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Tuition fee policy needs to move away from ‘one-size fits all’

The government needs to improve the diversity of higher education rather than focusing on first degrees, a panel discussing the future of tuition fees has said, as former minister David Willetts calls for a return of public spending on part-time students.

The UK needs a policy that fits the needs of both full-time and part-time students, and must “move away from the idea of one policy fits all”, said Claire Callender, professor of higher education at University College London’s Institute of Education. She was speaking at an event organised by the Higher Education Policy Institute and the Bridge Group, a charity that researches and promotes socioeconomic diversity, on 19 September. 

The student funding reforms in 2012-13 have meant that for the first time, part-time students have qualified for tuition loans with conditions largely similar to those available to full-time students. However, part-time students must begin to pay back their loan four years after the start of their usually six-year course.

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