Ahead of the Augur review, the Education Policy Institute (EPI) has published a new report examining the validity and evidence on the various policy options facing the government, arguing that many of the proposals said to have been under consideration, such as reducing fees and/or interest rates, introducing 'tariff floors' etc., all tend to be regressive. The report calls instead for a more targeted approach that would support part time, mature and disadvantaged learners as well as addressing inequities between HE and FE funding and providing support to non HE routes and those taking Level 3 vocational programmes.
The Report proposes, should the government decide to reduce overall tuition fee levels, that the reduction should at least be partially offset by increasing teaching grants, with priority given to high-cost subjects.
The government should also avoid a system in which tuition fees vary by subject, specialist institution or university.
Varying fees by subject with the intention to steer students toward high labour market driven courses has been ineffective when applied in other countries, with demand remaining largely unresponsive to changes in price.