Exquisite Life Exquisite Life Research Europe Research Fortnight
Becoming a contributor

About this blog

Small print

« Targets, sort of, from Simon Hughes. But universities will still be able to take fewer students from poor families | Main | Burying the revolution »

August 01, 2011

It's Robin Hood in reverse. AAB+ means subsidies for rich kids at best universities. Meanwhile, our poorest kids are subsidising worst universities.

"Universities cut fees for top students" the Sunday Times splashed across its front page yesterday, noting plans by places including Kent and Essex to cut fees for students with AAB grades at A-level or better. The news tightens the focus on topsy-turvy subsidies as the defining image of the government's new policy on higher education.

Rich kids are being subsidised to go to the "best" universities while poor kids are being used to subsidise the "worst" universities.

Those kids with AAB+ grades being charged £7,000 a year or less by places like Essex fighting for their reputation will come disproportinately from wealthy, middle class families and have been educated at private schools.

These are the same socially priviliged groups who benefit most from the other big subsidy in the system - the cap on tuition fees at the very best universities. They are the ones who have been saved from market-based fees of £20,000 a year or more at places like Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial.

Meanwhile, the socially deprived student body at many former polytechnics will be paying close to £9,000 a year even after allowing for fee waivers and bursaries - far above the market rate. That the high fees will provide a huge and welcome subsidy for these places cannot blind us to where the money is coming from - disproportionately our poorest students.

As a policy, it is Robin Hood in reverse. The rich are to be subsidised, the poor will be subsidising.

Still, that Sunday Times headline will have given many middle class parents some grim satisfaction. At least the money they are spending on private school fees may save them some money later on. If I was David Willetts, I wouldn't be complaining.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00e54ee8dd97883301539055a5d9970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference It's Robin Hood in reverse. AAB+ means subsidies for rich kids at best universities. Meanwhile, our poorest kids are subsidising worst universities.:

Comments

Of course, many middle class parents use state education. Perhaps they will now be willing to give Mr Willetts and his coalition partners a hard time. The system of public higher education built up since Robbins has universalised the aspiration for university eduation, but the government is determined to restrict those aspirations by privatising higher education and creating a stratified system that benefits the products of private secondary education. And our Vice-Chancellor/CEOs follow headlong down this socially regressive path in order to protect their 'brand'. O tempora, o mores...

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment