The Introduction of Student Funding.
The origin of tuition fees for higher education began in 1998 with Sir Ron Dearing. He produced a landmark report into the future of higher education. The Dearing Report (1997) explains how higher education should be funded for 20 years and who should fund higher education in the future, but he knew that there would be some issues in the near future with regard to the changes in the policy. Exploring the widening participation among women, ethnic minorities and students with disabilities, this indicates university should open to people with different background and not just with working-class students.
According to the Browne Report (2010), stated there are now many people enrolled, studying increasingly countless subjects at a diverse set of higher education institutions (‘HEIs). This demonstrates amounts of students that have enrolled is increasing in England, the more students there are, the more that the funding would increase as well. However, the Higher Education Act (1998), suggested start introducing the tuition fee of £1,000 in 1998/9, which has increased throughout the years. Both authors have high competitive edges, which mean that other countries challenged the policies and they are increasing investment in their higher education institutions (HEIs).
Both Dearing and Browne argue if students should repay the loans, then the outcome of the implementation of this policy will work. However, in the 21st Century, there has been a few adjustments on university student funding. The tuition fees were £1,000 in 1999, and in 2012 the government has reformed the tuition fees to £9,000, and the outcome of this will be deeply discussed in this paper.
This report will examine the policy for student finance in a wider context of higher education of a sustainable future for higher education. There appear to be many issues on the implementation and evaluation, but this report will focus solely on policy formulation. The formulation of this policy will address the financial issues that university students have the £9,000 tuition fee and how it has a major impact on the university students. The purpose of this report is to explore the aspects of the policy and researching the agencies that are responsible for its appearance on the policy agenda and identifying how the higher education policy has been created. Throughout this report, there will be some theoretical arguments on whether students need to pay for higher education.
The agenda setting is an idea of what the public think about and it is set by the media. According to Hill (2014, p.161) stated the agenda-setting/formulation distinction is a particularly difficult one to make since the modern world we rarely see an issue entirely new appearing on the agenda. Which illustrates the government are responsible for the making of a discussion or a plan on the student finance, as it was a distinct decision to make. Whereas in the present it is not often that we see a problem that would appear on the agenda but if it does happen there is a powerful influence between the initial stages. This method shows it follows how it should be interpreted as a solid form.
The Formulation of Higher Education Funding:
As said by Hill (2014, p.181) which, stated, the attention to policy formulation is important to avoid falling into the act of the policy process. In which it has two stages that are highlighted: one in which politicians make the policy and the other in which civil servants merely implement it. To observe the policy formulation for the higher education and see if the politician is making the correct decision for this particular policy, then they will accomplish a lot. In which they can create a system that may work for the government, students and the society. However, there is an argument to stating that students should pay for their higher education because they get the benefit and the other argument states that everyone is benefited from funding higher education. Even people who do not go to university is benefit, the fact that there seem to be more people with degrees in the society, illustrating that the better educated the society is the better the economy is.
As a result, the government has suggested changing the policy of higher education for students in the university. The outcome of the changes that, Theresa May (Prime Minister), has provided for universities students across the United Kingdom has become an issue for significant people including; the society. However, a most debated question is, who benefits with the higher education funding? It appears to have two viewers; one the student benefits and the other societal benefits. This indicates either the students or the society have an advantage in paying the funding for higher education and if so, would the outcome be worth it for both viewers? Perhaps, having the £9,000 tuition fees may have a disadvantage for university students with amount of debt they will face when they have graduated. Although, the Dearing report has recognised the need for new sources of finance for higher education to acknowledge these issues and to provide for growth. The report suggested that all students have an obligation to make contributions to the cost of their higher education once they are working. Which may clarify students should be in a right position to pay back the loans that they borrowed, from earning enough after they have graduated from university.
Browne (2010) argues: ‘the pressure on public finances could mean that students have to pay upfront or rely on loans from banks and money from families to meet the costs of higher education’. This illustrates there is a limited cost for higher education and students who would like to study in university need to meet the cost set by the government. However, with the changes of higher education funding may possibly be impossible for students to enter University. As said by Browne (2010) “the current system puts a limit on the level of investment in higher education”. Highlighting that fact that the system has a maximum amount of investment in higher education, which demonstrates that England is falling behind from competing with other countries. Therefore, the formulation of this policy which has been created for university students who were willing to pay the amount that has been given to them is essential because at the time seems like a good plan, but the government did not consider the consequence at the end of their ‘perfect policy’. Plus, having a small investment in the policy will affect the government formulation and will force to reconsidering changing the policy of Higher education.
As Browne (2010) notes: ‘no Higher Education Institutions (HEI) can grow in the current system to respond to student demand. Many prospective students do not get adequate advice or information to help them choose a course of study’. Which suggested students are unable to decide on whether higher education is for them, giving a well-scripted information will allow students to choose the correct course to study. It is difficult to make a correct and final decision. ‘No one should be discouraged from studying in higher education after the cost of living while studying’. (Browne, 2010, p. 4). Students should not feel pressured with the money that they have to pay back while studying at university.
Similarly, NUS (2017) assets that producing some average costs of study and living for students, may give them a guide to what they might need to spend each year, as well as tips for saving money. Furthermore, with some adjustments on the higher education funding will allow students to be cautious on the cost for higher education. Browne (2014, p.8) also points out that the current funding and finance systems for higher education are unattainable and need urgent reform. In which, to improve the policy of higher education the government needs to give less fees to university students, this may enable the system to be at the same level that the government has expected.
To date, the government’s proposals for higher education funding in England, which has responded from the Browne’s review, and there are some differences comparing to the Lord Browne’s proposals. Which suggested that: “saving the taxpayers money, a fee cap on the £9,000, increasing the interest rate for higher earning graduates and making the maintenance loan system more complex without any significant savings to the taxpayers compared to the Browne’s proposals” (Dearden, Chowdry and Wyness, 2018). This proposal is fighting against the introduction of student funding, with this it may help the system be more adjustable for everyone so that universities students, staff, and taxpayers will be satisfied with the outcome.
Alternatively, it may possibly be that the society is also benefited from funding the higher education because they are contributed as an investment, and the society may enable the government to set up fees for university students. As said by Johnson (2017): “a fair sharing of the cost of higher education between students and taxpayers”. This give a good advantage to the society and students because they get an equal share of cost for the fees, with the raised of the £9,000 for higher education funding gives everyone a close attention and the higher education policy has a major impact on the taxpayers for the inflation on the interest rate of higher education. As Long (2014) states: “the rise in tuition fees in 2010, which has affected many people most in a position to benefit from but least in a position to access to higher education”. This may possibly be more expensive to go to university due to the way this policy has reform in 2012, than people can get access to higher education. Before applying to attend the chosen university, many students are aware they are going to be receiving a loan from the government.
In addition, there may possibly be a class issue which implies that middle-class students tend to go to university because they can afford it, whereas, working-class students tend not to go to university with the expectation of paying a lot for the higher education. “Students from working-class backgrounds are significantly less likely to attend college (particularly 4-year institutions) and persist to degree completion than their peers from middle and upper-social classes” (Astin & Oseguera, 2004; McDonough, 1997; Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005; Tinto, 2006; Walpole, 2007). This may possibly be an issue for the government because the fewer people that do not go to university will have an effect on their political system. Therefore, the government is highly responsible for the implementation of this policy, as the result of the rise of university students funding to £9,000 and with the outcome of students having to come out with so much debts when they finish university.
However, there seem to be different types of system, as stated by Kingdon (1995) there are various policies and deciding on the best way to approach the policy. The type of system is graduate tax (where students do not borrow money when you are a graduate but once students earn a certain amount of money they must pay slightly higher rate of tax), student loans and upfront payment. In this, the most important question is, in principle are the government is going to charge students? If so, then what type of system is best to use for this policy. ‘Essentially, the university would be taking an equity interest in the graduate premium earned by the student, although any student who chose to do so could instead pay the full fees up-front prior to beginning their studies’ (Ainsworth, 2014). The media have suggested students should pay the full fees up-front, this system would allow universities to escape from the government money power and receive their funding directly from their graduates. This is a political decision that needed to be made by the government on whether this system (up-front payment) is the most effective way to formulate the policy of higher education, but, this, however, is not the only way to implement the policy because some people are content with this type of system than others. “The British system is designed for decisiveness rather than deliberation” (The Blunders, 2010).
Furthermore, other parts of United Kingdom (UK); such as Scotland, Wales and Ireland have formulated their higher education policy differently compared to England. “In Scotland, they changed the policy where the fee where it could be free were introduced for students from the rest of the UK” (Riddell,2013). Whereas, Wales
The Implementation of Student Funding:
The issue concerning with the implementation of the policy is that the government is providing loans for students, but some students never pay the loan back, such approach, has causes a big impact on the formulation of the policy. With this the government knew that they are not going to receive some of the loan back because some students do not pay back the money which they have borrowed. In contrast, the Government have a private company, which they would like to sale, but no one is buying the private company because they are making a lot of debt and the mistake that they made from the formulation of the policy.
Choices that has been made
The Interest rates would change – inflation loan low?
Which ‘level’ of government is responsible for the implementation e.g. local/ national/ supernational?
The policy has refined over time and alternatives offered; what critiques are made who opposes policy and why? The principal issues raised in the media coverage of the policy
The long-term impact of the policy:
The long- term impact of the policy Practical- inefficacy student loan
Debt future implication
The policy has been successful? How could this be measured?
762 words to go!
The formulation did not work because…
Should they carry on with the tuition fees?
Ideological debates or disputes over the policy? A comparison of the position of two or more political parties with respect to a policy?
According to Dorey (2014) stated: “ideology- whereupon the dominant values, norms and beliefs of policy makers will play an important role in defining an issue as a problem requiring political attention”. This indicates…
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Dorey, P. (2014) Policy making in Britain. Los Angeles, Calif. u.a.: Sage.
Dearden,L., Chowdry, H. and Wyness, G. (2018) Governnment prosposals for higher education would squeeze high earners less and cost the taxpayers more.Ifs.org.uk,online. Accessed 6 January 2018. Available at:
Gillard, D. (2017) Dearing Report 1997 – full text. Educationengland.org.uk online. Accessed 11 December 2017. Available at:
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House of lords Hansard (2018) Higher Education: Funding – Hansard Online. Hansard.parliament.uk, online. Accessed 6 January 2018. Available at:
Johnson, J. (2017) Why would we scrap £9,000-a-year tuition fees when we know they work?. The Guardian, online. Accessed 21 December 2017. Available at:
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NUS (2017) How can I manage my money better? online. Accessed 22 December 2017. Available at:
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Tinto, V. (2006). Research and practice of student retention. What’s next? Journal of College Student Retention, 8(1), 1–19.
Walpole, M. (2007). Economically and educationally challenged students in higher education: Access to outcomes (ASHE Higher Education Report, Vol. 33, No. 3). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Riddell, S., S. Edward, E. Boeren and E. Weedon (2013), Widening Access to Higher Education: Does Anyone Know What Works? A Report to Universities Scotland, Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh, Centre for Research in Education Inclusion and Diversity (CREID)