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Neil Gorman examines the Government's proposals for reform of higher education in England and the likely consequences for students, universities and the veterinary profession
FACED with an economic crisis and a situation in which 45 per cent of young people go to university, the Government has decided that it can no longer sustain this cost and must transfer more of the cost of university education from the state to the graduate. As a result many prospective students and their families will have been alarmed by news coverage of changes to university fees in English universities.
The government has looked at the financial value of a degree – how much more are you likely to earn if you have a degree rather than just two or more A-levels; that is, how much more are you likely to earn after deducting the cost of the degree, and after deducting tax. The mean net graduate premium for men stands at approximately £121,000 and for women at £82,000. However, veterinary science graduates have a higher graduate premium – £164,859 for men and £127,503 for women, giving an average rate of return of 15.7 per cent for men and 17.4 per cent for women.1 I am sure that the representative bodies of the profession will wish to examine, question and challenge this data.
It is important to note that these changes only apply to English universities. How long Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can maintain their current funding policies for their universities is an unanswered question. The question is, will this change in funding policy as published in the Government's Higher Education White paper reduce the applicant pool for places in the English veterinary schools?
The tuition fee
The Government intended that only ‘in exceptional circumstances’ would a university charge over £6000, up to a maximum of …