Dear Colleagues, 

We wanted to update you on two important Government announcements relevant to our students and the funding system that underpins their education.

Earlier this week the Government announced that EU students starting their undergraduate courses in 2020/21 will continue to be eligible for Home fee status for the duration of their course, regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. This is welcome news for our prospective EU students and follows intense lobbying from us and colleagues across the sector to get urgently needed clarity on this issue.

Today, the Post-18 Education and Funding Review Panel published its report to Government. The independent panel, led by Dr Philip Augar, was asked by the Government in February 2018 to make recommendations as part of an overall review of post-18 education and funding in England. The report’s main findings and recommendations include: 

  • The average per-student resource should be frozen for three further years from 2020/21 until 2022/23.
  • The cap for tuition fees chargeable to Home UG students should be cut from £9,250 to £7,500 per year. Lost fee income should be replaced with an increased government contribution to teaching costs. 
  • The increased government contribution should be aligned with the modern Industrial Strategy and directed to courses which cost more to deliver and offer better value to students and taxpayers. Support for high-quality specialist institutions that could be adversely affected should be reviewed and if necessary increased.
  • The student loan system should reduce in-study interest charges from the current rate of 6.3% (RPI + 3%). Students should repay their loans sooner and make repayments up to 40 years after completing their studies.
  • Means-tested Government-funded maintenance grants of at least £3,000 per year for low-income students should be re-introduced.

In our College submission to the Review Panel last year we set out three priorities for the post-18 education and funding system:

  • The system must be sustainable and based on a fair balance of public and private contributions;
  • Higher education must be accessible to all students regardless of financial background; and
  • It must bridge the gap between the current funding for, and the actual cost of, providing a world-leading STEM education.

We will now consider the report’s detailed findings and recommendations against these three priorities. The proposals in the report will need to be reviewed by the next Prime Minister and their Cabinet before a formal Government response will be published. In the meantime we will continue to engage with key decision-makers and stakeholders in Westminster as the report is discussed and debated alongside alternative policy proposals in the coming weeks and months.

If you have any questions or comments please do get in touch and we will continue to update you with any significant developments.

Best wishes,

Alice and Ian

Professor Alice P. Gast, President

Professor Ian Walmsley, Provost