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Funding Higher Education in the UK: The Role of Fees and Loans



Higher education has undergone considerable expansion in recent decades in a number of OECD countries. Expansion has been especially dramatic in the UK where aggregate student numbers have doubled in 20 years. However, over the same period, funding per student has halved in real terms. In the UK as well as in other countries, most notably Australia, innovation to diversify the funding base has taken place. This has included a limited role for fee contributions. This paper makes the case for much greater reliance on fee contributions from students, accompanied by a greater availability of income contingent loans.