Government ties the hands of universities

Dr Steve Davies says the latest reforms do not go far enough

Government proposals for reform to university funding are welcome but stop short of securing real reform, argues Dr Steve Davies, Education Director at the Institute of Economic Affairs, in response to the proposals put forward today.

“The government’s proposals are welcome, but water down a very important part of Lord Browne’s original report – that being that universities will be allowed truly to set their own fee levels. If the UK is to have a world-class university sector, institutions must be allowed and encouraged to compete, and being able to set their own fees is a very important way of doing this.

“By imposing a cap of £9,000, the government has tied the hands of universities and closed the sector to the liberating effects of market forces. It is, however, encouraging that universities have not been saddled with meeting arbitrary intake levels of students from poorer backgrounds.

“Competition for teachers and students is the key factor in promoting excellence in an education system and today’s proposals only go part way towards achieving that. The government has started down the road towards a reformed university sector but has, unfortunately, put the brakes on before true change has been secured.”

 

To arrange an interview with Dr Steve Davies, IEA Education Director, please contact Ruth Porter, Communications Manager, 077 5171 7781, 020 7799 8900, rporter@iea.org.uk.

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

The IEA recently published an article on university funding, advocating for deferred fees, in our termly journal Economic Affairs.

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.

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