Six Russell Group universities reject government loans for postgrad review

A consortium representing 6 of the country’s leading universities has urged the government not to adopt a state-backed loan system as a solution to the social mobility crisis in postgraduate training.

A recent report from the Institute for Public Policy Analysis (IPPR) outlined a “workable and affordable” model exactly where postgraduate college students could borrow £10,000 to cover the expense of tuition. This would be paid back at 9% of earnings in between £15,000-£21,000.

Chancellor George Osborne has mentioned there will be an announcement on postgraduate funding in following month’s autumn statement. IPPR’s model – which is primarily based on a 2011 proposal by Tim Leunig, who now operates as an advisor to the Division for Education – is probably to be regarded by the Treasury.

The numbers of people enrolled in Uk taught master’s programmes has steadily declined from a peak of 160,000 in 2009-ten to the existing degree of 140,000 students a 12 months.

Two thirds of those who say they are unlikely to get up postgraduate review cite expensive program costs as the reason, and admit far more financial help could assist change their thoughts.

But the chair of a consortium of six Russell Group universities, which was offered £3m as element of a Increased Schooling Funding Council for England task to widen access to postgraduate schooling, has mentioned a state loan method will not support people from much less properly-off backgrounds.

Tony Strike, director of technique, arranging and change at the University of Sheffield stated: “The vast majority of postgraduate college students are in the fortunate place that they can and do shell out, so the initial problem with a state loan scheme is that it is not extremely efficient – it would just displace with taxpayers money the private investment that most postgraduate students are putting in.

“The second issue is that a third of our undergraduate alumni have said that whilst they’d like to do a postgraduate course they really do not want to add to their debt burden.”

The consortium consists of the universities of Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Warwick and York.

Strike explained that the consortium’s study demonstrates that college students from much less nicely-off backgrounds are more probably than typical to say they want to go onto postgraduate study, but are discouraged by debt.

Still, the loan system has won assistance from several university chiefs. Sir Steve Smith, vice-chancellor at the University of Exeter and member of IPPR’s commission on the future of higher schooling, said: “This proposal has the really real likely to assist break down the financial barriers that a considerable quantity of college students face when pursuing postgraduate research.

“It is essential that all college students, no matter what their background or circumstances, ought to have a clear and cost-effective route to postgraduate training. This recommendation would be cost-effective to government and, equally importantly, to the students themselves.”

The Russell Group consortium – led by the University of Sheffield – says scholarships which are joint-funded by government, institutions and employers would be a far better alternative. The group also presented the country’s largest-ever scholarship package to 430 students earlier this yr.

“If the state was to supply universities money that institutions would be anticipated to match to develop targeted scholarships, that would have a significantly much more useful effect on the widening participation group than offering them a further credit facility,” mentioned Strike.

But Rick Muir, author of the IPPR report, mentioned a mass scholarship programme would be unaffordable. His report claims the postgraduate loan non-repayment price would be only seven%, much reduced than the forty-45% of undergraduate loans which go unpaid.

He stated: “I’m in favour of scholarships but there is a restrict to how a lot of we could afford.

“We’re saying give anybody doing a master’s course a £10,000 loan – and the original outlay is about £1bn. But the government can afford that because it can get 93% of the cash back.”

He extra: “If you say we’ll have £1bn that will not be paid back, then that’s £1bn George Osborne will have to find from someplace else. That is just not going to occur since there is no income to do that.”

Far more like this:
Liam Byrne: ‘we want to put higher education at centre stage of policy’
The postgraduate funding difficulty and three attainable solutions

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