Financing Higher Education: Answers from the UK

By Nicholas Barr; Iain Crawford | Go to book overview
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Chapter 3

1988 Setting universities free from central planning: a second central theme

John Barnes and Nicholas Barr (1988), 'Some Specific Policy Proposals', in Strategies for Higher Education: The Alternative White Paper, Aberdeen University Press, Ch. 6, pp. 45-9.


The range of policy choices

Table 3.1 attempts to draw together the threads of earlier discussion by setting out schematically the main ingredients of the system and the more important policy choices which can be made within it. The first part shows how universities will be financed (via students, via government and from other sources); the second shows the extent to which institutions of higher education will (or will not) be subject to regulation, in particular with respect to student numbers, conditions of employment and to the level of fees they may charge.

Since universities will be financed mainly by students the main part of the table concerns their sources of income, namely state bursaries, loans, and the private sector. Bursaries can come not only from the DES [Department of Education and Science], but also from other state agencies, such as the police and the armed services. There are three policy decisions relevant to bursaries. First, their average size: should they cover only the average level of fees, or should they also make a contribution to the student's maintenance? Second, the variation in their size: bursaries would certainly have to be higher for science and medicine than for the arts; they could also be higher in the face of shortages in a particular skill; and

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