Proposed changes in the way universities compete for places. For better or for worse?
With all the doom and gloom batted about, and with the impending rise of tuition fees for the forthcoming crop of prospective university students and higher student inflation, more controversy has entered the stage.
A group of MPs from the Business, Innovation and skills department have recently come out with a report saying the Government need to delay their plan which would allow universities to compete for extra places.
What’s the Government’s plan?
For those universities not raising fees to the highest cap of £9000, they’ve proposed that those who raise tuition fees to only £7,500 or less, an extra 20,000 university places will be up for grabs for universities to compete for.
This basically means that the reform proposed would allow expansion for institutions recruiting top-achieving A-level students. With 27 universities lowering their fees from the levels they set earlier in the year, this offers candidates who have been deterred by the stark rise in tuition fees a wider choice of universities and courses, while not being subjected to the full throttle of £9000 per year fees.
The move to allow the increased competition for places as well as greater financial support for those students from poorer backgrounds seems like a good option; and while the momentum is there, it is important to offer students the financial support they adequately require. We all complain about not having enough money to go out, but spare a thought for those who are unable to meet their rent payments.
I was a bit worried at first, as the government wanted to delay this sort of proposal for 12 months until after the tuition fee rise comes into place, but it’s also equally important to have things properly set out. I wouldn’t hand in an essay four weeks before the deadline which was a rushed-attempt when I have more time to improve it would I?
With the amount of proposals being put through their paces that it’s doubtful that everyone will understand the mechanisms going on behind the tuition fees, but it is important to understand the basics (check out how the rise in Tuition fees will affect you here).
The committee also said that by allowing this extra time to implement policies, they can also put forward a system which helps financially-strapped students with extra funding for living costs (Wahey!). They’ve called for a “Pupil Premium” such as that being brought in for schools in England, where money follows poorer students. This seems like a great initiative to redistribute support back into the system where need be, and help put more money in our pockets when we most need it!
A more detailed account of the tuition fee rise and some standard Q+A can be found here.