This briefing paper was last updated in February 2019 and will no longer be updated. For more recent information on the review see the paper The Post-18 Education and Funding Review: Government conclusion

The funding of post-18 education and student finance has undergone a period of constant policy change since 2012.

Raising higher education tuition fees and abolishing maintenance grants have cut public spending at the expense of increased student debt. These reforms have prompted much debate about the cost and value of higher education and intensified scrutiny of the funding system.

In February 2018, the Prime Minister announced a wide-ranging Review of Post-18 Education and Funding led by Philip Augar, the Review is due to report in the Spring 2019. The terms of reference of the Review state that Review will focus on:

  • Choice and competition across a joined-up post-18 education and training sector
  • A system that is accessible to all
  • Delivering the skills our country needs
  • Value for money for graduates and taxpayers

The Review recommendations will be consistent with the Government’s fiscal policies to reduce the deficit and will not place a cap on the number of students who can benefit from post-18 education. Student contributions towards the cost of their studies, including the level, terms and duration of their contribution will be considered.

It is hoped that the Review will create a more overarching system that will allow students to move more easily between FE and HE and will facilitate life-long learning and increase skills.

This briefing paper discusses the Review process and gives an outline of the post 18 funding system in England. It suggests possible options for reform that the Review may propose, such as the lowering of higher education tuition fees and analyses the impact of these proposals:

Summary of potential impacts

The following library briefing papers are of relevance

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