Universities in fees shake-up

THE long-awaited report from Lord Browne into university tuition fees and student finances will recommend a series of proposals, which aim to ensure those from low income households will still be able to access higher education that is “free at the point of entry”.

City A.M. understands the report, which is published today, will include proposals to remove the current cap on tuition fees of £3,290. But this will be balanced by the introduction of a tapered levy that will, in effect, tax universities that charge more than £6,000 a year in tuition fees.

Some of the money raised from the levy should be used to provide better career advice in state schools,?Browne will say, so that pupils will be better informed about their career opportunities on leaving education.

Meanwhile, students from households with an income of less than £60,000 should receive a grant and a student loan, both of which will see a “meaningful increase”, while the whole system for providing financial assistance should be simplified.

The amount of grant a student will be entitled to should be determined by household income but those from households with an income of less than £25,000 should receive a full grant for the entire cost of their university tuition, Browne will say.

The report also recognises that asking graduates to repay loans for their tuition fees once they begin to earn £15,000 a year places an unnecessary financial burden on them. It recommends raising the threshold at which the loans become payable to yearly earnings of £21,000.

The report adds tuition fees and financial support should be the same for part-time and full-time students.