Augar review quietly shelved

The review’s central proposal to cut tuition fees to £7,500 will now not go ahead, government sources say

Plans to cut tuition fees will now not go ahead, government sources say.

The plan to reduce fees was a central plank of the Augar review which was published at the end of May 2019.

Much of the post-18 review of education and funding – chaired by former banker Philip Augar – has been quietly shelved, the Sunday Times reported.

Sources told the Times the plan to slash tuition fees from £9,250 to £7,500 had been dropped because the government no longer had a majority in parliament to do it.

The Augar review was commissioned by Theresa May and sought to reduce the financial pressure on students going to university, save the government money and ensure a greater share of future loans was repaid.

According to a House of Commons research briefing from June 2019, more than £16bn is loaned to students each year.

The value of outstanding loans reached £121bn this year and the government predicts that figure will increase to £450bn (2018/19 prices) by 2050. “The expansion of loans has raised questions about graduate repayments and ultimately the cost of the system to the taxpayer,” the research briefing notes.

Read more: Augar proposals bad for university research, Lords warn

Some parts of the review, like fast-track two-year degrees and more part-time courses, will still go ahead, and education secretary Gavin Williamson has asked the Office for Students to use its regulatory powers to implement them.

The department for education has said no decision had been taken on the future of the report.

Speaking at the Universities UK conference earlier this month, Williamson claimed the report was a “thorough and comprehensive study” which will “make a big difference to our thinking”.



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