HE Policy Update

Jo Johnson MP

It has been announced that Jo Johnson MP will remain as the Minister for universities and science. His ministerial role will be a joint role across the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Conor Burns MP

Conor Burns MP (Bournemouth West) has been announced as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to Greg Clark MP at Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Higher Education and Research Bill

The Higher Education and Research Bill passed its second reading this week by 294 votes to 258. Justine Greening, the new Education Secretary who led the reading said there will be a flexible approach to degree awarding powers, for instance through the use of probationary periods or by restricting them to certain subject areas for some institutions. Gordon Marsden, shadow higher education minister said that market exit risked undermining confidence in the overall system. You can view the progress of the Bill here.


Research by UCAS has revealed that children who know at the age of 10 that they want to go to university, are twice as likely to go to a selective one than those who decide at 16. Early university ambitions pay off, survey suggests (BBC News).

 Tuition Fees

Jo Johnson has published a written ministerial statement that formally sets out tuition fee rises for course of study in the 2017/18 academic year beginning in August 2017. The statement reveals that:

  • If an institution has achieved a TEF rating of Meets Expectations and has an access agreement with the Office for Fair Access (OFFA), the maximum tuition fee cap for full-time courses will be increased by forecast inflation (2.8%) and will therefore be £9,250 in 2017/18.
  • Loans for living costs will also be increased by forecast inflation (2.8%) in 2017/18.
  • For students living away from home and studying outside London, the maximum loan for living costs for 2017/18 will be £8,430.

There has been a lot of discussion and debate about the rise in tuition fees in the media this week. Please see our intranet page for a breakdown and analysis.