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Professor Craven's proposal for funding additional university places taken up by Conservative Party

Following the Conservative Party’s announcement to fund 10,000 additional university places next year by encouraging early repayments of fees Libby Aston, Director of University Alliance, said:

“This is an encouraging and innovative proposal from David Willetts that reflects an understanding of the essential role of universities in the UK’s economic recovery.

“Professor John Craven, Vice Chancellor of the University of Portsmouth and former Chair of University Alliance, outlined such a proposal in July this year and we are delighted to see this idea being taken up by the Conservative Party.  Offering discounts to encourage early fee repayment was first introduced in Australia and is now operating in New Zealand.

“There are two key principles that should guide policy about future growth: firstly, young, qualified people from every background should have access to higher education that is free at the point of use; and secondly, any growth in the system must be fully-funded in order to maintain the high standards and quality of UK higher education.  The Conservatives’ proposals meet both of these principles and are, therefore, welcomed by University Alliance.

“There will be some concerns about a discount that benefits those that can afford to pay higher contributions immediately after graduation but this is a temporary policy that will allow many thousands more students from all backgrounds to go to university without any upfront cost and receive generous student support.  The Alliance looks forward to a full consideration of the fee and student support arrangements in the upcoming Fees Review.”

End

Notes for Editors

1. Professor Craven outlined his proposals for discounted early fee contributions to fund additional student places in a letter to THE on 2nd July 2009, ‘win win way to square the funding circle’.

2. Established in 2006, University Alliance represents 22 universities at the heart of the sector that are both research-engaged and business-focussed. Alliance universities are actively engaged in their economic and social environments with close links to the professions, new industries and a deep-rooted commitment to access through flexible provision. Alliance universities educate 26% of all UK students and have high graduate employment rates, offering a research-engaged learning environment and equipping graduates for the 21st century.

3. Members of the University Alliance: Aberystwyth University, Bournemouth University, University of Bradford, De Montfort University, University of Glamorgan, University of Gloucestershire, University of Hertfordshire, University of Huddersfield, University of Lincoln, Liverpool John Moores University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Northumbria University, Nottingham Trent University, Open University, Oxford Brookes University, University of Plymouth, University of Portsmouth, University of Salford, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, University of Wales, Newport, University of the West of England.

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