Today's Daily Telegraph has a headline story about the main recommendations of the government commissioned Browne Report on university funding http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education...hit-36000.html . Those recommendations are revolutionary:
-Virtually all direct taxpayer funding of universities will be removed,making universities self reliant instead of wards of the state
-To make up for the loss of funding,universities will probably have to charge tuition fees of £7,000 a year,with "elite degrees" charging £12,000
-Mortgage style loans will be available at interest rates of 2% above inflation [cheap given the high default rates] and repayments will be at 9% of earnings above £21,000
-To protect graduates on low incomes,only about 40% of university graduates will pay off their entire loans
-Low and middle income households earning up to about £60,000 will qualify for government grants to help with tuition costs [mimics generous "bursaries" of US Ivy League colleges]
-Only students meeting a minimum entry standard will qualify for loans [to be diluted by Labour!]
-Weak universities expected to contract or close down
-Universities will have to publish figures showing average salary and employment prospects [room for fudging eg Philosophy graduate who becomes a bond trader in his 30s and makes millions]
-System would discourage universities from charging more than £6,000 or £7,000 annually by forcing them to return a large portion to the government [Very negative for top universities which have most to lose in direct funding]
-What remains of central government funding is likely to be heavily targetted to medicine,science,technology and other specialist areas [a philistine attitude that spells the end of subjects of cultural interest such as Classical Studies?]
The Association of Lecturers says the measures would "severely damage higher education in the UK..." It didn't mention the prospect that many of its members would be sacked!
Will the Irish universities and third level colleges with their magnificent salaries and pensions be forced to face the rigours of the marketplace like the English,albeit a subsidised market demand?