Labour Research, vol, 90, Oct. 2001, p. 18-19
The average level of student debt on completion of degrees in 2002 is expected to be £10,000-£12,000. The prospect of such a level of debt, together with tuition fees in England and Wales, is deterring young people from low income families from entering higher education. Falling numbers of applicants are adding to the funding difficulties experienced by universities.
Times, Oct. 11th 2001, p. 19
Ministers' fears that mounting student debt would reduce demand for university places have proved unfounded. Enrollments for full time courses are up 5% on 2000, compared with a rise 1-2% in, previous years.
Times, Oct. 3rd 2001, p.
The Vice-Chancellor of London University has attacked the government's target of half of all young people entering higher education by 2010. He argued that it would lead to a further deterioration in university standards. He said that over 50% of people were unsuited to university study, and should be encouraged to enter vocational education.
Guardian, Oct. 4th 2001, p. 1 + 13
Government has responded to widespread concern about student debt by announcing a review of the student finance system. Predicts that maintenance grants will be reintroduced, at least for students from low-income families. Loans will still be available to top up the grants. Tuition fees may be scrapped. All graduates will be subject to a special tax for 20 to 25 years to repay the state for their education.
(See also Times, Oct 4th 2001, p. 14; Financial Times, Oct. 4th 2001; p. 6)
Demonstrates growing concerns about the future of graduate studies in the arts, humanities and social sciences. It is becoming difficult to recruit students to undertake PhD study in some subjects, and to encourage people to stay on and become academics. The main drivers of these changes appear to be: for students, the financial disincentives of increasing debt and low stipends; and for academics, unattractively low salaries and the decreasing appeal of an academic career. Report recommends increasing PhD stipends, progressively waiving student debt for those entering academic life, and improving academic pay and conditions. It also proposes more flexible methods of study through part-time and partnership arrangements and improved marketing of the benefits of a PhD.
Financial Times, Sept. 25th 2001, p. 10
Some of Britain's top universities are forecasting large financial deficits in 2001/02, putting renewed pressure on the government to increase funding. Universities complain that they are being asked to expand the higher education system while lack of funds adversely affects the upkeep of buildings, laboratories, staff rewards and general investment in infrastructure.
(See also Daily Telegraph, Sept. 25th 2001, p. 13)