The Academy of Social Sciences (AcSS) submitted a response to the Department for Education’s consultation on higher education reform.
Our response focussed on the issue of Student Number Controls (SNCs), which we oppose. We framed it largely around the wider economic impacts and the consequences for individual students and less-well off areas of the country, as that was the evidence we hoped government might listen to. We argued against both SNCs in general and DfE consultation proposals to impose them by subject or institution, again linking to evidence. Our response of course also noted the importance of social science subjects in broader ways too.
We also noted the importance of the issue of student funding and the changes made to the terms of student loans. The Institute for Fiscal Studies and other bodies have already documented that the changes in loan repayments are regressive, result in high marginal rates of tax, and will affect disadvantaged students more. It is hard to see how these new terms will be sustainable for long, and the issue of who pays for university degrees is likely to return as a policy concern.