Labour urged to focus on quality education not cost

Posted on 28 Feb 2015 by Victoria Fitzgerald

On Friday, Ed Miliband, announced that a future Labour government would cut university fees from £9,000 to £6,000.

Miliband said lowering tuition fees would save taxpayers £40bn by 2030 and guaranteed that this was a “fully funded policy”, where universities would receive an extra £2.7bn per year to replace the fee decrease.

However, representatives from CaSE, the Campaign for Science and Engineering, fear the cuts could potentially affect the quality of education, particularly because there are additional costs to teaching science and engineering courses where specialist equipment and labs are required to deliver high-quality teaching.

CaSE Acting Director, Naomi Weir, said: “Labour’s announcement on fees is eye-catching but we mustn’t let the politics get in the way of what really matters here – providing high-quality higher education that is accessible to all.

Whoever is in power after May, they must ensure that there is sufficient funding, through the course fee and additional government contribution, to meet the higher costs of high-quality science and engineering degrees.”

“It is wonderful to see young people choosing to study science and engineering and Labour recognising the role higher education plays in remedying the skills gap.

“However, we must ensure that funding for higher education is sufficient so that the courses on offer are high-quality and will equip graduates to be the researchers, problem solvers, makers and innovators that this country needs.”

University degrees are currently paid for by a combination of government funding and tuition fees. The value of the tuition fee cap reduces in value each year due to inflation, yet the costs for universities continue to rise.