The Browne Review

Lord Browne’s Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance was published on Tuesday. It makes a series of recommendations to Government about the way it might consider reducing public expenditure on higher education, increasing private income to higher education, extending higher education opportunities, and maintaining and enhancing quality. It is a complex review.  Should you wish to read a copy you may find it at

I enclose a very short summary of the key points below.

You will see that the recommendations are very far reaching, and if accepted by Government would mark a significant change in the way higher education is funded, and in the relationship between a university and its students.

The review is part of a wider context. Should the Government choose to accept its recommendations then their potential impact will be determined by the scale of reductions in higher education funding announced on Wednesday 20th October in the Comprehensive Spending Review. The recommendations will then have to pass through the political process.
I will send you further information after the Comprehensive Spending Review is announced.

Summary Points from the Browne Report

  1. Fees will be uncapped.
  2. HEFCE subsidies for Bands C/D will be removed, and for bands A/B be reduced.
  3. Institutional student quotas will be removed.
  4. Universities who charge above £6K will have to pay the Government a fixed percentage of the additional sum to cover the additional costs of Government borrowing.
  5. Students will have their fees paid at source through Government loans.
  6. All students will be eligible for a non means-tested loan of £3750. Those from households with incomes of less than £60K will be entitled to a grant. The maximum grant will be £3250 for students from households earning less than £25K.All student support will be run through a new Student Finance Plan replacing the SLC.
  7. The loans will be provided as vouchers which follow the student. There will no longer be a HEFCE block grant.
  8. There will be a national cap on the number of vouchers offered. The cap will be regulated by a minimum entry standard for those taking formal qualifications, and by a quota for non standard applicants.
  9. Students repay their loans when they earn more than £21K. They will repay at a real rate of interest at 2.2% above the Government rate of borrowing. The repayment period will be 30 years. The cost of repayments for a graduate earning £25K would be £1 a day. Students who withdraw from work have their interest payments suspended.
  10. Part time students should be eligible for loans to cover the cost of their fees on the same terms and conditions as full-timers.
  11. HEFCE/QAA/OIA/OFFA will be merged into a single body called the Higher Education Council which will oversee and regulate the new market. Key features of the new system will be: all institutions will be required to adhere to quality standards, agree an Access Plan, and ensure all academic staff have HEA accreditation. The new HEC will manage the allocation of targeted allocations to the sector for subsidised STEM provision (Band A and B) and for Access Funding.

Professor Bob Cryan