Thursday, April 07, 2011

UK higher education policy: damned if you do, damned if you don't

Vince Cable has now weighed in once more on higher education. Details here in what can be called the "damned if you do, damned if you don't" higher education policy of his government.

The UK government has raised the cap on tuition fees to £9,000. Many universities have declared they will charge fees of £9,000 and this is not what the government claims to have expected.

Universities are damned if they do: if they charge £9,000 and can't fill all places on their degree programmes, then Cable has said that future places may be permanently cut. Plus, if too many universitities charge £9,000, then this will put too much pressure on a squeezed education budget and they can expect cuts elsewhere.

Universities are also damned if they don't: if further cuts come into place because too many universities have charged £9,000, then universities that will earn less by charging less....may earn even less with the cuts elsewhere. There is also the reputational risks associated with charging lower fees.

Easily one of the worst higher education policies I know.

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