As reported by The Guardian, proposals to cut tuition fees and extend student loan repayments could ‘prove to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing’
A new report suggests that students from less advantaged backgrounds should be given £3,000 to remain in education.
Former prime minister, David Cameron, scrapped maintenance grants during his administration.
However, Theresa May stated that this was a ‘mistake’ and grants could be reinstated to ensure less well-off young people remain in education.
May said: “My view is very clear: removing maintenance grants from the least well-off students has not worked, and I believe it is time to bring them back.”
May commissioned the report into student debt and tuition fees and its release was delayed several times.
Its proposal include cutting tuition fees to £7,500, extending student loan repayments from 30 to 40 years, allowing a single, rebranding student loans as ‘student contributions’ and boosting funding for further education colleges and vocational training.
Angela Rayner, Labour’s shadow education secretary, said: “The report alone does nothing to address the burning injustices facing our education system.
“With no formal government response, no extra funding and no guarantee that the recommendations will be implemented by her successor, the Augar review epitomises May’s legacy as prime minister and this shambolic Tory government; all talk, empty promises and very little action.”
Shakira Martin, president of the National Union of Students (NUS), added: “This announcement is too little too late, given that Theresa May’s legacy in higher education will always be the deportation of thousands of our international student friends and colleagues.”
University leaders have been quick to speak out about the funding-based proposals, with some fearing that it would also affect universities in Scotland and Wales.
“On the face of it, the fee-level recommendations may look good for students, but unless the government gives a cast-iron guarantee on full replacement funding, it could prove to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of the Universities UK lobby group.
“Cutting fees without replacement funding would be a political choice which hurts students, limits opportunity, damages universities, decreases the number of highly-skilled employees that business needs, and reduces our international competitiveness at a time when modern Britain needs it most.”