Updated analysis by the House of Commons Library of OFFA’s announcement today on tuition fee levels, indicates a funding gap in the Government’s Higher Education budget over the next three years of between £550 - £600 million. This would be equivalent to a 6-7% cut in student numbers or between 56,000 – 65,000 student places being axed.
In April Vince Cable threatened to cut student numbers further or make deeper cuts to university funding. Gareth Thomas MP, Labour’s Shadow Universities Minister, said:
“The Government’s decision to treble tuition fees and cut university funding by 80% was never fair, never properly thought through and is clearly unsustainable.
“The Government promised that fees of £9,000 would be charged only in ‘exceptional circumstances, but today’s announcement reveals their failure to deliver on that promise. Along with their plans in their White Paper to auction student places to the lowest bidder to try to drive fees down, they are now threatening the quality of Higher Education in England.
“Not one university has been told to lower its fees and not one access agreement has been rejected by OFFA"
“Young people and their families will feel let down by the Tory-led Government's total failure to think through the consequences of a universities policy. David Cameron's is betraying young people and making it harder and harder for the next generation to get on."