Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities


In response to the "Higher education funding in England: past, present and options for the future" report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies that looked into tuition fees and graduate debt,
Petra Wilton 100x100Petra Wilton, Director of Strategy and External Affairs at the Chartered Management Institute, comments: “The colossal amount of debt that students are being burdened with can weigh heavily on the minds of families deciding on whether university is a feasible option.
With the UK’s long-standing skills shortage persisting and youth unemployment continually above the national average, it would be great shame if rising costs result in young people giving up on routes into higher education.
This is why it’s so important that young people and their parents are made aware of the professional opportunities and benefits offered by degree apprenticeships. 
These new programmes allow students to get the best of all worlds: learning while they earn, gaining both a degree and Chartered status, and all without facing the burden of student debt. In the past, there has been an inherent snobbery when it comes to apprenticeships, but has to change.
These new degree apprenticeship finally offer the prospect of building a talent pipeline that will ensure the economic prosperity and social well-being of the UK in years to come.”
Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities, outlines the government’s stance on the higher education system in England: "Last weekend my colleague Damian Green gave a characteristically thought-provoking speech about how the government should address the needs of younger voters. In answer to a question about tuition fees, he suggested a national debate, in which we could calmly examine the arguments of abolitionists. This has led to some misguided speculation that the government was planning to abandon our successful higher education funding framework. It is not.
"The government has three crucial policy objectives for undergraduate higher education: first, to reduce inequality, so that a university education is equally accessible to people from disadvantaged backgrounds, not just a moneyed elite; second, to fund our institutions at a level that enables them to provide world-class teaching and research; and third, to share the cost of doing so fairly between the individual student benefiting from a graduate earnings premium and taxpayers in general, most of whom will not have attended university.

"Our current system of tuition fees, financed by loans repayable only by graduates earning above a certain level of income, is the only one that can reconcile all three. It is fair, and has won the praise of experts around the world, with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development noting that the UK is “one of the very few countries that has figured out a sustainable approach to higher education financing”. The major reforms to English higher education in 2012 significantly increased average per-student funding. Graduates don’t start repaying loans until their annual incomes hit £21,000, and loans are written off after 30 years. The fact that some loans never get fully repaid is a deliberate subsidy for the lowest-earning graduates, not a symptom of a broken student finance system.

"It is a little understood paradox that fees actually improve access to higher education. What stops poorer students going to university is not fees, but the cap on student numbers necessary when universities are directly funded through general taxation. By enabling English universities to charge current tuition fees, the government no longer has to ration access to higher education via a cap on student numbers. This enables it to offer more places, including to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. The result is, they are now going to university at a record rate – they are 43% more likely to go to university than they were in 2009. By contrast, in Scotland, where fees were abolished in 2007, student numbers have been limited, and the poorest have suffered. This matters for young people: university degrees continue to be one of the most reliable pathways to better jobs and higher pay. Graduates earn, on average, substantially more than people with A-levels who did not go to university: a degree is worth on average £250,000 in higher lifetime earnings for a woman.

"Abolishing fees would be mind-bogglingly expensive, requiring over £100bn of additional spending between now and 2025. This would need to come either from cuts to other public services, from increasing taxes on working people, or from increased borrowing – which would add to the burden for the next generation. As the IFS has observed, abolishing tuition fees would also be socially regressive: as well as unfairly burdening the general taxpayer, it would benefit mainly those students going on to well-paid jobs, who repay their loans in full. Jeremy Corbyn has evidently decided that he does not care for this inconvenient truth: the populist appeal of abolishing fees counts for more than reducing inequality.

"It is right that we have a national debate about opportunities for young people. And Green was correct to argue that we need to think hard about issues such as housing, devolution and technological change. We will continue to look at the details of the student finance regime to ensure it remains fair and effective. But getting rid of fees does little to help young people: indeed, by reducing access to education, by damaging the viability of our universities, and by piling tens of billions on to the national debt, it does precisely the opposite."

You may also be interested in these articles:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter yesterday

RT @FENews: NGWLive: Network Rail: NGWLive: Network Rail
View Original Tweet

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter yesterday

City of London Corporation provides Square Mile schoolchildren with food vouchers during half term break:…
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page