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Floating ideas

Former universities minister suggests fee cap should rise in England, writes Alison Goddard.

David Willetts, whose term as universities and science minister ended a year ago, has suggested that tuition fees in England should increase in line with inflation. He made the proposal in a pamphlet launched last night, in which he also suggested that: maintenance grants should be converted to loans; the threshold at which loans are repaid should not rise in line with inflation; altering the way in which loans are written off; and reviewing the system every five years to check that no fundamental reforms are required.

The Financial Times reports his call for tuition fees in England to rise "if universities are more transparent about how they spend the money" (Mr Willetts would like to see the same sort of graphics that local councils produce to illustrate how they spend the money they collect through council tax.) The Independent says that Mr Willetts warned that tuition fees could not stay at £9,000 indefinitely. We have an article by Mike Boxall of PA Consulting in which he argues that universities must take ownership of plans, outlined by Mr Willetts, to measure the value added by universities.

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