Rights Bites: Augar Report

In November we reported that the Government were preparing their response to the 2019 Augar Report into Higher Education funding.

Here's what you said about the reported changes:

"The repayments of the loan for me will be devastating at such a low wage."

"If this was to happen before I started, I may never have come to University in the first place."

"I feel we will lose a lot of students in my position or at the most part put them off completely as it would not be worth the financial strain."

Last week, the Government published their response to the report, and announced significant changes to the Further and Higher Education funding system:

What is the Augar Report?

The Augar Report is a 2019 report led by Dr Philip Augar (author and former Investment Banker) on the reform of further and higher education funding (consisting of 200 pages!)

Why was the report commissioned?

The report was commissioned to assess the cost of student funding both on taxpayers and students, 10 years since the last review of the funding system. It was commissioned by the Prime Minister in 2018 to 'drive up quality, increase choice and ensure value for money'.

Why is it important now?

The Government have spent time considering the report and have just set out their response to the report and how it plans to act on the recommendations.

What has the Government announced?

  • Repayment threshold lowered to and frozen at £25,000 until 2026/2027
  • Graduates will pay off their student loan over 40 years instead of 30
  • Tuition fees frozen at £9,250 until 2023/2024
  • Student loan interest rate cut to match RPI (Retail Prices Index), i.e. inflation

The good news

  • Tuition fees remaining the same for now (however the report suggested lowering these to £7,500)
  • Changes won't be applied retrospectively - so won't affect current students or graduates
  • Higher earning graduates will pay back less if they repay their loan, due to lower interest rates

The bad news

  • Students will end up paying much more over their lifetime
  • Even for current undergrad students, changes may affect post-grad study
  • Anyone earning over the threshold will pay more back each year
  • Interest rates will be applied for a further 10 years which will cost much more
  • There is no announced plan for what happens from 2026/2027, which is likely to at least affect new students post-grad
  • Lower earning graduates will be repaying their loans for much longer before any remaining amount is wiped out
  • There is no re-introduction of maintenance grants which were scrapped in 2016, which was a suggestion in the report

Your Student Officers' response

Here's what your SU Officers have to say:

"This report jeopardises the accessibility and inclusivity of university, with disproportionate impact on students just starting out in careers or deter people starting their own businesses. The strain of repaying loans will loom over the entire career of every graduate."

What are your thoughts on the review? Join the conversation on our Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, or by emailing studentrights@shu.ac.uk.