Higher Education policy: tuition fees and access

Introduction of higher tuition fees and the government's attempts to further stimulate a market in HE has led to increased scrutiny of various aspects of HE policy.

The introduction of higher tuition fees in 2011 (fees were raised to a maximum of £9,000 a year from 2012/13 onwards) and the government's attempts to further stimulate a market in higher education based on student choice mechanisms has led to increased scrutiny of various aspects of HE policy. CEIR has been at the forefront of this research, focussing on the impact of Student Number Controls on institutional recruitment and marketing behaviour, the impact of the market on widening participation, particularly among part-time and mature students (both of which have rapidly declined in numbers since 2012/13), and the potential knock-on effects on educational choice-making among young people from under-represented backgrounds (i.e. those from poorer backgrounds, some ethnic minority groups, and those from the care system).

The lead for this work is Dr Colin McCaig who is developing an international profile with his critical analyses of recent HE policy reforms with publications focusing on

  • content and discourse analyses of institutional access policy documents
  • comparative analysis of financial support regimes (bursaries and scholarships) over time and by institution type
  • comparative analyses of widening participation and fair access policies over time and internationally
  • the marketisation of English higher education
  • widening participation
  • the admissions system
  • the impact of tuition fees and bursaries
  • the Student Number Control policy introduced in 2012/13
  • the impact of student choice on institutional behaviours.