17 Feb 2018
Dr Greg Walker's statement in full:
"MillionPlus welcomes the review of post-18 education funding, having called for such a review before the last general election. We welcome reports that the Prime Minister will acknowledge that there are problems with the existing system and confirmation that the review will be evidence-based and not rushed.
"The review is an opportunity to look at how we can help students and young people struggling with living costs and caring commitments and address the unintended sharp drop in part-time and mature student numbers. Restoring maintenance grants and improving support for mature learners would help address concerns on student debt and offer new opportunities to those aiming to ‘learn while they earn’ or bring up a family.
"Whatever the terms announced this week, the watchwords of the review should be sustainability and equity, for both students and universities. A cut in tuition fees without a plan to replace that lost income would risk the world-leading reputation of Britain’s higher education sector and lead to major job losses in many regions of England.
"As former Conservative education ministers have recently acknowledged, a move to differential fees between providers or linking fees to graduate earnings would simply transfer resources to students from better-off backgrounds and to universities who happen to be based in wealthier regions of England. Such moves would do nothing to address the major productivity challenge we face as a nation, or the divisions between north and south that animated the Brexit debate and rightly inspired much of the Industrial Strategy agenda. MillionPlus will be providing evidence to the review supporting a sustainable and equitable system, proposing measures to address concerns about debt and wider access to higher education."