The Coalition's higher education reforms in England

Nicholas Hillman
2016 Oxford Review of Education  
The Coalition Government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in office from 2010 until 2015 sharply increased the maximum tuition fees for UK and EU undergraduates at English universities to £9,000. Although this is often portrayed as a radical change, it is argued that the reform was an evolution rather than a revolution. Common pessimistic predictions, such as the claim there would be a big fall in the number of full-time students, were wrong. However, the policymaking behind the increase
more » ... n the fee cap was rushed, and this contributed to shortcomings such as a decline in part-time students. The article considers a series of political mistakes made by the Liberal Democrats, including making the abolition of tuition fees a key part of their election strategy in 2010 when the party's leaders lacked faith in the policy. The article also notes that critics of the Coalition's higher education reforms were largely ineffectual because they lacked a strong intellectual case or a clear alternative and fixated on fees to the exclusion of other important issues. The piece ends by asserting that the Coalition's plan to remove student number controls was a change of overlooked importance.
doi:10.1080/03054985.2016.1184870 fatcat:3gyfm27vubalrkop5ix4s7syzq