HM Treasury and Department for Education provide evidence to inquiry

03 November 2017

Should universities be able to charge different fees for different subjects? What impact will the new T Levels have on further education? Should universities be able to expand whatever the impact on public spending?


Tuesday 7 November in Committee Room 1, Palace of Westminster

At 3.35pm

  • Professor Madeleine Atkins, Chief Executive, Higher Education Funding Council for England
  • Dr Philippa Lloyd, Director General of Higher and Further Education, Department for Education
  • Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive Officer, Office for Students.

At 4.35pm

  • James Bowler, Director General, Public Spending, HM Treasury
  • Charles Roxburgh, Second Permanent Secretary, HM Treasury

Likely questions

Questions the Committee are likely to ask the first panel are:

  • Can the Government incentivise students to study courses where there are skill gaps without infringing the autonomy of institutions?
  • Why has the number of students studying part time dropped by more than 60% since 2010/11? How can this be reversed?
  • Will a new regulatory framework result in new institutions entering the higher education market?
  • The interest accrued on student loans will subtract billions from the deficit this year. Is the Government charging high interest rates on student loans to make the deficit look smaller?

Questions for the second panel are likely to include:

  • Are there any other reasons why, apart from the money that will be generated, for the Government to sell the student loans book?
  • In 2016/17 around £13.5 billion was issued in new student loans, increasing the face value of the student loan book to £89 billion. Does the uncertainty over the size of repayments concern HM Treasury as the student loans book gets bigger?
  • Lord Willetts told the Committee that the scaled interest rate on post-2012 loans was brought in to get higher repayments from well-paid graduates. Was this the motivation?
  • Why is the Retail Price Index measure of inflation, which fails international standards and is no longer designated as a ‘national statistic’, used as a measure of interest for student loans?

Further information

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