Key questions on review into post-18 education system

A Government-commissioned review has set out a series of recommendations to reform the post-secondary school education system.

Here are answers to some of the key questions about the report:

– What is the Post-18 Education and Funding Review?

Prime Minister Theresa May launched the review, led by former banker Philip Augar, in February 2018 to investigate the funding, access, choice and skills of post-18 education.

Philip Augar
Philip Augar (Jonathan Brady/PA)

– What is the current university funding system?

Tuition fees in England were trebled in 2012, and the vast majority of courses cost the maximum of £9,250 per year.

According to estimates by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), the average student can leave university owing more than £50,000.

Students who started their course after September 2012 begin paying their loans back when they earn more than £25,725 a year and the loans are normally written off 30 years after repayments start.

– What is being proposed?

The review recommends slashing maximum tuition fees to £7,500, reintroducing maintenance grants of at least £3,000 a year, and extending the loan repayment period from 30 to 40 years.

It has also suggested changing the earning threshold for repaying the loans from £25,000 a year to median non-graduate earnings, which is around £23,000 at 2017-18 prices.

– How much is it going to cost?

The review estimates that in England the recommendations will need an extra £1 billion in one-off capital investment and cost between £300 million and £600 million a year.

– What does it mean for students?

Current students will not be affected because the recommendations are proposed to be introduced in 2021-22, said Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.

Martin Lewis
Martin Lewis (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

But he said that in the longer term the proposals mean that while tuition fees will be lower, many graduates will begin making repayments earlier and pay them most of their working lives.

– What does it mean for universities?

While a drop in tuition fees means universities will receive less income from students, the panel proposes the Government should replace the lost fee in full by increasing the teaching grant.

– What happens next?

Theresa May
Theresa May (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The recommendations will be considered as part of the next comprehensive spending review, Mrs May said, which is expected to be concluded around the time of the autumn budget.

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