the North and in London may experience a fall in demand for places.

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