The heads of UK universities have reacted angrily to leaked proposals they say would bar thousands of disadvantaged young people from going to university by preventing them from getting student loans.
They also say that if the government goes ahead with rumoured plans to cut tuition fees, undergraduates would experience a poorer quality of education, less mental health support and a smaller choice of degree subjects.
The ideas have been leaked from the prime minister’s review of post-18 education, chaired by Philip Augar, a former equities broker, which is expected to report next month. One idea would stop young people qualifying for a loan if they didn’t get three Ds at A-level.
Vice-chancellors argue this would be reducing student numbers “by the back door”, and damaging poorer students in the process. “This would strike at the heart of social mobility,” says Dominic Shellard, head of De Montfort University, as it would prevent many people from the poorest backgrounds from improving their life chances by studying for a degree. Read more.