Post-18 education and funding: options for the government review

This report from the UK think tank Education Policy Institute scrutinises the evidence on the various post-18 policy options for the government.

In February 2018, the Prime Minister launched a review into the post-18 education system, led by Philip Augar. The review is the first to examine post-18 education funding in almost a decade, and as well as considering tuition fees, will also consider the funding of wider post-18 qualifications and further education. Ahead of the review, the Education Policy Institute (EPI) has published a new report examining the evidence on the various policy options for the government. The report scrutinises policy proposals on tuition fees, student support, and non-HE funding; it outlines the evidence for each policy option, before setting out recommendations on how the government should proceed.

Key findings from the report include: Proposals from the government and opposition parties to reduce or abolish tuition fees, or lower interest rates, would have a regressive impact. To help address inequities between higher and further education funding, maintenance loans should be extended to 19-23 year olds pursuing vocational, level 3 qualifications. The government should avoid a system in which tuition fees vary by subject or university. Imposing a minimum academic standard to access university loans – a ‘UCAS tariff floor’ – should not be introduced without strong evidence that the majority of those denied loans would be better off pursuing other education routes.

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