WHAT EXACTLY ARE THE GOVERNMENTS PROPOSALS ON HE FUNDING?
It is easy to forget ,given the political distractions, the shenanigans in the Westminster village and the student demonstrations, what the Government are actually proposing on HE funding.
They propose to raise the cap on tuition fees to £9,000 and cut most ongoing direct public funding for tuition. They also plan to 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. Although fee loans will be extended to part-time undergraduate students, there will be cuts in direct funding for these courses and an end to means-tested grants which currently help some part-time students meet their fee and maintenance costs. Institutions charging annual fees of over £6,000 will have obligations to spend some of this income on widening participation. The Government also plans to consult on an early repayment mechanism to ensure that higher earning graduates cannot buy their way out of loan interest payments without a penalty.
The Government also aims to set up a new National Scholarships Programme (NSP) worth £150 million in 2014/15 which ‘..will be targeted at bright potential students from poor backgrounds. It will guarantee students benefits such as a free first year or foundation year.’
The current Aimhigher scheme which supports widening participation will end in July 2011.
While the Spending Review settlement gave some overall totals for the sector in 2014-15 a full breakdown of the funding settlement by spending area and year has yet to be published. The annual grant letter to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in December will give details for 2011-12, but it may not give as much or any detail for later years.