Beware political compromises on Browne
by Malcolm Grant
John Browne’s panel has come up with an insightful and shrewd report. It builds on the political settlement that introduced graduate-payment tuition fees in 2006. It was to be expected that Browne would recommend that those fees should rise, and he has come up with some well crafted safeguards against higher fees being a deterrent to students from less well off backgrounds, and to protect against universities over-charging.
In a different political and economic climate, this approach could have paved the way to a wholly new approach to the funding of the UK’s universities, sweeping aside the existing tight government control over student numbers and fees and setting universities free at last to compete globally.