Lords want university grants increased if tuition fees are cut

9 Aug 19

Cutting tuition fees would be “devastating” for university finances, Lords have claimed.

Proposals in the Augar Review to cut tuition fees in England to £7,500 must be supported by an increase in grants, according to a lords science and technology committee.

The report said: “Any loss in funding would require universities to divert income streams to support teaching, reducing the resources available to support research.”

Peers said that the Augar Review, which also suggested reinstating maintenance grants, made “no attempt” to assess the potential impact of its recommended reductions in student fees on the funding of research.

Lord Patel, chair of the committee, said: “Without adequate research funding, the consequences for the UK will be devastating and the UK risks falling behind other countries.

“The government intends to spend 2.4% GDP on research and development by 2027, but we conclude that it will be extremely difficult to meet this target unless funding for research in universities is secured and the UK can attract researchers from overseas.”

University research is also dependent on recruiting academics from abroad including within the EU.

As such the committee said it is “vital” that after Brexit UK universities can continue to attract the best researchers and are not hindered by the salary threshold as recommended in the government’s immigration white paper.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “As part of our ongoing review of post-18 education and funding we will be responding to Philip Augar’s recommendations in due course.

“We have committed an additional £7 billion for Research and Development by 2022, through the National Productivity Investment Fund – the largest increase since records began.”

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