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Labour has today written to Higher Education Minister David Willetts calling for action as new research exposes how the Tory-led Government’s botched higher education reforms could deter some of the most disadvantaged students from going to university.

Following the announcement this week by the Higher Education Statistics Authority showing that in 2010-2011 total enrolments in higher education flatlined, independent research by the House of Commons library shows that government policies are putting participation rates in higher education at risk.

The research shows bursaries to students are being cut by £15 million, while £23 million through ‘fee waivers’ is being taken out of the system by the Government. This is to try to fill a black-hole in the Government’s botched funding calculations.

Shabana Mahmood MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Higher Education, said:

"This is further evidence of how the Tory-led Government’s misguided and unfair tuition fee policy is hitting the hopes of the next generation.

“Parents and students will be concerned at the news that recent changes, which push a number of universities to offer fee waivers and cut bursaries, could put at risk widening participation from students from different backgrounds. So I have written to David Willetts for answers and action.

“David Cameron's unfair, unnecessary and unsustainable decision to treble tuition fees to £9,000 is a direct attack on the aspirations of people up and down the country. This out of touch Government should change course, listen to Labour and adopt our proposals which would see tuition fees cut to £6,000 - paid for by reversing the corporation tax cut on the banks.”

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