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The penny drops

Despite transferring most of the costs of higher education in England to graduates, it could be hard to finance further expansion of the scheme.

The introduction of annual tuition fees of up to £9,000 in England may be insufficient to fund the future expansion of higher education, according to a study published today. Government spending is due to be further squeezed while tuition fees are frozen.

The study, by researchers at the Institute of Fiscal Studies, finds that funding for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills could be cut by almost a third in the four years to 2017-18. Because higher education accounts for almost two-thirds of the department’s spending, it is almost certain to be hit by any reduction in funding.

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