Universities: Financial Sustainability

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:26 pm on 11th February 2019.

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Photo of Chris Skidmore Chris Skidmore Vice-Chair, Conservative Party, Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Universities and Science) (Joint with the Department for Education) 4:26 pm, 11th February 2019

I welcome the measures we are putting in place to increase course innovation and flexibility within the HE sector. I passionately believe that that is the future and where we need to go. People may need to train and retrain across the course of their lives, so we will need course provision that allows people to access the HE market at every stage of their lives, right the way through their 20s and 30s. Two-year degrees are not a silver bullet—in fact, they were put forward in a Labour party amendment to the Higher Education and Research Act—but we have tried to ensure that they open up the market and we have encouraged more HE providers to take up two-year degrees. At the moment, they have been capped by the financial ability or the lack of financial ability to do so. Ultimately, it is £22,000 for a degree as opposed to £27,000. It is not necessarily an increase in fees; it provides people with an opportunity to study at a time of their choosing.