Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Expansive in Scope: 'Man Who Wrote Browne' Backs Abolition and Advent of True Competition: News:Studentnumberscap

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Expansive in Scope: 'Man Who Wrote Browne' Backs Abolition and Advent of True Competition: News:Studentnumberscap

Article excerpt

The removal of student number controls at individual universities could result in some institutions expanding by 25 per cent while others head into "free fall", driving down tuition fees.

That is the view of Emran Mian, director of the Social Market Foundation thinktank, who was secretary to the 2010 Browne Review (some in the sector describe him as "the man who wrote Browne").

He sees a connection between the review - which advocated expansion to aid the economy and to create competition on teaching quality - and last week's announcement.

"If, via the review process and the decision ... made after it (to raise fees), government had not rebalanced the burden of funding between the public purse and the graduate, then expansion simply would have been impossible in the current fiscal environment," Mr Mian said.

With the system-wide numbers cap in England abolished, Mr Mian said the ramifications for individual institutions would be great.

Removing institutional caps would, he predicted, spark "really significant" expansion among some middle-ranking universities of up to 25 per cent. That would "put real pressure on (institutions) at the bottom of the distribution", he argued. …

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