Press release

MillionPlus comment on the government’s higher education reforms

24 Feb 2022

MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities, has today (24 February) commented on the government’s announcement of higher education reforms.

Rachel Hewitt, Chief Executive of MillionPlus, said:

“As was probably always likely, the government’s response to Augar is a mixed bag. Having long called for a more flexible funding system, we welcome the government’s commitment to delivering a Lifelong Learning Entitlement and are committed to working with them so that this potentially transformative policy bears fruit. An increase to the teaching grant is also good news, though a comb through the small print is yet required to get to the bottom of the detail.

“However, it must be recognized that a continued freeze in university fees, while inflation rises rapidly, means universities are again being asked to do more with less. As we are emerging from a two-year pandemic and with the government geared towards levelling up left behind towns, cities and regions, this could risk stifling universities when instead the government should be supporting them to thrive, for the sake of the entire country.

“While it is encouraging that exceptions are to be made for mature students, any minimum grade threshold for accessing higher education will fall hardest on those from areas of greater deprivation and lower participation, the very areas the government has pledged to level up. For prospective students who have followed non-traditional paths into higher education, or indeed have been failed by the schools system, there should be a pathway still open to them into higher education. This should be fundamental.”


Notes to editors

  1. For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Dan Blows on 020 3927 2916 or email
  2. MillionPlus is the Association for Modern Universities in the UK, and the voice of 21st century higher education. We champion, promote and raise awareness of the essential role and impact of modern universities in the UK’s world-leading higher education sector. More information can be found at
  3. What are modern universities? Modern universities are long established centres of higher education in their communities with roots that stretch back decades, if not centuries. Many gained university title following legislation agreed by parliament in 1992. They make up almost half of the UK university sector with over a million students studying at modern universities every year.
  4. Modern universities: facts and stats 2021