On 19 February 2018, the Prime Minister, Theresa May, announced in a speech that there would be a “wide-ranging review into post-18 education” led by Philip Augar. The review is to look at how future students will contribute to the cost of their studies, including “the level, terms and duration of their contribution.” The Prime Minister discounted the idea of moving back to a fully taxpayer funded system. It is expected that the review will report in early 2019.
The Prime Minister said that universities are better funded now “than they have been for a generation”. She also argued that recent reforms have fairly shared the cost of higher education between the taxpayer and students, and enabled the Government to lift the cap on the number of places available. However the Prime Minister expressed disappointment at the lack of a competitive higher education market, with no variable tuition fees according to cost, quality and length of courses.
New briefing paper on the Review
This briefing paper discusses the post-18 education and student finance review and gives an outline of the post- 18 funding system in England. It looks at the impact of possible options for reform that the Review may propose, such as the lowering of higher education tuition fees and reducing interest rates.
The review is to look at how future students will contribute to the cost of their studies, including “the level, terms and duration of their contribution.” The Prime Minister discounted the idea of moving back to a fully taxpayer funded system. It is expected that the review will report in early 2019.
This page will be updated as the review progresses and includes links to related briefing papers.
View or listen to the Library presentation What to expect from the Post-18 education funding review
The terms of reference for the review were published on 19 February 2018. These are set out below:
The review will focus on the following issues:
Choice and competition across a joined-up post-18 education and training sector:
The recommendations of the review will be guided by the need to:
The review will not make recommendations related to the terms of pre-2012 loans or to taxation, and its recommendations must be consistent with the Government's fiscal policies to reduce the deficit and have debt falling as a percentage of GDP.
Call for Evidence and Submissions
A Call for Evidence was made on 21 March 2018, Review of Post-18 Education and Funding: Call for Evidence. The evidence received will be used to inform the panel’s thinking on the issues set out in the terms of reference. The consultation ran for 6 weeks and closed on 2 May 2018.
Respondents were asked that submissions should not to exceed 4000 words they were asked to provide evidence and data to support their positions.
Below are a selection of submissions:
On the 17 December 2018 the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published a report Accounting for student loans: How we are improving the recording of student loans in government accounts, it had been widely reported that the Augar Review report would be delayed until after the publication of this report. Library blog, Student loans and the Government's deficit, 13 December 2018 discusses the issues in the ONS report.
Commons Briefing papers CBP-8239
Authors: Paul Bolton; Susan Hubble