Economic Affairs Committee
Treating Students Fairly: The Economics of Post-School Education

2nd Report of Session 2017-19 - published 11 June 2018 - HL Paper 139


Terminology and scope

Figure 1: The Qualifications Framework


Key recommendations

Summary of conclusions and recommendations

Chapter 1: Post-school education in the 21st century

The growth in higher education since 1999

Figure 2: Higher education qualifications awarded in the UK, all ages, 1999/2000 to 2016/17

Box 1: Defining higher education

Level 3 education for adults

Chapter 2: Education and the economy

Benefits of higher education to the economy

Economic benefits of higher education to the individual

Labour market demand

Box 2: Informal evidence on skills shortages

Table 1: UK and OECD educational attainment among 25 to 64 year olds (2016)

Chapter 3: Attempts to create a market in higher education

Reforms to create a higher education market

Box 3: The use of the National Student Survey in the Teaching Excellence Framework

Box 4: Proposed changes to the Teaching Excellence Framework

Table 2: Top ten universities by proportion of students receiving first-class degrees in 2016/17, and comparison with 2011/12 and 1994/95

Table 3: Proportion of students at universities quoted in this
chapter receiving first-class degrees in 1994/95, 2011/12 and 2016/17

Other higher education qualifications (Levels 4 and 5)

Chapter 4: Funding and regulation

Higher and further education overview

Box 5: Higher education definitions for funding and regulatory purposes

Funding of higher and further education

Table 4: Higher and further education funding sources

Table 5: Higher and further education spending and participation 2014/15 to 2016/17, and budgets for 2017/18

Figure 3: University resources per student per degree, 1990-91 to 2017-18 (2017 price)

Developing Level 4 and 5 provision

Reform of funding: Level 4 and 5

Structure and regulation

Figure 4: Funding and regulatory responsibilities

Funding of Level 3 qualifications

Chapter 5: Flexible learning

Box 6: Accelerated degrees

Benefits of flexible learning

Box 7: Flexible Learning and the Industrial Strategy


Figure 5: Part-time students (first year entrants, UK providers), 2005/06 to 2016/17

Figure 6: Difference in student enrolments by age and mode of study between 2012/13 and 2016/17 (higher education providers in England only)

Table 6: Part-time undergraduate entrants domiciled in England by qualification type, 2010 and 2015

Figure 7: Further education participation by age, 2011/12 to 2016/17 [England only]

Reasons for decline

Encouraging and supporting flexible learning

Chapter 6: Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships overview

Table 7: Apprenticeship starts in England, 2016/17

Conversion of existing employees into apprentices

Apprenticeship levy

Box 8: How the apprenticeship levy works

Government target for new apprenticeship starts

Table 8: 2016/17 Ofsted inspection of apprenticeship providers

Box 9: Ofsted judgements on apprenticeship providers rated as requiring improvement or inadequate

Progression through different levels of apprenticeship


Chapter 7: Information and advice

Information and careers advice

Table 9: Careers service information providers

Box 10: University Technical Colleges

Figure 8: Applications process for higher education courses, further education courses and apprenticeships

Chapter 8: Student loan design

Lowering the interest rate

Table 10: Estimated cumulative student loan repayment per graduate by occupation (men)

Table 11: Estimated cumulative student loan repayment per graduate by occupation (women)

Box 11: Problems with the Retail Prices Index

Figure 9: Retail Prices Index (monthly, percentage change over
the previous 12 months) versus monthly average yield from
British Government securities, 10 year nominal par yield, March 1998 to March 2018

Tuition fee levels

Box 12: Widening access requirements

Chapter 9: Maintenance support

Current system

Table 12: Maintenance loan entitlement (2017/18)

Figure 10: Maintenance support available by level and type of study/training

Abolition of maintenance grants

Figure 11: Student maintenance support 1999/2000 to 2018/19 (new students England, September 2017 prices)

Amount of support


Table 13: Discretionary funding support for further education students (2015/16 costs and student numbers)

Creating a fair maintenance support system

Table 14: Cost of system with maintenance loans versus the pre 2016/17 mixed means-tested maintenance grant and loan system

Chapter 10: Student loans and the public accounts

Measuring the value of student loans and cost to the Government

2012 funding reforms

Table 15: Upfront Government spend on higher education, comparison between 2011/12 and 2012/13 cohorts

Interest rate on post-2012 loans

Table 16: Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecasts for
accrued interest on student loan and public sector net borrowing, 2017/18 to 2021/22

Selling the student loan book

Different ways of accounting for student loans

Cost of our proposed changes to student loans and maintenance and the effect on the national accounts

Table 17: Cost of reducing the interest rate on student loans to the 10-year gilt rate

Table 18: Cost of restoring maintenance grants

Table 19: Cost of lowering interest rates and restoring maintenance grants

Appendix 1: List of members and declarations of interests

Appendix 2: List of witnesses

Appendix 3: Call for evidence

Appendix 4: System of post school education finance in Scotland and Wales

Appendix 5: Informal evidence session and visit note

Appendix 6: Letter from Sam Gyimah MP, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation to the Chairman, 3 May 2018

Appendix 7: Modelling of changes to student loans

Appendix 8: Agencies involved in the delivery, funding and regulation of post-school education

Evidence is published online at and available for inspection at the Parliamentary Archives (020 7219 3074).

Q in footnotes refers to a question in oral evidence.

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