Theresa May announces review of university fees

Students From The School Of Arts And Creative Industries At South Bank University Graduate

Students From The School Of Arts And Creative Industries At South Bank University Graduate

Mrs May, announcing the year-long review of student finance and university funding, will warn that the current system has failed to deliver sufficient competition on price - with nearly all courses being charged at the maximum £9,250 per year.

He added: 'I would like to see options available which have different costs'.

The education secretary Damian Hinds told the BBC fees should reflect the value of the degree.

"Injecting new investment to help the poorest students with their living costs and tackling the decline in mature and part-time study must be priorities".

Greening, who was sacked as Education Secretary in the January reshuffle, claimed cutting the cost of humanities and social science subjects could deter students from poorer backgrounds signing up for more expensive science and engineering courses.

Theresa May will today pledge to secure better value for students in England, which has "one of the most expensive systems of university tuition in the world", and will also condemn the "outdated attitude" that favours university over technical education.

Restoring maintenance grants for poorer students, scrapped previous year, would reduce their level of borrowing.

May's Conservatives, or Tories, have long defended their approach, arguing that requiring students to pay helps fund more places so more people can study, and puts more of the burden of the cost of higher education on those who benefit most from it.

"The truth is the Tories can't compete with Labour's education policy, which includes scrapping fees entirely and bringing back maintenance grants and the EMA [Education Maintenance Allowance]".

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She also said interest rates on student loans should be cut to zero to ease the cost of graduate repayments.

Greening said the review "probably needs to look at maintenance grants" as "there is a growing body of opinion we should look to reintroduce them if we can".

She will say: "The competitive market between universities which the system of variable tuition fees envisaged has simply not emerged".

'These are tough issues to resolve, they will require some very tough trade-offs, that is why you need a review to look at the evidence dispassionately, especially as we also want to preserve the really good bits of the current system'.

The review comes amid widespread concern about the debt burden on students and the high interest rates, now 6.1 per cent, on loans. "That includes how disadvantaged students and learners receive maintenance support, both from government and universities and colleges", she will say.

Lord Willetts said higher fees for courses with the highest graduate earnings would become a "reverse pupil premium", giving even more money to the most advantaged courses and institutions.

Labour's shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, has called for services in further and higher education to be free at the point of delivery.

"All forms of education and all subjects have great value and great worth". The debts are repaid by taking 9% of graduate income above £25,000, with any remaining debts 30 years after graduation being scrapped.

Professor Dame Janet Beer, president of Universities UK and vice-chancellor of the University of Liverpool, said: "Future success depends on universities having stable and sustainable funding, which the current system provides".

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