The Committee has published a call for evidence for its new inquiry, "the economics of higher education, further education, and vocational training", and is inviting written submissions. Deadline for written submission is now 21 September 2017.
Focus of the inquiry
The Committee seeks evidence on the following two questions:
- Is the current structure of post-school education and training, and the way it is financed, appropriate for the modern British economy?
- what changes are required to develop a system that meets the needs of enterprise and the labour market whilst providing value for students and the Government?
Lord Forsyth, Chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee, said:
"Successive governments have committed to increasing participation in higher education. More recently the Government has pledged to increase the number of apprenticeships offered.
"The cost of going to university is increasing, but many graduates do not end up in jobs requiring a degree and will not be able to pay back their loans. This year the total amount of student loans outstanding was £89 billion. This is projected to increase to £500 billion in the mid-2030s and £1 trillion in the late 2040s.
"For those who do not go to university, is the system of further education and vocational training funded fairly? Should there be a greater focus on technical qualifications in STEM subjects to fill shortages in the labour market?
"The Committee is keen to gather evidence from those with direct knowledge of these issues including students, recent graduates, and apprentices. We also want to hear from businesses and enterprise on whether the current system equips workers with the necessary skills for the modern economy.
"For our inquiry to be effective we need to hear as many views and experiences as possible. Written evidence will play an important role in informing our work and I would encourage anyone with knowledge, or an interest in this area, to return a submission by 14 September 2017."